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Martenson Interviews Khosla Ventures: The US Is Massively Underfunding The Innovations Critical To Its Energy Future

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Khosla Ventures: The US is Massively Underfunding the Innovations Critical to Its Energy Future

"The age of cheap oil is over," agrees Andrew Chung, partner at Khosla Ventures, arguably the most knowledgeable venture capital firm spearheading next-generation energy projects.

While perhaps more optimistic than Chris on the odds that the world can transition off fossil energy sources without experiencing some duration of lower overall energy output, Andrew is clear to point out that large and near-term capital investments are essential for such a smooth transition.

The size and scale of the investments necessary to evolve and replace our existing (and increasingly outdated) power infrastructure are enormous, and too big for private companies alone to address the issue on an acceptable timeline.

And as of now, the U.S. is decidedly NOT treating the matter with the urgency it deserves. Of the total U.S. budget, the Department of Energy receives only 8%; and only 0.1% of the total budget is directed to the alternative technologies we hope will one day replace our fossil-based sources. By contrast, China alone is dedicating $800 billion over the next ten years to help support the development and commercialization of alternative technologies and cleantech.

In the coming decades, the efficient and effective use of energy is going to be a real determinant between winners and loser across the global landscape. Affordable, sustainable energy will increasingly determine the prosperity of world powers -- and America is at a growing relative disadvantage until it starts talking honestly with itself about the un-sustainability of its current energy policies and prioritizing its resources (both monetary and human) accordingly.

Despite these concerns, Andrew and Khosla have a lot of optimism for the impact new technological innovations will have in addressing the energy challenge -- a number of which are discussed in this interview. And they encourage companies, capital and workers to enter the sector, as demand for expertise and solutions will be high for a very long time. And the future price of NOT investing ourselves wholeheartedly at this time is unacceptably dear.

On the End of the Age of "Cheap Oil"

I think that the scarcity of oil -- hitting Peak Oil -- and the increasing cost of being able to extract and discover new oil deposits is making it more and more costly. And importantly, the demand for energy and oil is going up dramatically with a lot of the emerging countries like China and India just exploding in demand as the countries develop into more urban economies.


If you look at the demand for electricity and energy in China, that has gone up tenfold over a period of about 15-20 years. India has gone up about fivefold, whereas the U.S. has only doubled in that period of time. So you can see that with these emerging economies being very aggressive in their domestic growth, the demand for oil and the demand for electricity is just going to go up dramatically and that is going to make the cost of oil at a minimum, stable, if not going up over time.

On the Obsolescence of the U.S. Energy Grid

We are looking at an energy infrastructure that is 40-50 years old. If you have ever been to an actual power plant or looked at the inside of a transformer substation, it is a spaghetti of wires that was designed in an era where we don’t have the computing capability and the circuitry and so forth that we have today.


So a lot of the initiatives right now are really around making the software on the backside much more up to date. The sensing capability, like the smart grid and smart meters that you would have at your home, and then adding additional infrastructure like storage capability that did not exist in a cost-effective form 10 or 15 years ago -- or even, frankly, two years ago.  So, there is a lot of opportunity over time to upgrade that infrastructure in a massive way to make more efficient use of the energy generation that we have right now. 

On the New Energy Arms Race

It is going to be difficult for the market to solve the problem alone without government intervention and capital dollars, just because of the massive scale of the problem. If you look at manufacturing, whether it is solar panels, or producing biofuel, manufacturing LEDs -- these are all large manufacturing businesses that if you want to even scratch the surface on the amount of energy that we need, fuel that we need, it requires substantial, substantial investments.


When you are talking about the scales that you need to reach in order to make a real difference, again sources of capital can really help here  I think the government needs to really help support and foster these types of technologies so that promising entrepreneurs and promising startups don’t get lost in a private capital-unfriendly environment today. China, as you mentioned, is really trying to lead the way here, in a very aggressive way.They already are number one today in terms of the amount of capital that they are committing to alternative energy sources, electricity production, and fuels production. In their most recent announcement on their next five-year plan, they are essentially pledging $80 billion every year for the next ten years to help support the development and commercialization of alternative technologies and cleantech.  That is a massive number: $800 billion that is being committed over a period of a decade to do this.


If you look back at what we were doing in Washington just several years ago with the stimulus package, there was a lot of excitement and strain and stress about putting several tens of $billions into the stimulus package for various types of renewable energy, energy infrastructure improvement. Today, some of that money has gone out, some of it may not get fully deployed.  Then, with a lot of negativity in the press today, a lot of the folks in Washington are actually pulling back a bit in terms of their support of the clean technology ecosystem. So, if you think about us putting the brakes on a relatively modest level of investment in clean technology and you compare that to what China is doing and other countries are doing (there are a number of countries in Europe, for example, that are investing a significant amount per capita in clean technology), it just puts us at a disadvantage relative to the long-term viability of scaling up alternative technologies in the U.S.

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Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:06 | 2324479 Melin
Melin's picture

A complete separation of economy and state is the only path to liberty.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:16 | 2324499 LetThemEatRand
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Of course, because the government in the form of collective action of the people has never contributed to the economy.  Except the interstate highway system, the space program (all modern telecommunications, satelites, GPS etc exist because of the Socialist space program), the internet, etc.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:30 | 2324529 economics9698
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Everything you cited came from private companies and private enterprise with the exception of the highway system, and building a highway is not rocket science.

We could easily privatize the highway system, tomorrow.

We do need new governments that have a separation of state and economy amendment to the constitution like many of the founding fathers fought for.

