Pretty cool graphic from the Guardian in the UK. It helps to explain why the Brits think we Yanks are being less than honest with ourselves regarding our anger at BP.

The Brits have had a rather interesting response to the American Outrage over the GoM spill: With less than 5% of the world’s population, the US consumes 25% of the world’s oil production.

They believe we are being hypocritical in our outrage — if we were all that concerned, argues the Brits, we would not have been so profligate in our consumption, love affair with the SUV, and refusal to enact Pigou taxes on fuel consumption.

They raise a valid point.

>

>

Consider the per capita energy consumption of the US versus other nations:

>

I am not looking to exonerate BP; I have no doubt they were reckless and irresponsible in how they proceeded to drill in the Gulf of Mexico with Deepwater Horizon.

However, they were trying to fulfill our own reckless and irresponsible demands for cheap and plentiful energy. Anyone who is an energy consumer cannot ignore their contribution to what happened.

We can be a bit hypocritical in the US of A. We have $50k earners who bought $750k houses, then complained about Goldman Sachs; Walmart shoppers who buy 12 packs of tighty whiteys for $2.99 — then complains about job losses. Or the non voters (the majority of us) who complain about Congress. We energy consumers ought to realize that it is our demand that led to drilling in the GoM.

Personally, I try not to be hypocritical about my enormous carbon footprint (Denying global warming, ignoring the impact consumption has). I haven’t shown much willingness to change, but I won’t pretend there is no damage from my addiction to Horsepower.

Its sure is much easier to blame BP, than to accept resposibility for our own role in the spill…

>

Source:
BP energy statistics: the world in oil consumption, reserves and energy production

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/jun/09/bp-energy-statistics-consumption-reserves-energy

Category: Earnings, Psychology

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

124 Responses to “Oil Consumption Around the World”

  1. John says:

    Barry,

    This chart would convey more useful information if on a per GDP basis.

    ~~~

    BR: I’ll post a chart of that . . . OK, how about per capita ?

  2. JustinTheSkeptic says:

    What does that have to do with proper construction practices? The fact is that we became complacent, because there had been no mishaps of late. In the end this tragic event will prove to be beneficial for the industry – improved subs, underwater robotics, etc. etc. I suspect that the free-rider will be oceanography departments everywhere.

  3. DeDude says:

    The more you think of it the more similarities between oil addiction and crack addiction. Destructive to the addict and to the producer regions. Lots of addicts in severe denial for fear that the world without it would be a painful experience. Huge profits into hands of the kind of people we don’t like and should not fund.

  4. river says:

    I always like to think about the differences between countries in terms of oil usage. Great Brittain is roughly the same area as my home state of Oregon. They have 60 million people, while Oregon has 3 million. Japan is roughly the size of California. Japan has something like 120 million people. California has 35 million. No doubt our energy usage could be pared back in any countless numbers of ways, but a lot of our energy usage has resulted from our relatively young country and how vast of a place it is. Europe and japan were basically developed before the industrial revolution, and it locked them into the type of development that makes mass transit more economical, etc.

  5. countziggenpuss says:

    This blog is liberal! This blog is liberal! HuffPo! BaselineScenario! Kos!

  6. destor23 says:

    Britains “ability to rationalize per capita GDP ratio” is astoundingly high.

  7. Trevor says:

    It would also be more interesting, and likely tell another story, if it showed per capita consumption.

    >Europe and japan were basically developed before the industrial revolution, and it locked them into the type of development that makes mass transit more economical, etc.

    This hardly makes it excusable for the U.S. to use such a disproportionate or such a per capita amount more. Rationalisation is a tool so commonly used by those who don’t want to give up what they have. :-/

  8. Daffyorbugs says:

    John,

    Post the perfect chart. Go ahead, I dare ya!

  9. May I ask a technical question regarding the market. It appears if the market stays in this general range that the 50 day MA will cross under the 200 day MA, I read that this would be REALLY bad if the 200 day was declining, which under most scenarios I’m running it wouldnt be but how big of a deal technically would the 200 day not rolling over but the 50 day crossing over be?

    FYI, Crossover happens in about 15 trading days if we stay range bound.

  10. garo says:

    I can see that the rationalizers are out in force.

    @John: Why per GDP given how flawed a metric it is? Why not per capita? Or some combination of the two. Say per capita per GDP unit.

    @river: Lots of cities in the US used to have a good mass transit system before it was killed by the car companies. The urban sprawl you see in many cities is a consequence of the killing of mass transit and not the other way round. Trust me, most Californians do not enjoy sitting for hours in traffic every day. BTW, Japan most certainly did not “develop” before the industrial revolution and many developing countries that are even “younger” than the US have perfectly good mass transit systems.

    The asinine subsidies for SUVs and political lobbying by car companies to keep mileage requirements down have a big role to play in the huge consumption of oil by the US.

  11. Jonathan says:

    Although I think we definite are the #1 consumer by all accounts anyways, this chart is a bit skewed when you put population in perspective.

    The US has around 300 million people, so we will almost certainly use a more oil than a country with a lower population.

  12. zzzzmd says:

    Eurasia ( as defined on the map) has about 850 million people 4 million square miles. 19k brl daily
    Noth America has about 560 million people, area about 10 million sq miles, 22k brl daily
    that explains much about the disparity in oil use,
    If we would have a better east coast and west coast rail system and use less personal autos for lone daily comutes, we would save a bundle

  13. rickety rick says:

    canada’s per capita consumption is about 9% greater than the u.s. must be a north of the rio grande thing. or perhaps relatively wealthy, spread out countries. i see no problem here. just envy.

  14. SteveC says:

    Just compare prices and its easy to explain the difference in usage. With gasoline selling for the equivalent of $10 per gallon in Europe, people drive smaller cars or take the train (or heaven forbid, walk!)

  15. John says:

    garo,

    My concept about measuring oil consumption on a per GDP basis is to get some form of a productivity measure, or input per output. Your idea of “per capita per GDP unit” is along that line. Consumption per capita would not be useful because that does not include output. I agree with you that GDP is a flawed metric, so I am open to another metric, but the point is to have some sort of productivity measure.

  16. JustinTheSkeptic says:

    I once went to an inventors fair in Red Wing, Minnasota, there I saw an invention where the cars where abel to hook up to a public transport system. They could attach and detach themselves “on the run” so that the train did not have to slow down. There was like a “biton exchange area where the car speed up to hook on to the train. Say your travelling over a hundred miles you could hook-in and read the paper for about 90 miles, then you would be warned via a speaker, to disengage. There are so many different possibilities out there. I for one don’t want to have to sit next to “ass-holes” on a train in the morning – been there done that; it sucks!

