Have you ever watched The Beverly Hillbillies? The American sitcom broadcast on CBS from 1962 to 1971 featured an impoverished, backwoods family who relocates from the Ozark mountains in Oklahoma to Beverly Hills, California after discovering a vast oil field on their property.
Although Jed Clampett’s story is fictional and created to be a comedy, the premise is based on reality. Oil has made many people, corporations, countries, and even entire regions rich—very rich.
The Great Kingmaker
Consider a couple of entities who have—in real life—made untold fortunes from oil. John D. Rockefeller, considered by many to be the “father of American oil”, could very well be the richest man to ever walk the earth. His fortune is worth nearly 3x Jeff Bezos’ net worth in today’s dollars, according to OilPrice.com.
Many countries in the Middle East are famously wealthy because of their abundant supply of oil and natural gas.
While deployed at a U.S. base in Qatar, a small country next to Saudi Arabia, my daughter had the opportunity to visit the City Center Mall in Doha. This mall is the largest in the region and holds five shopping levels, several bowling alleys, an ice-skating rink, a lazy river running through it with a water park, a gaming area, and an indoor amusement park!
An abundance of affordable energy is critical for any civilized society. In addition to providing revenue from exports, oil and gas enable manufacturing which, in turn, drives food production, the distribution of clean water, new construction, transportation, and innovations in health care—just for starters.
Gas and oil production has served as a kingmaker for many countries elevating them from “developing nation” status to highly industrialized, financially stable, and prosperous countries.
Israel, the one place in the Middle East thought to be void of oil and other natural resources, discovered over 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in 2010, estimated to be worth over $95 billion. Since this time, Israel has continued to set new profit records from exports each year, elevating its clout in the region.
Venezuela, throughout the 1960s and 1970s, held the title of Latin America’s richest country and one of its longest-running democracies. The World Bank ranked it as an upper-middle-income economy, largely from revenue generated from the export of oil.
In 2018, the United States achieved energy independence—and even energy dominance—by moving away from “alternative” energy sources and towards promoting energy development. Domestic production skyrocketed, and imports dropped steadily during this period, according to Investor’s Business Daily.
Not coincidently, the US economy earned its highest ratings at the end of 2019 in nearly 20 years.
“Overall, 76% rate economic conditions in the US today as very or somewhat good… This is the highest share to say the economy is good since February 2001,” Grace sparks of CNN reported on December 20, 2019.
The Downhill Slide
In contrast, drastically reducing energy production creates devastating effects for a nation’s citizens. When energy production slows, manufacturing slows, transportation hits the brakes, and food production stops. Prices for consumer goods soar out of control.
Currently, the island country of Cuba is suffering from energy shortages. The power is only on for one hour a day. One hour a day! Cubans have always struggled under Castro’s totalitarian regime since the 1960s, but things are getting much worse.
A source living in Cuba confirmed that there is no bread on the shelves because the government-run bakeries bake it at night. No power equates to no bread and equals starvation for underdeveloped economies.
Venezuela serves as another cautionary tale. In the 1990s their government took over all means of oil production and banned private industries. Oil production plummeted and revenue from exports dried up. A country that once experience great prosperity—was plunged into poverty seemingly overnight, Reuters reported.
Germany is headed toward an economic disaster as energy prices soar. Just last week Russia—the country that provides 50% of Europe’s gas and oil—announced that they will stop supplying oil to Germany indefinitely, citing maintenance issues on its Nord Stream 1 pipeline (Forbes, 2022).
Much closer to home, California residents are being asked to not charge their electric cars to conserve energy. This plea came two days after the state announced that it plans to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035.
Likewise, owners of Smart Homes in Colorado woke up last week to discover that their thermostats were locked at 78 degrees or above—while the temperature outside rose above 90 degrees.
These families had enrolled in a “voluntary” program with energy company, Xcel. The customers receive $100 in exchange for turning over the control of their AC systems in order to save energy.
We Need Fossil Fuels for Survival
Our political leaders in the United States have understood for decades that fossil fuels are vitally essential for the quality of life of all civilized society. After all, this is the reason we entered the Gulf War.
“Although alternative reasons were given at the time, most experts agree that the Gulf War was the first conflict fought exclusively over oil,” Dr. David Jeremiah explains in his 2008 book, What in the World is Going On?
The bottom line is that civilization cannot survive without fossil fuel—and every politician in the world understands this.
Is it possible that our leaders are lying to us about “renewable energy”? Of course, they are. And I’ll prove it next week. Stay tuned!
Photo credit: Andrew Barclay