Any asshole in government can sit on his or her ass and tell a company I will pay you billions if you can do xyz.  How much fucking brains does that take?



Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:29 | 2324533 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Really, NASA is private?  If you mean that private companies were hired by the government which used public funds to create large projects like building rockets that would never have been started by private enterprise alone, what's your point? 

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:46 | 2324593 jmc8888
jmc8888's picture

(adding to the above)

The technologies of today were created in gov't programs like the space program.

Then NASA gave the tech and expertise to the private sector, and allowed the private sector to flourish.  (and like said above contract with private enterprise to do much of this stuff to begin with.) People forget how many PRIVATE workers lost their jobs (actual wealth creating jobs) when Nero shuttered the space program, confirming (once again) we are nothing more than monetarist idiots.


Set big goals, develop the science and tech to get over the hurdles, then that tech is spun off into the private sector.  People don't want to admit this is superior because they are still hammered with the propaganda that makes the case that this doesn't happen, never happened, and thus cannot don't try.  I call those people sheeple, listening to their oligarchical masters who value paper over their lives.

Without NASA doing this, YOU DON"T GET APPLE, MICROSOFT, etc, etc.

Hell you don't even get the tech boom, because there'd be no tech industry.  So the monetarists even based an entire bubble, just off the scraps of NASA...and people still don't realize how powerful the physical economic focus approach is?  If NASA's scraps were good enough for an enitre bubble, based off only a small sliver of what NASA did, what would a fully funded space program which realizes, specficially, the physcial economic expansion capable by a long term program to dwarf what NASA did in the 50's and 60's?  People again forget that by the time we were landing people on the moon, we had already been dismantling the Saturn V program for over a year.  Imagine had we continued onward from 1968 through the present? Here's a hint, you'd have computers today probably thirty years ahead of where we are, for starters.

Well seeing how we don't have NASA now, not really, it's pretty obvious where the next tech will come won't.  Or from places like China, so get ready to bend over.  Because the monetarists played their game, and everybody lost...but hey, at least no one could call you a .......enter idiot word here.  But that's all YOU got.  You weren't incorrectly ragged on by the idiot kid with a running nose that you feared in school...but on the adult level.  What a trade off.  You sold your future for no reason.


Impeach Obama (here's why)



American Credit System


Then use that credit uttering, FOUNDING FATHER, conduit to fund these programs.  Then and only then will you get the next breakthroughs.  Monetarists are too busy playing with their paper money to do anything real. 

It's amazing people how far things have been much so..that there are those who claim to be patriots, yet they are completely ignorant of the economics our founding fathers instilled.  It was a CREDIT system.  Not British monetarism. 

Ideologically speaking, we've been recolonized.  The system that was so successful for us....we've decided to ditch it.

Well, we're reaping what we sow.  Or decided not to.  Yet idiots still can't understand it.


The private sector can branch off into new arenas as well, but the base starts with a concerted effort to overcome a problem with a gov't program.  From there private business takes off.

Only propaganda swilling sheeple still believe otherwise (remember, this has been the lie the oligarch has told you for a long, long would think people would have waken up to this sometimes over the last 3 or so years).  Apparently people missed it.  Now you have no excuse.  Continue to support the monetarist way.  Or switch back to being an American who consents to the superiority of the American principle.  Your choice, just don't dare call monetarism, american.  It isn't.

Without NASA, Steve Jobs, might as well have been Blow Jobs.  I'm sure he wouldv'e been personally succesful, but would he have found his niche to be transformational? You decide.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 15:25 | 2324880 OpenThePodBayDoorHAL
OpenThePodBayDoorHAL's picture

Seems to me we already have colossal state-supported industries that spin off tons of innovation and corporate profits. The problem is that the innovations are all new ways to kill goat herders on the other side of the planet.

Wouldn't it be better if we spent the same amount supporting innovation in ways to feed, clothe, house, transport, and take care of people? Instead of just murdering them.

I mean, duh.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 16:39 | 2324984 economics9698
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jmc8888 is full of crap.  When we divert money that would be used in the private sector to create sustainable jobs and goods that the people want it retards economic development.

Saying we morons could not invent the internet without Al Gore is beyond stupid.  When these statist understand that government creates nothing and private enterprise would advance MORE without the bureaucrats siphoning off the best talent to work on the war machine disguised as NASA we will all live better.

These fucking brainwashed morons bug me.  Make me want to smack their ignorant ass to the ground.

Like I said any monkey can sit on their ass and ask company abc to produce xyz for x amount of money.  If we got rid of government there would be more spectacular technological breakthroughs, not less.  When the best and the brightest get millions they get fat, dumb, and lazy.  Its called bureaucracy. 

Let that talent loose in the private sector and our standard of living would expand exponentially.

And the fucking moron doesn't even understand economics.  Blaming Glass-Steagall for anything is like blaming icebergs for the Titanic.  No asshole it wasn't the iceberg it was the fucking captain you stupid moron.



Sat, 04/07/2012 - 17:19 | 2325025 Max Fischer
Max Fischer's picture



Total garbage. 

Take something as simple as the interstate system.  Building the interstate is not difficult, so you're right.... any monkey/handy libertarian with a few Caterpillar machines can move some dirt around.  However, FUNDING the interstate system is another matter entirely.  At a cost of well over $400,000,000,000 ($400 billion) and decades to build, this is NOT a project for private enterprise. What company or group of individuals would tackle that project and expect a ROI of some sort? 