  17. odds says:

    BR, you may be honest about your love of horsepower, but some other folks want to consume as much energy as they want, while telling the rest of us how to behave. Evidence:
    http://unfavorableodds.wordpress.com/2010/06/08/i-want-this-truck/

  18. Get Shorty says:

    As a Brit I am sickened by President Obama’s attacks on BP and his anti-British rhetoric. He reminds me of Putin.

    I have always been pro-American but this incident has really struck a nerve.

    President Obama’s short history of insulting Briain:

    ~PM Brown visited Washington and was humilated by President Obama.
    ~President Obama rarely thanks Britain for our sacrifices in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    ~President Obama’s anti-British rhetoric against BP.

    I think this episode has fused all the issues of why pro-American Brits are close to throwing in the towel.

    I now strongly believe we should bring our troops home and let you guys work it out, you ain’t backing us up, you are just dissing us.

    Yours

    A very vexed Brit.

  19. Jojo says:

    [lol] Hypocrisy is the basis that our society is built on!

  20. Chad says:

    I agree completely that we are culpable in a vast array problems (climate change, terrorism, etc.). However, we aren’t the only ones culpable. What’s the old saying? “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” Just because their’s is smaller doesn’t mean it isn’t made of glass.

    Also, these complaints sound a little like misplaced patriotism. British Petroleum being hounded hard by U.S. citizens and by the President (finally, though still too weak) is a slight indirect attack on Britain.

  21. ashpelham2 says:

    Thank you for this post, Barry. The real issue is hypocrisy. We have made a monster in Wal Mart, demanding more and more for less and less, forgetting that there is a law of diminishing returns, which we have long since passed.

    The two things we can’t cheapen are energy and healthcare, and they are about to become the largest part of our drain on resources.

  22. evanhuntington says:

    BR – Carbon footprint aside, I disagree.

    Your logic in another context would mean: if I order a meal in a restaurant, I am to blame when the waitress drops it on the floor.

    You are correct that we are a substantial source of demand but it is demand under certain norms. If I knew puppies were killed every time oil was drilled, I might ride my bike to work. Unfortunately, this is an imperfect world, unexpected things happen and mistakes are made. When they do, the person committing said mistake generally owns it.

  23. greggcwa says:

    Your information is usually fascinating but your stance on man made global warming is out of date.
    AGW is nonsense. It has always been nonsense. And it should never be quoted in any literature at this point. Al Gore is afraid to debate the topic because EVERY issue raised by the AGW’ers has been shot full of holes multiple times. The new IPCC bogeyman is now flora and fauna.
    Also I have to laugh on hypocrisy. You live in what was once the most successful country on the planet. It’s too late to cry over spilt milk. You also produced far more goods than anyone else during these periods of energy use…… there does not have to be a ceiling to energy use…… we have real sources of effectively infinite energy in Nuclear power (both Thorium and Breeder reactors and potentially Fusion) not counting an incredibly large supply of coal and natural gas. Stop all the whining and start rebuilding. The Chinese and Indians could give a rat’s arse about the stupid issues raised by all the soul searching liberals in the USA.

    ~~~

    BR: My stance is that temps have gone up this century, and humans probably are responsible in a not insignificant way, tho the precise amount is unknown.

    Please disprove that . . .

  24. dsawy says:

    If the US didn’t have the gargantuan “carbon footprint” we do, the Brits would be speaking either German or Russian.

    The Europeans are able to carp about the oil consumption of the US because we US taxpayers have more than ponied up for oil and fuel expenditures for their defense that they would not or could not make on their own.

    People around the world are able to eat cheaply because US farmers are the most mechanized in the world, bar none, that that takes fuel. Lots of fuel. It take fuel to run machinery, natural gas gets turned into nitrate fertilizers, crops have to be hauled to distribution and shipping points, etc.

  25. Bsideriver says:

    Canada is a bigger pig than the USA for oil consumption per capita. Don’t let the next smug canuck tourist you meet in Cancun forget it. Heck, Iceland beats you guys.
    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/ene_oil_con_percap-energy-oil-consumption-per-capita

  26. bsneath says:

    So you can rationalize your personal profligacy because you possess all of the correct beliefs? What a feek’n hypocrite!

    ~~~

    BR: I am not rationalizing anything. I do and say what I want, and I dont give a fuck what other people think about it. If you havent figured that out yet after reading this blog for (how many?) years, than you are dumber than you look!

  27. Get Shorty says:

    Brilliant piece of analysis on the BP problem:

    http://caps.fool.com/blogs/bp-v-the-chumps/405838?lidx=3

  28. seneca says:

    The first graph show OIL consumption. The second graph shows ENERGY consumption, which includes coal, hydroelectric, nuclear, ethanol, wind, solar, AAA batteries and … oil.

  29. TripleSigma says:

    “We have $50k earners who bought $750k houses, then complained about Goldman Sachs; Walmart shoppers who buy 12 packs of tighty whiteys for $2.99 — then complains about job losses. Or the non voters (the majority of us) who complain about Congress. We energy consumers ought to realize that it is our demand that led to drilling in the GoM.”

    Very, very well said Barry!!!! This should be on a freakin’ billboard…..

  30. rickw says:

    What are the chances that BP gets 80% of this cleaned up before the US hits 6% unemployment?

    Though I agree with BR and some petroleum engineers should get fired especially after reading the hour by hour account in the WSJ this a.m., the result of financial engineering was much more dislocation.

  31. wally says:

    A 12 pack of tighty whiteys for $2.99? I guess I’d better head on over to Walmart….

  32. Patrick Neid says:

    We maybe only 5% of the world’s population but up until a little while ago we were 20% of the world’s GNP. We are also its peacekeeper among other things. Those are our aircraft carriers rushing around to save people. To then spin all of that into raising fuel taxes is a bunch of tripe.

    You can thank your heroes Clinton/Gore for the SUV’s. If you are wasteful with your energy do something about it. Saying you are not a hypocrite is not enough.

  33. dsawy Says: June 11th, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    If the US didn’t have the gargantuan “carbon footprint” we do, the Brits would be speaking either German or Russian.

