Meditations on the costs and benefits of oil
Obviously, the black goop resulting from Carboniferous forests of the ancient past has lifted us from the Industrial Age to one where Technology rules in all its glory. It’s has fueled the American economy, granted us unprecedented personal mobility and conquered the skies and the heavens beyond.
It has given us plastics and everything that means, from disposable cutlery to many of our tools and devices, including the helmets that protect automotive racers.
It helped America to outperform the USSR, ending the Cold War, winning via economic progress rather than military might. Ballistic missiles and MIRV warheads are expensive to maintain and it took a vibrant, dynamic economy to accomplish that.
When the Berlin Wall fell, one Soviet general remarked they would have been lucky if one in ten of their missiles made it out of the silo, and even then had little chance of hitting its target. They could no longer afford to maintain them.
On the other hand, it has given us the Exxon-Valdez, sporadic tanker and oceanic oil well spills, not to mention wars without end. Iran, Iraq and Kuwait are in the top four oil producers of the Middle East. There may have been more reasons involved in our wars in these nations, but oil was certainly part of the equation.