Some things require the government to help fund, whether your libertardian brain can understand that or not.    

Max Fischer, Civis Mundi

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 17:43 | 2325060 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

Therefore, we need to hand over a few more billions to scam companies like Solyndra. That will solve all our problems.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:06 | 2325094 Max Fischer
Max Fischer's picture



That's utterly retarded.  I never said anything remotely close to that, nor did I imply it. 

Do you have anything meaningful to add to the discussion, or is that the libertardian strategy - divert the conversation into the ditch with a strawman topic?  For every example of fraud or bad business decisions one finds in government, one could find equal numbers in private enterprise; bad business decisions are everywhere. 

Now, back to the topic.... what sort of private enterprise could handle a $400,000,000,000 project which takes decades to complete and has no opportunity for ROI?  Which libertardian VC group wants to tackle that? 

Max Fischer, Civis Mundi

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:30 | 2325137 Common_Cents22
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but batshit crazy liberal morons use the public roads example all the time to justify ridiculous taxpayer funded projects.   Apples and oranges.  We need some federal govt but just about 70% less than what we have now.

I chuckle when a city or state has a budget crisis and they announce they are doing "essential services" only.  WTF?  Why is govt doing anything more than "essential services"?    FAIL.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 19:22 | 2325214 LetThemEatRand
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So it's batshit crazy to respond to a poster that literally says we must make eliminate all government involvement in our economy with an extremely obvious example of why he is wrong?  That's like saying, "you damn math clowns are always bringing up the fact that 2+2 consistently equals 4, when someone says there is no such thing as certainty in mathematics."  If anyone wants to debate specific government programs that should be eliminated, that's an entirely different issue and one with which is worthy of discussion.  For example, much of the prison industrial complex needs to go.  Much of the military industrial complex needs to go.  The police state apparatus (homeland security) needs to be pared down to virtually nothing.  The Fed needs to go.  We need to stop spying on citizens and we need not to have hundreds of bases around the world.  And so on.  See how fun it is not to be simplisitic and black and white?  Many here just can't get over the fact that there is a valid role for government and that things like NASA and the interstate highway system really have added huge value to society and indeed humanity through what is correctly termed collectivism.  

As for "essential services," things like parks are not essential but they cost money.  If you don't like public parks you are either very wealthy and have your own land to play on, or you are a complete idiot who probably goes to public parks while complaining about non-essential services.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 19:30 | 2325228 economics9698
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I have worked on many multimillion dollar construction projects.  Roads could be privatized, and we would get better roads, tomorrow.  I know the subject very well.  Roads are bullshit easy.

As for NASA they bid out and draw up specs.  So fucking what?  So do I.  Any moron with a budget can do that.

We would live better lives and be more technologically advances without government interference in the marketplace at all levels, including space, which in case you did not notice is a monopoly.

All these ignorant brain fucked government morons telling you that without government you would not have a I-phone is pure 100% bullshit.  You would have a I-phone and another $10,000 in your pocket that they didn’t rip off from you.

We need gov. for defense, rule of law, and little else.


Sat, 04/07/2012 - 19:35 | 2325239 LetThemEatRand
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 NASA just bid out and drew up specs?  Have you been to any of the space centers that developed our space program?   And I'll ask you again -- if your theory were true, why is it that incompetent government beat out all of your private enterpise to do everything from roads to space to nuclear to internet?

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 19:42 | 2325243 economics9698
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Guns.  Government can hold a gun to people head and force them to give them money.

The first roads were private.  Computers private, everything private.  Government does not create anything.  They collect money and draw up a wish list, nothing more.  Been to NASA and worked for them.  



Sat, 04/07/2012 - 19:51 | 2325252 LetThemEatRand
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Really?  What gun did government to the head of all the private interstate highway developers to make them stop?  Do you really believe what you type?  Do you have a single real world example of a private entity that wanted to build an interstate highway and was stopped by the violence of the state?  Surely you do given how certain you are that this is what occurred.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 19:57 | 2325262 economics9698
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Ask something serious.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 20:07 | 2325276 LetThemEatRand
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Translation -- you have no answer.  Just platitudes and untested/wild theory.

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 01:01 | 2325619 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

And YOU were begging the question!  Why would any private highway building enterprise attempt to compete against the entity that gets as much capital as it needs (at the point of a gun from "taxpayers"), at NO risk and NO need for an ROI?  You're asking everyone to prove a negative, so go p!ss up a rope! 

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 19:37 | 2325241 economics9698
economics9698's picture

I guess the reason these government assholes telling people they need government or they would live in caves bugs me is because I have been the contractor to these lazy, stupid mother fuckers for years.  They write specs and cover their ass.  All the work and intelligence comes from the contractors who make it happen.  NASA, highways, anything the government is a extra layer of waste that could be eliminated.  In Florida we have private firms that build highways everyday.  You people need to get your head out of your ass and look who builds and creates and who rips off money, finds a excuse to spend it, and collects a check.

Government needs to shut the fuck up, provide a military, courts, cops, and get the fuck out of the way.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 19:48 | 2325248 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

I'm certainly glad that courts and cops can't be corrupted like the rest of government.

And whose way are we getting the fuck out of?  Seems to me that you just admitted that you make a living working for the fucking government.  So I guess we have established that you are a hypocrite and have no principles whatsoever.  Are you currently typing on your computer in a public park, too?  Or are you sitting on the toilet taking a shit into the public sewer?   One more time -- if private enterprise is so anxious to build roads with their own money instead of public money, why haven't they done it and blown away the incompetent government you describe?