    The Europeans are able to carp about the oil consumption of the US because we US taxpayers have more than ponied up for oil and fuel expenditures for their defense that they would not or could not make on their own…
    ~~

    as dsawy points out, the Euros have a short memory..

    there’s no doubt we can be more Efficient, but, BP “(was) reckless and irresponsible in how they proceeded to drill in the Gulf of Mexico with Deepwater Horizon.” Those are two different Stories..

    we should be mindful of http://www.thefreedictionary.com/conflation

  34. bsneath says:

    Barry, I respect that this is your blog and that you have every right not to post this comment and for that matter to forever ban me from commenting. That said, I have not been as infuriated by a post since reading about Goldman Sachs intending to award $30 billion in bonuses at the height of the financial crisis.

    Seriously, please help me to understand how the liberal mind thinks. How do you rationalize your right to waste energy while proselytizing about America’s excessive energy consumption and the evils of global warming? Why is it that the strongest advocates for restricting energy consumption are also the greatest violators? e.g. Al Gore, Tom Friedman. Truly how do you folks morally justify behaving in a way that is in direct conflict with your beliefs?

    Do you rationalize that, since you are an educator of the masses, you deserve special treatment? Do you rationalize that by influencing others to use less, you somehow have generated carbon credits for your personal use?

    Barry, you are a smart person but you are not behaving as a morally honest person through your actions. Why should others change their behavior if/when you and others who feel so strongly about these issues apparently cannot?

    If you truly believe in what you are saying, then buy a Prius, take the subway.

    Talk is cheap. Walk the walk.

    ~~~

    BR: I cannot help you understand how the liberal mind thinks. I can help you understand how an honest person does.

    I’ve never claimed to be green. And I’ve never told other people what energy to consume or not. I use tons of energy — I admit that. And, I take my small measure of responsibility for the effects of that consumption, including what occurred at Deepwater Horizon.

    You utterly misunderstood what I wrote. Try thinking instead of reacting; do a little analysis instead of labeling.

    I am being treated no differently than anyone else in America. I happily pay $3.50 for premium gasoline, as does everyone else in my area. If we want to change behavior, than the Pigou taxes on oil are the way to go, as the Europeans have demonstrated.

    But even you must admit– the Brits have a point. All of the handwringing and BP bashing is more than just a tad hypocritical.

    PS: I do take the subway and the railroad . . . and I would never drive a Prius.

  35. Robespierre says:

    I wrote this at naked capitalism a few days ago: The truth of the matter is that BP is drilling in the gulf because most people in the US feel that they have a God given right to drive whatever they want regardless of energy efficiency. It is also the reason we go to war in the middle east. The true cost of oil is not priced at the pump since those activities are not included. It is not only about oil by the way for anyone who has done any overseas travel: the only place in the world where personal outside storage is a viable business is in the US. Americans as people buy huge amounts of useless things that then needs storage because “ditching it” will be an admission that it was a wasteful buy to begin with. Consumption and waste in this country is just a new representation of gluttony. BTW a true leader (not an Obama) would have tax oil to levels that force behavior change.

  36. purple says:

    You have to factor population density in this. Much easier to have a good rail system when your country is small and clustered in major cities. That is partly a product of policy, but also inherent in the structure and geography of the US.

  37. purple says:

    As for ‘our’ consumption and waste, the world loves it, or at least the world’s exporters. Plenty of hypocrites exist in other countries as well.

  38. Andy T says:

    “However, they were trying to fulfill our own reckless and irresponsible demands for cheap and plentiful energy. Anyone who is an energy consumer cannot ignore their contribution to what happened.”

    This is probably one of the sillier things you’ve ever written.

    Why is it reckless to demand cheap and plentiful energy? We can “demand” all we want, but it’s an open market out there with a clearing price. Sometimes we get “cheap” energy (a la 1998-2000) and sometimes we get higher prices. It is what is. Eventually these higher prices and our “reckless” demand for energy will lead to some STEP changes in the way energy is produced and deliver. Perhaps our “reckless” demand is what is leading to some of these huge new advances in alternative energy that will rid ourselves of OIL energy demand forever? Would that be a bad thing? Or, do you advocate your STAT-IST approach to the economy where the STATE will do a better job of ushering in alternative energy?

    BP, acting as a rational economic player, drilled a hole to find oil to to satisfy market demand. Some of their equipment failed. Why is their equipment failure the fault of consumers? If you use that sort of crazy logic, then you can blame consumers for anything bad that ever happens…

  39. tagyoureit says:

    What if I’m the last patron in the restaurant, a regular, valued customer; I consume twice the food of any other patron then I order one last meal before I hit the road? A grease fire results, the building burns to the ground, and the cook is hosptialized with 3rd degree burns.

    I bet everyone wishes I skipped that last plate of loaded potato skins with extra bacon.

    No matter though, the owner just makes an insurance claim I guess. No blame for me after all, the restaurant could have refused and declared the kitchen closed. I would have just gone over the restaurant next door.

  40. Robespierre says:

    @Andy T Says:

    “Why is it reckless to demand cheap and plentiful energy? We can “demand” all we want, but it’s an open market out there with a clearing price.”

    This is just as silly. The true price of gas is not what is paid at the pump. There is a over-proportioned military apparatus that is in place to guaranty the free flow of oil (and therefore high supply and as a result lower cost). So if the true cost of gas was reflected at the pump I can guaranty that there will be more interest in mass transit and better fuel efficiency by all

  41. Patrick Neid says:

    And while we are on the subject we use 21.7% not 25% almost matching our world GNP. However more importantly the reason the Brits are rightfully pissed off at us has nothing whatever to do with our oil consumption but everything to do with Obama and his phony attitude towards the Brits concerning BP, its stock and its pensioners. The reports are in all the Brit newspapers.

    Chief among their complaints, rightfully so, are the difference in behaviors as regards oil related tragedies. Here’s what we did to the Brits for the historically challenged.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piper_Alpha

    Obama should put a cork in it. He’s way over his head with his accusations and threats. We are drilling in deep water because his lackeys have prevented us from drilling on land or shallow waters.

    Truth, we can’t handle the truth as they say:

    http://market-ticker.denninger.net/archives/2385-Energy-Are-You-A-Pig-And-A-Bigot.html

  42. scepticus says:

    The most striking thing I see in that graph is just how very badly (relative to everyone else in the world) it is going to hurt America when oil shortages start to bite. The size of the adjustment required is simply vast.

    One doesn’t necessarily need to posit peak oil to get to shortages, increased demand from now far-more- -economically-powerful emerging market economies will do that for you.

    I imagine that when this actually happens there will be far worse instances of the US industrial complex shitting on its own doorstep than this one.

  43. klutzrock says:

    @Barry defending BP,

    I would just like to comment about the oil spill that rings true to me.

