The tyranny of oil 

by A. Autino

Oil dispersion in the Indian Ocean (SIR-C/X-SAR, Space Radar Images of Earth)

The ignition of terrorist focuses in Saudi Arabia, by Al Qaeda terrorists, thros new light on the current conflict, which has risen to a planetary dimension since September 11th 2001. The true goals of such jihadist groups -- in which many see ideological and religious motivations, opposed to the capitalistic western model -- are becoming clearer nowadays. There are no American "invaders" in Saudi Arabia. There is, instead, an oil family, the Saudi monarchy, with which the Bin Laden's "cosca" entertains relationships of feud, a normal high financial business relation, in short. How does this history mesh with the Bush' family and with the western oil lobbies? It looks as if Michael Moore's movie, recent winner of the gold palm at the Cannes festival, with the Fahreneit 9/11 documentary, gives on the subject numerous and substantial information. It will be perhaps impossible to extricate the truth, what is for sure the collapse of the ideological castle built by the contenders three years ago: to fight against the capitalistic "Satan" on one side, and to free the world from Saddam Hussein the tyrant and from his (unexistent) mass destruction weapons, on the other side. 

Relying on such nice stories the planet has fallen into a regressive military spiral, from which it appears today very difficult to escape. The world economy, already harshly tried by the explosion of the new economy bubble, and devastated in continuous by a strategic direction based upon the financial engineering, has suffered a further crash, thanks to the creeping world conflict, which sketches a very dark future with no peaceful commerce or expanding economies in sight. What are therefore the perspectives? Are we lead by monsters which will fall the planet in a dreadful conflict, regressive over every possible imagination, for their exclusive personal interest and delirium of greatness? 

I never believed in the theories of the conspirations. The monster, if it exists, doesn't have one only head. The monster has so many heads, far from agreement among themselves. Furthermore, the monster, more than of people, is composed by political-economic structures, public and private bureaucracies self-maintaining (and no bipolar majority system will never really succeed in dismantling them). It has solid roots in our comfortable society, and it draw its budgets from perfectly reasonable, and even "sustainable", programs. The monster feeds itself by old ideologies and false metaphysics: any rag of flag, better if ragged and without real perspectives, is of use for maintaining the economic power, and for stopping the technological development, that would bring to obsolescence different "cows to be milked" and promote new dawning stars. 

Why does the monster use worn-out and obsolete ideological flags? Meanwhile because a true modern ideology, output of up-to-date social analysis, would risk to conquer the most intelligent and alert part of the society, and therefore to uncover and to dissolve the monster itself. The ideological ghosts (as socialism and vetero-industrialist capitalism) and the regressive metaphysics (as the green one), they are very more convenient: they attract a good number of gullible people, and they make enough confusion. In the confusion -- Mao Tse Tung also told it ("great it is the confusion under the sky, the situation is excellent") -- the various ringleaders always had good hands in recruiting their gangs and to boss around on the various feuds. 

Well, paradoxically, we should almost thank Mr. Bin Laden & co., to finally have attacked in Saudi Arabia! This turns on a million watt floodlight on the whole story: the true problem is the oil. Well, I already hear a choir of, "Queen Anne's dead!", by the ones who always know everything, always impatient, facing the amazement and the discoveries. Obviously this is no news (we have also written about it, on TdF, please see "USA-IRAK: a commercial war", and also "More than 110 million Terrestrials demonstrated for peace. Let's break the monopolies! Let's privatize the oil sector!"): the novelty is that today it is very much clearer than before, to the world public opinion, the ordinary voters, who can choose new political directions, at least in the countries where parliamentary democracy still exist, however defective this system might be. Even more urgent would be therefore the birth of a true political alternative, but this is another problem. 

The speculative upsurge of the oilí price, in this 2004 summer, subsequently shows the extreme criticality of the energy problem. All the experts foresee an increasing demand of energy and raw resources. China, in phase of industrialization, characterized by a two figures growth and India, that follows closely, are draining the energetic resources and raw materials world wide. Btw, such fact was foreseen by the Prof. Carlo Rubbia almost ten years ago (please also see Beeyond the limits of the development). It begins therefore to appear, in its whole dramaticity, the problem of the finiteness of the resources of our (by now unic) planet. It almost seems a boasting to remember that on this site, since 1997, we have written"The world is over", humanity needs other world. We written, in fact, that two thirds of the humanity cannot develop anymore, unless we open the world, and we access the resources of the solar system. Today the commentators of the daily news report the opinions of the experts: the resources of the planet won't be enough, for the economic growth of the Asian continent. The alternative appears therefore very clear, for the ones who want to see it: a gigantic conflict among East and West, or the search for other resources, different from those (finite) of our planet. 

Two are the most virulent and regressive monsters, which stop the development of our civilization and can therefore destroy it in a regressive spiral with no return: the self-targeted financial engineering and the total energetic world dependence from oil. About the end of the industrial age we have written a lot, on TdF (see e.g. "An analogue and human Millennium is born", and "The Electronic Society looking for new political points of reference"), to underline the passage to the electronic age, and the connected social changes. On the phase of the financial engineering we didn't yet write, but it will be worth writing about it. I hold this one to be a less structural phenomenon, that could easily be swept away, as soon as some new line of true industrial development manifests itself (and the space economy appears very promising, from this point of view, provided that it succeeds in seeing the light of day). 

As to the oil, instead, the discourse is very different. It is true that the age of its obsolescence started a long time ago, when general public opinion became aware of the finiteness of the combustible mineral resources of this planet. But such a phase is preannounced long and terrible, full of danger, including the total risk, a mad and foolish "let Samson die with all the Philistines". The greatest and devastating danger, against which it is necessary to fight without any spare. What is saddest, is that the oil emperors do not seem even to think about reinvesting their enormous accumulated patrimonies in new energetic technologies: these gentlemen still prefer to invest in corruption, conflicts, military solutions, everything, if only delay their unavoidable end. 

