Jul 14

We Are All Going to Die and This Time I Mean It!

We Are All Going to Die and This Time I Mean It!

by Mary Cooper

We are all going to die a horrible death! The end is near; bird flu will kill us all, a super strain of bacteria resistant to all antibiotics is about to strike, an asteroid will collide with the Earth in 2009 and kill us all. This is what we are told over and over again in the news, but none of these predicted events have occurred. Throughout time, people have repeatedly predicted that we were all going to die, yet we are still here.

Panic is always over rated and needless. One of the best examples of overhyped panic is peak oil. Even today, many people are afraid that we are running out of oil and will soon have to return to a pre-industrial agrarian society, which will of course lead to the deaths of billions. These fear mongers claim we have reached peak oil production and are currently running out, but history demonstrates over and over again that these fears are absurd. Going back to the 1920s, the United States government was afraid that we were going to run out of oil in the few decades. This fear led people to search for and discover significantly larger supplies of oil than we had ever imagined in the United States and other countries. During the 1970s oil embargo, talk of running out of oil returned, only to dissipate again after other supplies of oil and more efficient cars decreased the use of gas in the average automobile. Despite the fact that oil continues to be discovered, people continue to spread fear of running out, as seen in this melodramatic 2011 academic paper entitled “Peak Oil and the Fate of Humanity.”

Without doubt, there is a finite amount of oil on the Earth, but doomsday predictors always fail in their predictions because they fail to understand supply and demand. When oil is cheap people utilize it. As more people utilize oil, the demand for it increases, supply in the market decreases, and the price of this commodity goes up. The increase in price motivates oil companies to search for more oil, since the increase in the price makes the quest for oil profitable. When additional oil is found, the supply increases, demand decreases, and prices decrease in the market.
This pattern of limited supply spurring a search for an increase in supplies will always ensure that we will never be destroyed nor run out of oil. Even if the supply of oil became incredibly low, the price of oil would increase to such a height that alternative fuels would become cheaper and adopted in the place of oil. We already see this occurring in the United States as public transportation vehicles switch to biofuel and natural gas.

The future is not dark; there is plenty of fuel to light up tomorrow. Do not believe the doomsday prophets; they have no idea what will happen and do not understand supply and demand.


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