    The oil, while a considerable amount MAY be going to the USA, is sold on the open market. offshore Americans oil deposits are always put into terms like “American produced” “energy independence” and the like. But this oil is sold on the open market to the highest bidder (Not to mention that BP is a foreign entity)! In all reality doesn’t a deposit off the coast of siberia that is brought to the open market the same as a offshore source in the Gulf of Mexico being brought to the open market (besides the various taxes)? It’s not like BP is only selling that oil to Americans. In all reality, the oil that we get from our gulf, some that greedy money grubbers want to get out of the ground in unsafe manners (Look up all the BP code violations compared to other rigs), and then might even be sold to Iran! the average American would be PISSED if they knew that we might not even be getting “our” oil. If China keeps growing and says FU to the US, then wont BP be selling most of it to them? It’s going to happen. Its not about us being more consuming than the rest of the planet, although i do feel thats important in other areas, its about the paradigm shift where our own deposits of oil could hypothetically be mostly going overseas, because our own economy could go Do-do bird

    -D

  44. klutzrock says:

    well not Iran becaus they got enough, but maybe N Korea?

  45. JSchmid says:

    I love the fact that as an american I am still free to use as much oil as I can burn and afford. I am not in any way responsible for the oil spill, BP and our government is. Government is guilty of limiting oil exploration to dangerous and expensive areas like the location of the spill while blocking drilling in easier locations.

  46. JSchmid says:

    Oil skimmers were offered by a Texas company along with the Netherlands and the US government said no thanks to the Netherlands and the Texas company has never heard back from the government.

    Why didn’t we say Yes! How soon can we get them?

  47. franklin411 says:

    @Robespierre,
    Jesus Christ, George Washington, and Ronald Reagan could form a League of Justice and demand that the GOP get constructive on policy, and the Republicans would say “NOT JUST NO, BUT HELL NO!”

  48. John says:

    garo,

    Why do you suggest “how ridiculous a measure oil consumption per GDP unit is”? The countries at the bottom of your list are far less energy efficient than those at the top. Isn’t that very important and not “ridiculous”? BTW, the chart you referenced is based on energy use, not oil consumption.

    Daffyorbugs,

    I will never be able to post a perfect chart or do anything perfectly, but here’s another table of Energy Use per GDP that is much better for analysis than a chart of daily barrels of oil consumed:

    http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/SeriesDetail.aspx?srid=648

    Such data is useful for some things (such as a starting point for energy efficiency, which indicates the United States is in the middle of the pack and not the leading horrible greedy depraved monster of oil consumption that some might infer from the chart published by the Guardian). The data is not useful for other things (such as a quality of life indicator, as I’d rather live in the US than Botswana).

  49. Robespierre says:

    @John Says:
    “The data is not useful for other things (such as a quality of life indicator,”

    Please “quality of life”? This is a country where cities are built to serve the car not its population. Try “quality of life” in FL without a car! Maybe this another reason as to why we lead in FAT people. Drive Drive Drive

  50. Watching says:

    An an European, who has been doing significant amount of business travel in the States, the complete an utter lack of public transportation is just mind blowing.

    So yeah, North America guzzles oil like there’s no tomorrow (and if this keeps up, pretty soon there won’t be).

    Funny anecdote. Over here, gas is taxed to hell and back, so the cars are significantly smaller as well to keep the consumption in check. When I was buying my first SUV, I did the corresponding research online. What was considered a “full-size” SUV here was listed as a medium or small SUV in all of the US car review sites. And most of the Full-size US SUV’s aren’t even sold in Europe, since most of the people are actually aware of the MPG their cars get. US is the only country in the world that could actually come up with Hummers or Escalades and be proud of them :-)

    So, while I think BP has been astoundingly bad at managing this crisis and should end up getting hurt, I also agree with the sentiment that to some extent this disaster is self-inflicted.

  51. bsneath says:

    However, they were trying to fulfill our own reckless and irresponsible demands for cheap and plentiful energy. Anyone who is an energy consumer cannot ignore their contribution to what happened. Personally, I try not to be hypocritical about my enormous carbon footprint (Denying global warming, ignoring the impact consumption has). I haven’t shown much willingness to change, but I won’t pretend there is no damage from my addiction to Horsepower.

    Let me interpret. “I am irresponsible, but since I admit it and I believe in global warming, I am not a hypocrite.”

    Can’t rationalize any better than that.

  52. J Kraus says:

    I have to compliment BR and the majority of the above posters, as this discussion is about the most rational I’ve seen regarding this whole matter.

    I agree with BR in that in all likelihood, BP probably did screw up somewhere along the line (given their safety record). However, as yet we still do no know the actual root cause of the disaster and BP has been charged with no crime. Has the U.S. renounced the innocent until proven guilty concept?

    It was interesting that both major subcontractors (Transocean and Haliburton) immediately put forth the “we were just following orders” defense. If I remember correctly, a number of German officers tried that during the Nuremberg trails and it failed.

  53. santamonica says:

    US is 25% of oil used….25% of world GDP produced. Not sure what these silly Brits are talking about – sounds like they should be getting on the economic treadmill and running a little faster. Maybe they’re upset that their own people took the British out of BP…lol!!!

  54. J Kraus says:

    I am not sure Consumption per GDP is the best measure here. Household expenditures for gasoline are included in the non-durable goods component of the overall GDP measure; thus greater energy consumption raises both sides of the equation.

  55. DeDude says:

    @bsneath; how do you rationalize supporting the terrorists by spending money on purchasing way more oil products than you need to survive?

    (I presume that you are a good solid patriot who hate terrorists and think those sending them money should be lined up against a wall and shot).

  56. DeDude says:

    There are lots of ways to come up with excuses for our high level of energy use relative to the world. Distances between cities or population density obviously can increase energy needs for transportation. Higher amounts of GDP might be used as an excuse if we can show that the GDP we produce takes as much energy as the GDP other countries produce (I mean how many light bulbs does it take for a GS bankster to do his dark and dirty work).

    But the reality is that we have not taken any serious steps to reduce our use of oil – it’s been dril-baby-dril for decades. Because we failed to implement any substantial tax on oil, there has been little incentives to reduce the use and find alternatives. Mandates regarding gas miles on car and use of alternative energy by utility companies have been to late and not enough. Government support for development of alternatives has been minimal to luke-warm. We have failed to develop incentives for use of railroads in transportation of goods and support effective mass transportation systems for our cities.

    The other problem is definitely personal responsibility. You know the thing everybody wants others to suffer (but rarely take upon themselves). Most people indulge themselves in homes and drive vehicles that are much bigger and more energy consuming than they need to be.