Nowadays the oil lobbies are bringing bad times to the whole planet, dominating, uncontested, local governments and economies. Some sample? Let's take the so-called ecology. Since some decades some organizations are active, financed by (if not even created by) the oil lobbies, that use to criminalize the citizens and to induce in them an endemic and devastating sense of guilt. The citizens are forbidden to bathe, even in apnea, with an underwater fishing rifle, in the many sea "natural parks". The oil-tankers are not forbidden to wash their cisterns in the sea, offshore that same naturalistic sanctuaries, on whose rock-cliffs the black sludge is cumulating, year after year. Every few years an awful ecological disaster occurs (please see, on TdF, "The culture of the safety", and "A not exhaustive calendar of the biggest disasters occurred since 1970 up to today"). Have you ever seen the Green Peace's rafts make carousels around the oil-tankers? Have you ever heard the WWF's gurus flinging themselves against the killers of the sea environment? Evidently no: and this is the decisive test of their enslavement. 

The oil tyrants know very well that all the so-called alternatives energetic sources (eolian, terrestrial solar photovoltaic, etc.), put together, can never provide in quantitative terms a supply neither distantly comparable to the one of oil (until it will last). Thus the propaganda for the alternative sources is fully harmless, towards the empire of the burnable oils. The nuclear power, instead, has been fought as the devil, in every forms, since it represented a true alternative, at least from the quantitative point of view, even if the safety factor still presents big uncertainities. It is also to consider that the suppressive decisions of the nuclear power were taken, in several countries, under the emotional wave followed to the Chernobyl's disaster, and that the soviet nuclear technology represents the lowest point of the culture of reliability and safety: it would be enough, alone, to sanction the total ideological failure of the so-called real socialism. 

Hydrogen power could have been developed, instead, more than thirty years ago, as well as the technology of the orbital fully reusable launch vehicles. Such two technologies were fought by other weapons: silence and shelving. Treating about expensive searches and (at least up to some time ago) needing great structures, it was not difficult to make pressure on the governments, in order to avoid that such searches receive the necessary funds. 

Hydrogen and solar power from space are the technologies able to solve the problem for millennia to come, therefore the more "dangerous" for those people that, obstinately, keep on looking low, in the subsoil, rather than to aim high, to the open spaces and to the endless universe. But also other technologies, almost furtively developed, here and there on the planet, represent partial alternatives, even though with a shorter horizon. Brazil, for instance, produces the big part of the fuel for internal combustion engines from the sugar reed. If it was introduced on the market, such fuel could contribute to cover big part of the demand for automotive mobility, at planetary level. Would not it be more reasonable to negotiate with Brazilians, giving besides to the "Cono Sur" of America a mighty chance of development? 

Why, then, do we send our boys to die, to kill, and to civilly regress, in a foolish military confrontation with the Arabic world? Frankly I am not so interested to know it, considering that I am not animated by revenge aims: I am very much more interested to the possible alternatives, and that the insufficient political directions leave the field, allowing the good willing people to work. The true question, that both the post-industrial societies and the emerging ones should answer, is the following: are we indeed forced to a military confrontation with the Arabic world, to contend the remaining combustible mineral resources? The answer, even before to make the exact computation of "who will benefit" from the different choices is a NO, loud and clear and definitive! 

As I write in another article, facing this same matter from another point of view ("A corpse is not a good customer!"), who is technologically superior has always an alternative and we (technologically advanced societies) have it. Perhaps it will not last for a long time, but we have it. 

When a wife and an husband arrived to throw dishes in head one each-other, shall we advise them to continue until one of the two will kill the other? Shouldn't they rather separate themselves, and apply their intelligence to other worther engagements? 

Let's detach the contact, while we are in time. Not from the many reasonable people aiming to progress: they also exist and perhaps they are the majority in Irak, as elsewhere. Let's disengage from the oil energetic dependence. If the qaedist terrorism is the expression of an Arabic society worried about the obsolescence of its own source of wealth, and ideologically so poor not to see alternatives, perhaps to detach the contact won't resolve in toto the problem of the terrorism, but it will be essential to damp the iraki conflict, that risks to stretch itself to the whole region. The problem of the defense against the terrorist attacks can be solved by improving the safety systems, the technologies for detecting and neutralize the explosives, developing weapon systems able to discover and to immobilize the terrorists without killing neither damage the people permanently. 

The struggle against the ideology that supports terrorism is, instead, a cultural problem, that can be solved ethically aiming very much higher, and abandoning the bleak regressive practices of killing and torture. To open the space frontier, to develop the solar power from space and the hydrogen power, to begin the space economy, it will bring a formidable economic, cultural and scientific development. A phase of unprecedented increasing economy will allow the development of the civilization, softening the conflicts, favoring the liberty and the ethical growth. This, and only this, will make so that, also in the Arabic world, the good willing people, aiming to liberty and democracy -- universal values -- can become majority, and to conquer the chance to govern and to develop themselves in peace. It is because of this that, though disagreeing with the militarist politics of Mr. Bush, I greeted with great interest his Moon-Mars Program. The challenge of a new space race, launched by China and India by one side, and the end of the X-Prize contest from another, make the space program and the US engagement of extreme actuality: even if Mr. Kerry had to win the elections, it will not be possible for him to drive back. 

[English version was revised by Michael Martin-Smith]

[017.AA.TDF.2004 - 19.06.2004]