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 19:52 | 2325254 economics9698
economics9698's picture

Contractor, not government.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 19:54 | 2325258 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

You said you are a contractor for the goverment.  That means the government is paying you, you fucking complete hypocrite.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 19:59 | 2325266 economics9698
economics9698's picture

It means I know more than you how useless these tits on a warthog really are.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 20:03 | 2325272 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Funny, I own my own business and I don't work for nor am I paid by the government.  Here you are, a fucking government contractor, telling me that government must be abolished.  It is so sad and pathetic I am at a loss for words.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 22:51 | 2325456 nmewn
nmewn's picture

What is this business you own, that you constantly bring up here LTER?

I picture you as a florist ;-)

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 23:24 | 2325485 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Not a government contractor!!!  HAHAHAHAHAHA

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 08:26 | 2325930 nmewn
nmewn's picture

The problem with not being honest and revealing yours...while haraunging someone elses that it begins to sound hollow.

I'll put you down as a florist in close proximity to government office buildings until told otherwise ;-)

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 20:30 | 2325297 Max Fischer
Max Fischer's picture





HYPOCRITE!!!!  So your income is totally dependent on the government, and here you are.... the loudest anti-government windbag on this website........

Typical tea-party libertarian hypocrite....  it's perfectly fine for you to take government checks, but not fine for everyone else.  


Max Fischer, Civis Mundi

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 21:39 | 2325381 nmewn
nmewn's picture

"Typical tea-party libertarian hypocrite..."


Well, this is a sweet little web of bullshit you and LTER are spinning here.

The "government" doesn't make asphalt or concrete or rebar or paint or trucks or earth movers...its all contracted out.

Show me these great >>>government factories<<< producing all these wonderful goods and I'll shut up. I'll even double down and say it won't be anytime soon.

Government has its tentacles in everything and you two think no one is immune from its grasp?

FYI...government takes from producers but produces nothing itself, it serves only as a funding mechanism by extracting wages from the productive. And even at that, it can't extract enough wages for the pie in the sky illusions it creates for the willfully ignorant to follow, so it borrows even more to feed itself and those illusions.

Fucking algae for fuel...really? Where is that government algae farm located so I can go fill up? Eighteenth century ideas like many golden eagles have to die by "regulation"? Solar panels, when the regulatory process for rare earth mining in the US takes ten years?

Here's an idea...lets have government set unreasonable goals and place substantive hurdles in the way to achieve the impossible goal and call it a day, that way there is always "the need". What a fucking racket.

While the US government and you two have masturbated over energy "ideas" and bridges to nowhere (since the 70's no doubt) France built nuke plants and is an energy exporter...thank you beloved US Dept of Energy.

Just think, the fucking French have more on the ball than either of

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 22:09 | 2325407 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Your basic argument has morphed from "government is bad" to "government funds things that we need but it is otherwise bad."  Is Economics9698 a producer or just a pure worhtless welfare boxing queen?   He gets paid by the government.  So he takes from me and claims to produce roads in exchange.  Is this a bad thing to anyone with more than 3 brain cells?   If I pay someone to do something that benefits all of us and that otherwise would not have been done, I have produced something yes?  I asked your buddy Economics to show me all of the private companies that were waiting in line to build public roads without government funding.  He had no answer.  Do you?  

Does it bother you to learn to that one of the biggest advocates of your point of view has been sucking off the government teat this whole time?  He probably posts on zero hedge while at work burning my tax dollars.  Ha!!

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 22:25 | 2325434 nmewn
nmewn's picture

"Your basic argument has morphed from "government is bad" to "government funds things that we need but it is otherwise bad."

My basic argument hasn't changed at all. You should know better than to set your false premises with me. Government is something that needs to be controlled at all times.

Do you agree its out of control now?...the answer only requires a yes or no.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 22:32 | 2325439 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Yes, Economics9698 is getting paid too much and has too much time on this hands!

So government is okay so long as it is funding big projects that benefit you personally?  Classic Rand hypocrisy.  I know, you won't admit it.  Nevermind mind, but I know and that's good enough for me tonight.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 22:42 | 2325451 nmewn
nmewn's picture

All I know is you couldn't answer a simple yes or no question.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 23:32 | 2325486 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Did you start being an idiot just here at ZH?  Yes or No.

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 08:31 | 2325939 nmewn
nmewn's picture

If you don't want to answer the very simple question just say so. Your last was an answer to a question not posed and this one nothing more than school yard nana nana poo

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 12:38 | 2326227 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

even tempers rise on Easter

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 13:36 | 2325663 Sanksion
Sanksion's picture

Why the hell a corporation would put upon itself a huge competitive disadvantage by refusing to be in line with the ALL MIGHTY COUNTERFEITED CAPITAL PROVIDER of this fucking planet ? WHY ? WHY ? WHY ? 

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 19:20 | 2325221 economics9698
economics9698's picture

Roads are easy.  Why is this example used?  Financing a road is not much different than a high rise.  Why is everyone so hung up on that?  Give me 50 guys who knew roads and I could build any road anywhere and finance it.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 19:33 | 2325236 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Roads are easy?  Is that why private enterprise was building the interstate system before government did?  Oh wait, they were not.  Do you have any idea how much commerce was aided by the interstate system?


How about NASA?  Was a private company developing rockets and satellites on its own before the government came in and coordinated/funded the effort?  

Manhattan project and the world changing industry that followed?