  57. bsneath says:

    DeDude Says:
    June 11th, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    “@bsneath; how do you rationalize supporting the terrorists by spending money on purchasing way more oil products than you need to survive? ”

    You are being a bit presumptuous Mr. Dude. I am retired. I drive so infrequently, I often have to charge the battery on my car to go anywhere.

    I am merely pointing out the hypocrisy of those who say we should reduce our oil consumption and then behave differently.

    Personally I supported John Anderson years ago when he proposed a 50 cent gas tax (back when 50 cents actually meant something). I supported it for economic reasons. We would be much better off if we did not import oil and if we had economic incentives to be more efficient.

    With respect to patriotism, there is not much about our society that I can feel patriotic about at the moment. Fraud and corruption in politics, finance, corporations and individuals are rampant. Honesty and integrity appear to be lost values. The American empire is in a state of collapse and neither political party appears to be capable of addressing the changes needed to fix it.

    I would suggest that the various social issues that command so much attention today are quite minor to the more important ethical issues that are undermining our society. It appears that manipulation and deceit are perfectly acceptable values as long as the end is justified.

    Whether it is Bush’s “weapons of mass destruction” lie, Emanuel’s “never let a crisis go to waste” ploy or Goldman Sach’s “trust us, we would never make you the mark” corporate ethics, the result is the same. Lost integrity, debased values, a declining civilization.

    One day you will wake up to learn that you are living in a second tier economy, indebted to your Chinese and other formerly emerging market bosses and you likely will not have a clue what happened. But then, you can always say it was Bush’s fault…..

  58. Marc P says:

    BR: “I won’t pretend there is no damage from my addiction to Horsepower.”

    It’s not horsepower, it’s how many miles you drive. If you live five miles from the office, a V-12 Murcielago is more environmentally friendly than driving a Prius to work from 30 miles away.

    ~~~

    BR: And when I am going in circles at Limerock or Sebring . . . ?

    Although you could say that is both HP AND mileage

  59. Ned Baker says:

    I second J Kraus:

    This issue is never discussed rationally… until now!

  60. Jonathan says:

    Why all of the bashing of Barry? What did he ever do to you?

    I don’t always agree with what he says either, but I don’t feel any need to call him names and make claims about the kind of person he is based on a blog he writes.

    Feel free to disagree with any point he makes, Barry is always open to alternate viewpoints and will sometimes even give you a rebuttal.

    But please stop with the knee-jerk reactions of saying he is dishonest or labeling him as a Greenie, Liberal, or anything else. Not only are they annoying to read, they accomplish nothing and (hypocritical labeling alert) make you look like a moron.

  61. ACS says:

    The question is not if the Earth is warming now but rather has it done so in the past before Mankind began using anything more than campfires. The planet has been warmer in the past and it has been colder in the past. There has been more CO2 in the atmosphere and there has been less. When the modelers can recreate the historical climate record then I will start believing their predictions for the future. BTW I do think it is an excellant thing to drastically reduce our dependence on fossil energy through conservation and renewable sources. Saving is always good, I hate that we send so much money to so many people who hate us, and the BP incident shows there are great costs to our current energy use that have nothing to do with AGW.

  62. Andy T says:

    Robespierre Says:
    June 11th, 2010 at 5:06 pm
    @Andy T Says:

    “Why is it reckless to demand cheap and plentiful energy? We can “demand” all we want, but it’s an open market out there with a clearing price.”

    This is just as silly. The true price of gas is not what is paid at the pump. There is a over-proportioned military apparatus that is in place to guaranty the free flow of oil (and therefore high supply and as a result lower cost).
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Difficult to know where to begin with that sort of silly assertion….

    Yeah, OF COURSE there is a military appartus in place to insure the supply of oil in various regions. Super Powers (Empires) throughout the course of history have maintained militaries in order secure raw resources. Duh! But, does it really work??

    Your argument is ridiculous and is based on many ASSumptions. You ASSume that without a military, the flow of oil would somehow be restricted somewhere and the price would be much higher. I challenge you to explain that idea to its conclusion.

    Would Russia NOT export oil without our military support…..errrrr……nevermind.

    Would Saddam Hussein have stopped exporting oil without our military support……errrrr…..nevermind…he was exporting oil even with SANCTIONs all over his ass.

    Would NIGERIA NOT export oil without our military support….errrr…nevermind…they don’t have our support at all.

    Would Canada NOT export oil without our military support…..errr…nevermind.

    Would Hugo Chavez NOT export oil without our military support….errr…nevermind….we actually tried to topple his ass in 2003 in a CIA sponsored coup d’etat.

    I guess you can make an assertion that we are providing military support to Saudi Arabia. However, I would suggest that the only threat to the House of Saud is by Islamic extremists who are pissed BECAUSE of our support.

    So, one could argue that our military support in the Middle East is probably making the price of oil HIGHER than it otherwise would be.

    Additionally, our huge role as “World Police” is a major demand pull on oil. Those ships and aircraft don’t run on magic pixie dust. In fact, the military is a huge customer of many oil companies in terms of jet fuel contracts. So, absent the military apparatus you speak about, the price of oil might be dramatically lower without the military as the marginal buyer.

    Your argument is without merit.

  63. willid3 says:

    what does consumption have to do with why we are mad at BP? I thought the reason we are mad at them had to do with the spill, that is trashing the gulf. putting many small businesses out of business, and starting to put some larger ones out also. and that is trashing jobs, long term, not short term. after all no one wants fish that has a side of oil added to it do they? or how many will go to a beach resort where the beach has oil on it and in the water too?
    while we consumer a lot of energy and we can really do better. a lot of it has to do with geography. compare European countries to the US. You can walk from city to city in a semi-reasonable time. not in the US (I recall working with some folks from Germany who took a bus tour in the US. and marveled at the length of time it took go any where!). we also have a pretty diverse weather pattern. and Europeans can do things like have 2 feet thick walls. try that on the west coast where the group moves. those walls crack on the first earthquake. and while i think that global warming is real. and man made (consider that cool down so many point to happened when we were in the fake economy that we now know was happening in the aughts). it just wont matter we will have to deal with it as to many won’t change until it is way to late. which it probably already is.
    can we get much better efficient use of energy and have 25% of more of the world’s GDP? and if we did would have it mattered regarding the BP spill? probably not

  64. J Kraus says:

    Don’t knock those oiled-up fish – Ron Popeil could probably make millions selling them on late-night TV as self-basting!

