Friday, June 4, 2010

This is not Obama's Katrina

It's his Dust Bowl.

Once upon a time America was based heavily on agriculture, but by the 1930s was transitioning to manufacturing. Similarly, we are in a transition from oil-based manufacturing to a service economy, though still based on oil.

But perhaps not. The dust bowl drove millions of small farmers off their land and into distant cities where they sought non-farming work. This paved the way for industrial agriculture as small-scale farming became unprofitable and the former farmers found alternatives. We may see a similar shift. Unsustainable land use faded (though obviously not completely). Hopefully the same will happen with oil use. This could be the start of a green economy, whatever that means. Makes a great buzzword though.

The poorest and most vulnerable are the ones hit worst by the disaster, those who work directly off the land, or water. The fishermen of the gulf are losing their harvests, and the water in which they would fish, to the oil. Will this trigger a similar exodus? It is likely. But where will they go? A recession is not a very good time for hundreds of thousands of unemployed people to attempt to migrate into other occupations.

Both disasters were made by humanity. Well, the Dust Bowl was a combination of drought and poor farming techniques. It didn't help that the plains weren't naturally the best place for farming. Similarly the drilling was a man-made disaster, made worse by the location so deep.

2 comments:

Che said...

You mentioned a big difference between the Dust Bowl and the BP disaster, millions of small farmers lost their way of life, but millions wont' lose their jobs to this. Maybe a lot, but not nearly at the same scope. I feel bad for those this disaster affects, but it's not as widesperad "yet" as the Dust Bowl.

I'm not convinced that we're any closer to independence from oil, there are so many uses for petrolium (used in the making of just about all plastics still). More importantly, there is SO MUCH money to be had in the oil industry, I don't believe that those in power will go quietly into the green night.

So far this is Obama's BP, and how long this leak persists may affect his reelection hopes. I saw an interview last Sunday where one from his Cabinent said "the government has been in control of the situation from the start". I know they are trying to show strength, but if this gets bad, and I mean really bad, imagine how that one phrase will backfire on the administration.

Not that I care, I hate all politicians anyway, we should be ruled by Queen Elizabeth, she seems so nice, doesn't she?

p.s.(I hate the term "green economy", it's a buzzword, yes, but it's stupid and NO politician will pursuade me with such meaningless talk).

Klepsacovic said...

The scope is smaller, this is certainly true. The recession is smaller too. I guess Obama is in the 'lite' version of the 1930s. I wonder who will be Hitler lite.

Re: Queen Elizabeth: Reagan was a very nice man.