Seems to me that you have nothing but convenient and simplistic theory to back up your position, whereas I have fact.  Virtually everything you take for granted in our modern society was initially funded and made possible by collectivism.  The brilliance of our system is the combination of public money and will, and private business to make it happen.  You wish to throw away one side of th equation because your ideology is opposed to it despite massive evidence that the government side of the equation was a huge part of our country's success.   When you talk about what private industry could do on its own, you are suffering from "born on third base syndrome."  No, you did not hit a triple.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 19:45 | 2325246 economics9698
economics9698's picture

I advocate the complete, total, and full privatization of all roads, streets, highways, byways, avenues, and other vehicular thoroughfares. And I am serious about this, deadly serious.

This is so far off the radar of public-policy analysis and apart from the concerns of politicians, pundits, and commentators that few people will take it seriously. Do not be one of them. Your very life may be at stake. For over 40,000 people die on the nation's roadways every year, and you or a loved one might one day join this horrid list.

Do not be misled by the oft-made contention that the actual cause of highway fatalities is speed, drunkenness, vehicle malfunction, driver error, etc. These are only proximate causes. The ultimate cause of our dying like flies in traffic accidents is that those who own and manage these assets supposedly in the name of the public — the various roads bureaucrats — cannot manage their way out of the proverbial paper bag. It is they and they alone who are responsible for this carnage.

This does not mean that, were thoroughfares placed in private hands, the death toll would be zero. It would not. But, at least, every time the life of someone was tragically snuffed out, someone in a position to ameliorate these dangerous conditions  would lose money, and this tends, wonderfully, to focus the minds of the owners. This is why we do not have similar problems with bananas, baskets, and bicycles, or the myriad other goods and services supplied to us by a (relatively) free-enterprise system.

If the highways were now commercial ventures, as once in our history they were, and upward of 40,000 people were killed on them annually, you can bet your bottom dollar that Ted Kennedy and his ilk would be holding Senate hearings on the matter. Blamed would be "capitalism," "markets," "greed," i.e., the usual suspects. But it is the public authorities who are responsible for this slaughter of the innocents.

Is there anything of a practical nature that can be done to solve the problem in the short run? Probably not. But do not give up hope. Right before the decline and fall of communism in Russia and Eastern Europe, there were few who thought this scourge would soon be removed.

Another benefit of the present book is that it attempts to demonstrate the viability, efficaciousness, and, yes, morality, of the private-enterprise system, addressing a difficult case in point. If we can establish that private property and the profit motive can function even in "hard cases" such as roads, the better we can make the overall case on behalf of free enterprise.


The book is organized according to the following plan. The basic theory of privatization, specifically as applied to roadways, is put forth. The case on behalf of commercializing this sector of the economy is made on the basis of improving road safety and decreasing traffic congestion. Next, this theory is applied to a whole host of related issues, such as automobile insurance, holding parades on public streets, and immigration. Our present institutional arrangements are characterized as socialistic. Then, we assume as a given the goal of privatizing traffic arteries, and instead focus on the very complex process of getting to there from here: what are the problems of transition, how would the authorities move from a situation under their control to market determination, etc.? The next part of the book is given over to dealing with objections to the foregoing. Critiques are launched at several commentators, including Gordon Tullock, Lawrence White, Herbert Mohring, and Robert Poole. This book concludes with an interview conducted with me by several Canadian libertarians.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 20:01 | 2325269 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

"Do not be misled by the oft-made contention that the actual cause of highway fatalities is speed, drunkenness, vehicle malfunction, driver error, etc. These are only proximate causes. The ultimate cause of our dying like flies in traffic accidents is that those who own and manage these assets supposedly in the name of the public — the various roads bureaucrats — cannot manage their way out of the proverbial paper bag."

So everytime a driver falls asleep and crashes, it's the government's fault?  Every time a tire blows, it's the government's fault?  Everytime a car with shitty air bags and cheap seatbelts fails to protect the driver, it's the government's fault?  You are one serious ideological fuck.  I now see why your avatar is a boxer.  All you have in life is being a bully.  You were a bit short-changed in the intellect department.  Sorry I wasted so much time talking to you.

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 05:23 | 2325814 Cojock
Cojock's picture

We tried that here in the UK with the railways.

And guess what? The private owners squeezed maintenance and repairs so much that a train came off the rails at Potters Bar killing a bunch of people. 

So the government took the railways back into public ownership, and private operation.

Mind you, UK rail travel is now more expensive, and more heavily subsidised than it ever was before privatisation, but hey, that's progress, and good for economic the growth of the bank balances of the 1%.

There's no reason at all why infrastructure should not be held by a custodian on behalf of users generally - like the stock market come to that - and why public credit/stock  should not be created and issued to fund such infrastructure. 'Stock' was around long before banks and joint stock companies, by the way.

The private sector should simply do what it does best: ie efficiently allocate public credit to build public assets and to thereby create and operate public infrastucture, in accordance with guidelines and standards democratically set on behalf of the users.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 21:48 | 2325388 nmewn
nmewn's picture

"Manhattan project and the world changing industry that followed?"

I'll give you the Manhattan Project...for without it, my dad would have probably died street fighting in Tokyo. Now I'm alive to try and change the world.

Which should make you very happy, I know it does me ;-)

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 22:15 | 2325417 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

See any irony in the fact that you want to change the world to make sure another Manhattan project never happens?  No, probably not.  You guys don't see irony.  Too complex.  Not black and white.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 22:34 | 2325443 nmewn
nmewn's picture

I have never said I was a pacifist...the Manhattan Project was about winning a war.