  65. TakBak04 says:

    BR…I looked at the “Circular Map” of use. We are ALL GUILTY. The emerging markets around the world will be using oil, and look at China close to us…providing US and Wall Mart and the rest with cheap goods.

    We moved our problem of dependency across the world when we Outsourced our dirty Oil Industry to them…but we still needed oil for our “toys” and Coal and Nat. Gas for the rest along with the Oil.

    We bought some time in some way.

    But, our outsourcing created new problems for Energy Dependence.

    Should we blame BP? Yes, we should because their record shows they cut corners and got into the meme of the Crowd that feels Corporations can cut corners to pump up their balance sheets. We are responsible because we no longer have any semblence of Ethics and Morals…and there is no one to hold anyone accountable for hurting or raping of the common good for Corporate Special Interests.

    One could argue that BP has returned good dividends to “Widows and Orphans” and therefore they’ve tried to do good for the “common person” along with the bad. That they made a “bargain” that all corporations try to do when they cut corners to get investors and pay out dividends. But, given the cost that Deregulation brought upon us…It would seem there are some huge inequities that need to be addressed with what BP and let’s through in Massey Energy and many of the Multinationals like ConAgra and Monsanto…who seem to say they are doing “good for the people…giving them what they want to use to fuel their houses, cars and the rest…and even the “cloned, mass produced food” we eat today.

    Still….there is no BALANCE. For societies to function smoothly and progress there must be efforts to create a BALANCE OF POWER. We are so out of whack that banks can do what they did and the masses of people all over the world must suffer for the “One PerCent” who have all the money they made off us.

    This cannot go on without massive Blow Back.

    We need to remember this when we look at the “Markets…read Pundits and Charts.”

  66. call me ahab says:

    so . . .

    if I like meth-amphetamines- and use them daily and often- and can never get enough- and the dude I buy it from blows himself up in his trailer- making meth of course-

    I’m at fault?

    you go BR- you make more sense every day

    ~~~

    BR: Is your argument that the end user demand of any product has zero responsibility for its creation/manufacturing/processing?

    Forget meth, lets talk about Asian consumption of Tiger Penis. Do you hold those consumers utterly blameless for the killing of Tigers?

    If so, how is that different than either Meth or Oil ?

  67. Chad says:

    It kind of scares me how little rational thought matters in most of these comments.

    ~~~

    BR: I have come to recognize that when you challenge a fundamental belief (right or wrong) or accepted truism, the pushback is fierce.

    It means you are pushing people out of their comfort zone.

  68. call me ahab says:

    dedude says-

    The other problem is definitely personal responsibility. You know the thing everybody wants others to suffer (but rarely take upon themselves). Most people indulge themselves in homes and drive vehicles that are much bigger and more energy consuming than they need to be.

    wow BR- dedude is totally busting your balls-

    should he be moderated possibly? LOL

    ~~~

    BR: No. We merely disagree.

    You need to be either 1) a liar or 2) a talking point parrot 3) a total douchebag — to get moderated. (Partial douches are usually tolerated)

  69. Nic says:

    I am with getshorty and a Brit too. It has taken quite an anti-British tone which is odd when you consider the rig and tanker were built and operated by American companies subcontracted by BP.
    Are BP at fault? – hell yes, but not Britain.

    Barry this might help you (unless Ahab already posted it)
    The BP oil spill explained in 1min by cats

  70. Nic says:

    GetShorty – tomorrow is our day (England vs USA)

  71. Transor Z says:

    I don’t know why John asked the oil consumption per GDP question but I’ll ask it and even see if I can find some data on it.

    Here’s why I think it touches on an important question: household/personal consumption of energy should be separated from industrial use of energy when you look at a country’s level of “FAULT.” A per capita measure doesn’t break things out by sector. If a country’s energy for manufacturing creates products that are used/consumed around the world, then you need to also tag those foreign consumers with the “BLAME” that Barry’s talking about. Shame on them for buying a product made in LA made up of components that get jetted, trucked, shipped, or freighted in from wherever. Is it the United States’ “fault” that someone in Israel wants to buy an iPod? At best it goes both ways.

    Personal consumption is all on us; I have no beef with that. Barry likes fast cars and flies all over to conferences and clients and whatnot. He’s definitely exceeded his “quota.” I drive to work when I could take the commuter rail. I like imported beer. A lot. But this is where the libertarian thing breaks down. You’ve got to have policy makers that ride herd on the aggregate of selfishness. And for that you need a political system that works. That’s the part we don’t have.

  72. Transor Z says:

    Here you go: Energy consumption per GDP, World Resources Inst. (using IEA 2006 data)
    http://earthtrends.wri.org/text/energy-resources/variable-668.html

  73. john6pack says:

    @Transor Z
    “I like imported beer. A lot. But this is where the libertarian thing breaks down. You’ve got to have policy makers that ride herd on the aggregate of selfishness. And for that you need a political system that works. That’s the part we don’t have.”

    And that’s it in a nutshell. You would think you could sell energy conservation as an environmental issue to the left and a security issue to the right so everyone could find their own personal justification for a bit of sacrifice. But no.

  74. Captain Jack says:

    The picture worth 1,000 words:

    http://i.imgur.com/3VI9U.jpg

  75. Paul S says:

    Interesting load of cognitive dissonance in some of the comments re: why the US has the greatest energy usage per capita, but take it from someone who knows history and city planning.

    Let’s get real about who we are. We are selfish Americans who think we are entitled to half acre lots and 2500 SF houses no matter who we are, how big our families are, or how far we have to commute. The result is that we have quickly, in just the past 60 years, jettisoned our European heritage and embraced our “Manifest Destiny”- which was quite simply to spread out. Physically spread out. The reason we did this is because as Americans we feel entitled to own the land and exploit its resources. We have rejected the European notion of cities and living in close proximity to one another. The fact is we do not like each other (not at all) and want to live as far away from each other-as far as is practicable. And we have certainly pushed those boundaries with our exurbs and 50 mile one-way commutes. We don’t like using mass transit- we prefer to drive. We like cheap gas, and it is only when gasoline prices spike that we begin to drive to the bus or rail stops in reaction.

    So accept the fact of the matter. We are, culturally, in a totally different universe than our European or Asian counterparts. And in some quarters we are considered culturally inferior, and morally bankrupt. And that is the very unflattering lens our British friends are viewing us through.

  76. bear_in_mind says:

    Barry, great stuff!

    As measured by all the comments rife with full-bore defense mechanisms on display, this topic clearly rattled people’s cognitive dissonance and sense of duplicity.

