Look Who's Falling With Oil Prices

Just when you’re thinking there’s nothing you can do to help the world economy, save the environment and promote peace… up pops a simple way to do all three at once! 

Think I’m kidding or just delusional? Read on.

Lots of people have theories about why the former Soviet Union collapsed when it did and most Republicans, not to mention Americans, like to say it was President Ronald Reagan’s in-your-face-cowboy-stand that did it. But Thomas L. Friedman, author of “Hot, Flat and Crowded” has put forth an intriguing and, I dare say, logical alternative that is based less on hubris and more on economics and the environment.

In his latest book, Friedman shares a conversation he had in 2007 with Vladimir Mau, director of Russia’s Academy of National Economy wherein Friedman posited whether it was “$10-a-barrel oil, not Ronald Reagan, that brought down the Soviet Regime?” Mau’s unhesitating reply was that it was actually “$70-a-barrel oil followed by $10-a-barrel oil that killed the Soviet Union.”  The high oil prices of the 1970’s that resulted from both the Arab oil embargo and the Iranian revolution seduced the then Soviet Union into living off of the rich oil revenues it was the beneficiary of while at the same time promoting and subsidizing all kinds of inefficient industries rather embark upon real economic reform. When the price of oil then collapsed in the 1980’s and 1990’s, an ill-prepared and antiquated Soviet Union collapsed along with them as it had neglected to make the real changes that would have allowed it to bring it’s economy and it’s industries forward into a global marketplace.

So, what’s that got to do with you? 

Well, current seemingly dark times can have a “silver lining” too. Check out today’s CNN story about falling oil prices http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/10/26/gas.prices/index.html . It seems that the shaky world economy is having it’s impact on oil. For several reasons. But your contribution is that you’re using less gasoline and watching you oil consumption because dollars are in short supply and you’re not sure what the future holds.  The resulting decline in the price of oil is hurting guess who? That’s right. The producers and sellers of oil…all those countries that would like to see the United States, and the rest of the free world, brought to their knees. So to the extent that countries such as Iran and Venezuela have neglected addressing real economic reform and other necessary changes because they have been resting on the laurels of their oil revenues….well, you get the picture.

Now, if you use less oil and oil related products, thereby causing a continued drop in the price of oil, you may just make a difference in the economic stability of oil-producing nations similar to what occurred in the former Soviet Union.  And if you destabilize those regimes you may make way for new and alternative means of governance. Perhaps more humanitarian and more peaceful governance. And, if you use and consume less oil and oil-related products you positively impact the environment and reduce CO2 emissions.

So, there you have it.  You’ve just helped the economy, the environment and promoted world peace just by the choices you will make today around oil consumption.  It’s not a guarantee, of course. It could just be my fantasy or a mixed metaphor. But just thinking it might work gives you something to mull over and perhaps, even something to do (or not do) today.

In a world so seemingly out of balance with so many challenges, I like having something I can actually do that may make a positive difference. It’s empowering. 

When was the last time you felt empowered?

REMEMBER to click here to download a FREE copy of my e-book, “Too Many Secrets.”

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