Oh the complexity of irony ;-)

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 00:14 | 2325489 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

No, not that complicated.  You want to end collectivist funding of projects that would include the Manhattan project.  You still don't see it, do you?  '.'

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 09:10 | 2325972 nmewn
nmewn's picture

No, I want to end "collectivist" funding of projects that only enrich the connected few.

Like the "shovel ready jobs bill" that winds up funding tenured professors, state & federal government administrators, new climate models (because the old ones don't work), Solyndra, Fisker, LightSquared, other words...political cronies.

You on the other hand apparently accept that there must be a 30% "waste buffer" built into every spending bill...I don't.

Neither of you have pointed me to the wonderful government factories that churn out the rebar, cement and equipment needed for infrastructure.

Now I ask for proof that almost a TRILLION DOLLARS has been spent on infrastructure at all.

I need to see these great new water & sewer projects, where are they? I need to know that "the crumbling roads and bridges" have been in fact repaired. I need to see the brand new schools that were promised.

Show me where the money went.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 19:34 | 2325238 OldTrooper
OldTrooper's picture

Uh...isn't spending $400,000,000,000 with no ROI even more retarded?  I can't think of any group, except governments, and their parasitic cronies of course, dumb enough to tackle a project like that.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 19:49 | 2325251 economics9698
economics9698's picture

Construction projects are tackled one at a time. 

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 19:57 | 2325263 Max Fischer
Max Fischer's picture



Who the hell would give you an up arrow within 2 minutes for that supid, meaningless post, other than yourself?

Max Fischer, Civis Mundi

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 20:22 | 2325292 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Ha, ha, ha.  We pay his salary.  Economics9698 is a government contractor!  And he doesn't even see his utter hypocrisy in calling for an end to his meal ticket.  Every time I see his avatar from now on, I will think of a punch drunk boxer arguing with his manager about how he needs a bigger cut.  

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 20:36 | 2325260 Max Fischer
Max Fischer's picture



Uh...isn't spending $400,000,000,000 with no ROI even more retarded?

Yes, you're right.  Highways and streets are retarded.  For that matter, so is any transportation which requires fuel. No one should travel any further than a horse can take them.

Ron Paul 2012: Turning back the dial on America by 250 years

Max Fischer, Civis Mundi

By the way, the government DOES get a ROI by building the highway system; it strengthens the economy and facilitates commerce.  Private enterprise would not unless every road was a toll road.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 22:11 | 2325414 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture

By the way, the government DOES get a ROI by building the highway system; it strengthens the economy and facilitates commerce.


How "strong" do you think the U.S.'s, $15.6T-and-counting-in-debt economy would have been without central planning?

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 22:22 | 2325426 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

I wonder how much of the deficit is directly attributable to Economics9698's salary.  He probably drives a government motors Hummer too.   

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 22:17 | 2325422 Lednbrass
Lednbrass's picture

Short of the Manhattan project, there is not a single thing mentioned in this conversation that couldnt be handled at the state level.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 22:25 | 2325432 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Could have but was not.  So once again, do we choose reality or theory?   Yes, there are great abuses in government.  And there are great ills caused by private enterprise. It's called living in a society with a bunch of asshole self-interest human beings.   The answer is not simple and it doesn't involve putting one set of assholes in charge instead of the other.

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 23:25 | 2327180 TuPhat
TuPhat's picture

After the Manhattan project came the birth of Nuclear Electric generating stations.  I retired from one.  The govt. was in the way most of the time.  The NRC improved nothing.  Only made it more expensive and difficult to produce power.  Investors do not want an unsafe business.  They want it safe and profitable.  The govt. just wants to cater to special interests.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 23:12 | 2325471 OldTrooper
OldTrooper's picture

I never said highways or streets were retarded.  I said $400 billion projects with no ROI are retarded.  Some moron posed the question and I answered.  Of course, I think if someone looked back they'd find that considerably more has been squandered on our fine, crumbling interstate.  Oh, and how about the side-effects of the interstate?  Many perfectly servicable local and regional railroads that served thousands of small towns?  They are gone, along with many of the towns and a century worth of real wealth.  Commuter railroads in more populated areas, having been dismantled, are now being slowly rebuilt at astronomical cost?  Don't forget to add at least part of all that to the cost of the interstate.  Interstates were built because they could be built - not because they needed to be built.  Whatever ROI there may be is far short of what citizens could have accomplished if their money hadn't been stolen, and is entirely the result of the industry of people in spite of government theft and malinvestment.

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 02:16 | 2325655 Sanksion
Sanksion's picture


ROI > Avergage cocksucker lifespan 



And do you know the difference between Langley and the Wrights ? One has failed with 50k$ where the two private had succeed with 2k$. What ? FLY !!!


All it takes to get to the universe is an imagination such contrarian (yes, most of the people and b crats are wrong about most of the things. Period.) and unlimited to be able to understand reality. 

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 22:25 | 2325433 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

Question for ZHers ...  how many of you have invested your personal money into energy companys?  I will step forward and state that I was early into SPWR and FSLR.  I did my part?  Anyone? 

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 03:04 | 2325704 The Navigator
The Navigator's picture

self deleted, off topic comment, too many ouzos.

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 07:55 | 2325895 Council of Econ...
Council of Economic Terrorists's picture

I'm in EXC.

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 09:14 | 2325976 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Does shorting them count? ;-)

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 19:04 | 2325194 OldTrooper
OldTrooper's picture

Some things require the government to help fund, whether your libertardian brain can understand that or not.