    As mentioned by others, one can own the largest house, the fastest widget, and work in lockstep with multinational corporations to leave the country and planet worse place than when we found it. Didn’t seem to matter much when results of our actions were virtually invisible, but unleash a man-made oil volcano that could destroy one of the largest natural resources in our country and suddenly those seemingly ‘harmless’ choices come home to roost.

    I suspect that as a country we’ve just become complacent and entitled. We take our superiority for granted. And frankly, I don’t know that we collectively know what we stand for any longer. I think we all know we can do better. A LOT BETTER.

    And I think that’s what’s really gnawing at people here and across the country. Kinda like the dynamic that ruled America in ’70′s. But we’ve had nearly 40 years since then to get our act together and here we are, still back on our heels, more dependent on oil than ever, and no real sense of direction forward.

    Don’t know if you saw Robert Redford’s video on the spill,”The Fix”, over at YouTube but think it worth the four minute running time:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjlbmYx4HdQ&feature=player_embedded

    Good weekend, all!

  77. bear_in_mind says:

    @PaulS: Wow, was that a Vulcan mind-meld or what? I got interrupted after TranzorZ’s post, came back and finished, published, then read your missive… pretty funny coincodink.

  78. DaveB says:

    Sort of a related question:
    After Katrina, Bush had no scapegoat. With Obama running for reelection in two and a half years, is there any possible way on earth that BP can survive as a viable company? I have heard people say that BP is a cash-machine, but can any single company in the world replace the entire fishing and tourism business in these five states ? Florida alone is a must-win state.

    Today I went short on BP, and paid a relatively high price for long dated puts. Think I made a mistake ?

    Thanks DaveB

  79. herewegoagain says:

    BR’s “logic” entirely escapes me. If I have 10 cars and order an eleventh, and it’s destroyed during shipment, I have no responsibility for that destruction. Though it may be disturbing that I feel compelled to own 1o cars, that’s a separate issue. Yes, many Americans are energy pigs, but BP is solely responsible for the destruction of the Gulf of Mexico. With numerous code violations, a terrible safety record, and the corruption the system with gifts and bribes, they demonstrated a wanton disregard for the well-being of that entire region. Bankruptcy is too good for them.

    ~~~

    BR: The point is simply that consumers of any given good are indirectly responsible for the affects of the production of that good.

  80. bman says:

    Well I see the construers are out in full force I only had to read herwegonagain’s response to see the tenor of the comments. Only idiots think we should have cheap gas. There should be a 100% tax per gallon. Every untaxed dollar that goes for gas is funding our own destruction.
    By the way this view of mine goes against almost all my views on taxing. This would affect the poor,
    disproportianately more compared to the rich. I believe in taxing the rich.
    That being said, the fact that we can have folks aspiring to and buying gas wasting huge vehicles, sometimes only because of the long commute, will only fester until it is addressed.
    We can discuss why we’re out on this limb until we’re blue in the face, but it was Ronald Reagan who took the solar collectors off the roof of the white house.
    That was 1980.

    So in order to implement this suggestion of seriously taxing gas, we have to disproportianately tax the rich to make up for it.

  81. herewegoagain says:

    @bman You used my post to make an argument entirely unrelated to my comments. I agree with virtually everything you wrote, except perhaps calling me an idiot, and understand why you are angry. I only think that responsibility for the spill, and a horrible energy policy in America are two different issues. On a personal note, I have only one vehicle and it’s quite fuel efficient. I’ve had it for 22 years and have driven only 32,000 miles. That’s right, I drive less than 1,500 miles/year. (I do most all commuting by bicycle.) Can you top that for personal energy conservation? If not, perhaps you’d like to climb down off Mount Pious and offer up an apology… holding my breath. h

  82. antisthenes says:

    How very egalitarianly shallow of you. .. Did it not occur to you that the mighty US – whose praises you are usually not slow to sing – also accounts for 25% of world GDP, or that a guy operating a metal press in Michigan might just burn a few more barrels than a goat herder in Ghana? DOH!~

    ~~~

    BR: Hey, that is a terrific point — if it were 1940.

    If the US economy hadn’t shifted from a heavily industrial economy towards a service economy over the past 50 years, you would have a winning argument. However, we have exported a huge portion of the heavy manufacturing industry.

    However, if your argument was about China . . .

  83. NYC Mike says:

    This BP post is driving me nuts.

    1. BP and the British pensioners had no problem with fat american oil-gobblers when it was profitable to feed them oil. This is the flipside of all those profits. You can’t enjoy profits without the risks. Or can you? (see US banks)

    2. BP was known to be a company with an awful environmental record. Perhaps all those pensioners should have recognized their risk before piling into a company with hundreds and hundreds of environmental violations over the past few years, and a phenomenally poor safety and environmental record. If I know it, so should the ‘experts’ running the pension money.

    3. You HAVE to adjust oil consumption for exports. We’re what, the number two exporting company in the world? Customers around the world that buy our products have to share the blame, if you’re going to blame US oil consumption for the BP disaster. (However, I dont think the two are related, whatsoever.)

    Regards,

    Mike
    NYC

  84. Tim says:

    Chart should be more comprehensive. Many countries have higher per capita energy usage (admittedly, most are “oil” states). Australia is right up there, too, though. Luxembourg even higher than US.

    Anyway, the brits are mad because we’re energy hogs, so that means they don’t need to feel guilty about BP causing the world’s worst ecologic disaster (yes, right up there with Chernobyl).

    Sorry, don’t follow the logic.

  85. bman says:

    I’m glad you agree, but I didn’t call anyone an idiot, I pointed out only idiot can think cheap gas is the reality. Externalized costs are costs nonetheless.
    @herewegoagain if your gas consumption is truly so frugal, aluetta motherfucker!

  86. herewegoagain says:

    @bman Frugality and fun. Every minute on a bicycle is a delight, and a glorious “drop dead” to big oil. (Once as a sort of personal test, I made it the entire year on one tank of gas. And it wasn’t that difficult.)

  87. Dennis says:

    Look, this is very simple:

    If I consume a good or service, I have a small measure of responsiblity for the costs of that production.

  88. bear_in_mind says:

  89. DeDude says:

    @bsneath; retired so its convenience and lack of sacrifice that will get you to stop supporting the terrorists. How about the size of your house is it more than a 200 sq.ft. one room building and then how do you justify your wasteful terrorist supporting lifestyle?

    All I am doing is pointing out that you can be for or against something without turning into an absolutist fanatic about it. And when you ask others how they “justify” not acting absolutist fanatical about something – ask yourself first – the answer is right there on your tong – “without much thought”.

    The smug little idiots who say “if you want to pay more to government why don’t you send them a check” should instead ask themselves “if I don’t want to pay more in taxes why don’t I stop using government roads, police and other services”.

  90. DD123 says:

    BR writes: The point is simply that consumers of any given good are indirectly responsible for the affects of the production of that good.

    As a reader, I guess this somehow makes me partly responsible for Barry’s ridiculous post. I feel so guilty and ashamed.

    What’s next…can we get a :”Why do they hate us so much?”

    Anyways…

    The Brit’s argument is nothing more than an ad hominem “tu quoque”. [In Barry's case it's a neurotic "me quoque".]

    I know how much Barry just loves commenting on everyone else’s biases, so here you go:

    “Ad hominem tu quoque (lit: “You too!”) refers to a claim that the source making the argument has spoken or acted in a way inconsistent with the argument. In particular, if Source A criticizes the actions of Source B, a tu quoque response is that Source A has acted in the same way. This argument is fallacious because it does not disprove the argument; if the premise is true then Source A may be a hypocrite, but this does not make the statement less credible from a logical perspective. Indeed, Source A may be in a position to provide personal testimony on the negative consequences of the stated action.”

    Barry’s post is also an example of retrospective determinism…ie “because something happened it was bound to happen.”

    “Of course BP acted with gross negligence. But what did you expect? Americans are oil pigs after all. This was bound to happen!”

    Additionally, “Barry and the Brits” (sounds like a late 1960s band that would be to the Monkeys, what the Monkeys were to The Beattles) unwittingly succumb to the Orwell notion of Antinomianism…A type of lawlessness. “Americans are oil pigs, so anything goes. The vilification of BP, therefore is unfair and hypocritical.”

    Finally, the Brits and Barry create a warped form of the special pleading fallacy: “Sure, BP has the responsibility to exercise caution and due care. But if BP is conducting operations in a zone where many inhabitants drive SUVs, then those responsibilities shall be relaxed. ”

    In the words of Casey Kasem:

    “Fucking ponderous, man. Fucking ponderous.”

    Moderate that. Bitch.

  91. You are making this more complex than it is.

    We Americans demand cheap energy, and lots of it. When problems associated with fulfilling that demand arise, we totally ignore our own role in the saga.

    It is that simple.

    Hey, I’m guilty. I have a small mechanized fleet of high powered machinery. All I need is a few F14s and some sparrow missiles and I can invade NJ.

    But the point I was trying to make (and was widely ignored by most) was that the Brits calling Americans hypocritical is not an unfair criticism. What I was doing with this post was trying to at least admit my complicity . . . you want to pretend that your demand is irrelevant, go ahead.

    I am many things — including an energy hog — but a hypocrite ain’t one of them.

  92. [...] to see how much we rely on oil and how difficult it will be for us to reduce our consumption.h/t: The Big PictureThis website uses IntenseDebate comments, but they are not currently loaded because either your [...]

  93. Transor Z says:

    This is not hard to understand for people who are engaged in good-faith discussion.

    Lack of risk management in energy production makes the Talebs of the world rich. With each oil spill disaster we see, first and foremost, lack of preparedness on the part of companies and governments. Not enough miles of booms, distant (or nonexistent) remediation resources. This is a pattern.

    What it means is that the obvious — and predictable — downside risk (i.e., potential liability for the occasional spill cleanup) has not been priced into the product. To the extent that it may be appropriate to socialize risk (and yes, IMO a good argument can be made for this), the lack of gov’t resources makes it plain that no money or planning has been committed on the public side, either. The oil company is not properly insured to the full extent of its exposure. If it were, premium price would be reflected in oil price and insurers would require greater levels of safety and remediation preparedness at oil companies to minimize their risk — or they very well might not provide insurance at all.

    So we know that’s not happening.

    Instead, the public-private interaction is a collusive see/hear/speak no evil approach to the inevitability of occasional disasters. And, to the extent that the American public/consumer/voter has been bought off (or allowed themselves to be bought off) by cheap energy and the benefits of participation in the world’s largest economy, this is where the blame comes in. The energy wouldn’t be nearly as cheap with appropriate risk management standards in place.

    It’s not rocket science.

  94. McJimbo says:

    I like the Tiger Penis analogy better.

  95. Nic says:

    The Bhopal disaster is supposed to be the worlds worst environmental disaster so far … 15,0o0 people dead to date (per wiki). American company, Indian subcontractors. But it Bhopal it was the Indian subcontractors who bore most of the brunt of the blame and no one ran around blaming “America”.
    Two decades later compensation claims are still pending in American courts, the clean-up by UC makes BP look like Greenpeace in comparison but no one talks about it.
    I guess its different when its poor people and not right on your beach.

  96. bear_in_mind says:

    @TransorZ: Well said.

    Haven’t seen it mentioned elsewhere here but per oil industry veteran, Matt Simmons, BP made the brilliant strategic decision to self-insure:

    “BP was so certain that there wasn’t any risk that three years ago they thought the insurance industry was ripping them off, so they’re self-insured on this. How stupid! It was the best thing that ever happened to the insurance industry.”

    Talk about lack of risk-management and preparedness.

    SOURCE:
    CNN Money
    Interview by Nin-Hai Tseng, reporter
    June 9, 2010: 1:31 PM ET
    http://money.cnn.com/2010/06/09/news/companies/simmons_gulf_oil_spill.fortune/index.htm

  97. Fredbela says:

    Really, China has less consumption per capita than the world average?

  98. Transor Z says:

    @bear:

    Excellent point. Disintermediation (i.e., dissing the financial intermediaries/insurers through self-insurance, use of captives, etc.) has been going on for a few years now, although it hasn’t been well tracked. There are a lot of reasons for this trend, some legit, some not so much. We still do a decent amount of personal injury here in Mass. and the interesting thing is that self-insureds are exempt from a major consumer protection statute against bad-faith claims practices. I haven’t done a study of it, more anecdotal, but my sense is that self-insurance gets around a lot of regulation and (just guessing) probably gets audited differently than commercial insurers do. I’d be interested to know what kinds of shareholder disclosures self-insureds need to make and what (if any) certifications are legally required as to risk management when they’re doing it all in-house, so to speak.

    Maybe someone with direct knowledge of self-insurance in regulatory context could chime in.

  99. The Spill, The Scandal and the President

    The inside story of how Obama failed to crack down on the corruption of the Bush years – and let the world’s most dangerous oil company get away with murder