The only things that require government funding help are the things that few people want or need.  There's no shortgage of funding for things that have demostrable value for many people.  So yeah, expensive boondoggles that don't do much but line the pockets of political cronies do require government funding.  And, since the government doesn't create any wealth on its own, those expensive boondoggles also require theft (or is extortion a more acurate term) on a monumental scale.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 21:27 | 2325361 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

Some things require the government to help fund, whether your libertardian brain can understand that or not.


Like wars! Even EZ ones against third world goat herders need serious funding.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 22:09 | 2325408 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture

Some things require the government to help fund


That thinking, my friend, is the 'original sin' decoupling from the Constitution that has led the formidable idea of the United States down the full path of the slippery slope into the abyss that it has become...

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 21:54 | 2325396 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture

FUNDING the interstate system is another matter entirely.


Yes.  Particularly when doing so gives birth to the out-of-control transit authorities.  The Massachusetts Turnpike has collected enough tolls to repay and maintain the 'pike' several times over, yet the Turnpike authority is one of most powerful unionized organizations in the state.  And take Maryland, where there is a line a mile long and all sorts of insider trading for folks to get a 'job' as a toll collector.  Do a little research to see what those rocket-scientists make.  

The dark side of the 'tragedy of the commons' is when opportunistic narcissists turn a so-called 'public good' into a gravy train.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:10 | 2325100 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

Yeah because private capital is clamoring at the chance to invest in projects with 20+ years or more payout horizons or in R&D that at the earliest has a potential commercialization possibility 10 years out. 

Anyone who insists that government should invest large dollars directly in companies like a VC or pour endless money into R&D is an idiot.  Any person who thinks the private sector will magically invest huge amounts in basic bench science or in R&D with incredibly long lag times & very risky IRR is also an idiot.

The two are polar extremes and represent a false choice.  Like almost anyone, the truth lies somewhere in between.  Tough and tricky balancing act to figure out one that works especially regarding the early commercialization part.  Something the US has really struggled with badly the last 20-25 years. 

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 17:11 | 2325032 Errol
Errol's picture

Open, don't feel bad - that investment wasn't wasted - it will soon be used to kill goat herders and other evil "hoarders" here at home.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 16:36 | 2324990 GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

Jobs would have been fine without NASA (whom I love dearly, but for very different reasons). Most of the real advances that enabled modern computing were made inside that evil mama monopoly Bell Labs.

That we needed to make them small to save space inside a capsule was nice, but not an impediment to the arrival of the Apple IIe in any way.


Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:21 | 2325122 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

Where do you think Bell Labs got much of their funding during the the 1940s which radically spurred the rate of development there including pushing up the invention of the transistor by years? 

Most of the innovations that came out through the 1960s were funded in large part by innovations out of the WW2 from various gov'ts. Some of the most fascinating stuff to read is some of the books that came out on Operation Paperclip after WW2 when the US and British raced to scoop up as much of the Third Reich human and physical science capital.   

Basically without Von Braun and his staff working in Huntsville starting from 1950 on, the US would have not beaten the USSR in the Space Race.  Both sides benefited enormously through from the documents and scientists they were able to get access at the end of the world.  Americans are just more fortunate to their hands on Von Braun, most of his staff, and their most important documents regarding the V1/V2 program.

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 13:37 | 2325668 Sanksion
Sanksion's picture

Yes, without the nazis, we would not have any fucking rocket. So to enhance the space programm, it seems now logic that we start again what the german and the japanese did : catch people on the street to test new weapons on them. Hey, that's how the US get in space, nope ?  Only a governement could do that, where the ROI if you have to indemnize the dead's family ? 


And also, imagine a private nuclear producer ? That cocksucker would have to get an insurance in case of contamination, and build his plant far, far away from anything. A HUGE COST. Why have such a private lunatic ? When you could be supported by the governement, AT NO RISK, and don't give a little 100$ for the inconvenience to eat and drink radioactive sewages in your meal ???  Reality check ? DAI CHI my friend. 


Huh ? dah ? duh ? 

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 07:35 | 2325829 i-dog
i-dog's picture


"pushing up the invention of the transistor by years"

Government funding in the '40s had absolutely nothing to do with that! Where do you statists dig up such rubbish?

Indeed, the government launched a number of anti-trust actions against AT&T, beginning in the early 1900s (probably instigated by Edison), and including one in 1949 that stripped Bell Labs of its ability to properly capitalise on its invention of the transistor for computing.

AT&T didn't need to supplement their profits from the telephone monopoly with government handouts in order to finance 3 guys working on semiconductor research!

In any event, the junction transistor was developed and patented by Shockley on his own initiative (while employed at Bell Labs) in 1951 as a response to being cut out of the original patent of the [impractical] point-contact transistor by his 2 subordinate colleagues in 1947.

In fact, the original patent of the junction field effect transistor had been lodged by a Hungarian in 1925, though it hadn't yet been made to work at that time. The 3-man Bell team was exploiting that work and looking to "break" that patent.

Government doesn't hinders!

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 17:16 | 2325037 snblitz
snblitz's picture

Without NASA doing this, YOU DON"T GET APPLE, MICROSOFT, etc, etc.

Three scientists at Bell Labs invented Apple and Microsoft in 1947 or 1948 depending on who you ask.


Sat, 04/07/2012 - 17:28 | 2325047 ffart
ffart's picture

Must be easy to be a state capitalist. The state just prints shit tons of FAKE money and hands it out to whatever companies happen to placate it at the time, then gets to take credit for every development those companies make. You literally can't lose.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 23:24 | 2325482 vast-dom
vast-dom's picture

the GUI was actually invented at XEROX....but hey, maybe without NASA.....what do I know?

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 15:53 | 2326522 Tapeworm
Tapeworm's picture

NASA developed all sorts of nifty things that we cannot come close to doing nowadays. The goomint can't even come up with a spacesuit that is anywhere nearly as effective as the 1968 Playtex suits.

 The asshole gombit threw away all of the blueprints and plans for this technology and even wrote over all of the data recordings from the moon missions. If we had that we might be able to put a man on the moon again.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 21:44 | 2325383 uniman
uniman's picture

Funny you mention NASA.  It's a very good example of a .gov system that has gone nowhere for 50 years, while simultaneously enabling a not-so-secret agenda of military dominance of space.  After 50 years of floundering, NASA is now visibly sinking with the demise of the shuttles and the abandonment of the moon.  Do you care to speculate about the fate of the ISS?  Yeah, that's right, it's going to be dropped into the ocean in a few years.  Supporters of NASA can boast about all the amazing technology NASA is alledged to have produced, all the while ignoring the likelyhood of people inventing these things anyhow in the ordinary course of business.  And the pictures from the various planets and moons, while cool, and conceivably also producable via private enterprise, have been produced at an astronomical cost.  Could life as we know it possibly exist w/o these pictures?  I for one have yet to see pics of the interior of Jupiter's core or the reptilian master race's home planet, and yet I still live.

The real failure of NASA comes from its roots as a .gov entity.  Its only means of existence is by parasitically feeding on the remnants of its host civilization and it has constantly foundered for "goals."  Narrow goals such as "go to the moon" or take pictures of Uranus are easy to promulgate and achieve. But NASA has very studioulsy avoided going after the _the only sensible goal_ in space which is to seed it with people.

Establishing a self-sustaining community of people in space, although technically very difficult, is even more so politically impossible.  Imagine the obsticles to face in doing this.

Suppose NASA actually established a "moon-base."  Such a thing would inevitably be 100% beholden to Leviathan for its physical supply and even permission to be there.  And what would those people do all day?  Yeah, that's right, they'd do "scientific experiments."  As if a viable human civilization has nothing else to do.  What sort of political structure would they have?  Talk about living at the mercy of unelected b-crats!  I think the most likely scenario in today's world would be that this catfight would wind up at the UN with the result that the terrestrial powers would decide to have the UN administer the Moon "in-trust" on "behalf" of its residents and the "people of the world" in general.  Again, talk about serving a life in thrall to unelected b-crats. 

What tiniest smidgen of private sector business could develop in such a place?  Every building, every piece of equipment, and every gallon of water and piss would be property of with the use and disposal of subject to their diktats. Every scrap of space junk on the surface is likewise owned by somebody else.  How soon would it be before "environmentalists" on Earth decide that they want vast areas of the Moon to be left "footprint free" ?  How bizarre is that? If ever there was a place worthy of an exponential-econonimic-growthgasm it's the moon.  The entire thing could be converted into a giant iBorg with not much harm to anybody.

Finally, the Moonies would of necessity have nuclear power and advanced rocket technology.  That's scary stuff to the PTB on the home planet.  Better to have an empty planet instead.

These sort of questions no longer have viable answers in today's world.  And as elements of today's world inevitably age, decay, fail, and require replacement, they are blocked by this similiar inability to formulate humane goals and solutions.  And that my friends is a major reason this present system is rotting and dying.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:37 | 2324546 Drachma
Drachma's picture

The 'State' is the problem. It is inherently parasitic and must be treated as such, by committing to a program of regular cleansing, to minimize its footprint on your colorectal region.

As to the article, the author in my opinion misses the point completely. It is the precise intentions of our puppet masters to energy-starve the planet. The rest is just a merry-go-round for fund managers and aspiring zombies.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 14:12 | 2324757 Max Fischer
Max Fischer's picture



It is the precise intentions of our puppet masters to energy-starve the planet.

Absolutely retarded.  I can't even fathom what life must be like for someone so utterly paranoid and delusional.   

Max Fischer, Civis Mundi

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 17:45 | 2325063 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

I can't fathom what life must be like for such a naive, braindead moron like you.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:12 | 2325108 Max Fischer
Max Fischer's picture



Ok, you got me.  I'm convinced.  The plutocrats and oligarchs are secretly conspiring to drain the world of energy. 

Does your partner know you post pictures of him on the internet?  Of all the pictures one could choose as an avatar, you've chosen a SUPER GAY one.

Max Fischer, Civis Mundi

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:28 | 2325135 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

Exactly.  The same 'puppet masters' want to energy-starve the planet because they want to see their assets/holdings especially those in energy-producing assets decline in value & potentially if things get incredibly chaotic see violent and unpredictable change that is difficult to control once unleashed.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 14:24 | 2324786 Libertarian777
Libertarian777's picture

aah yes, the old 'government built infrastructure' argument. Well yes, there is no denying that government can spend unlimited resources to build the Saturn V and go to the moon, or to build a nuclear bomb or 30,000. But it's one thing to expend resources on some politicians pet project, its another when it has to be maintained.

Ever wonder why the government could build the interstate highway system but can't maintain it? why thousands of bridges in the USA are degrading to the point of failure? why the US has NO manned space launch capability, 50 years after we went to the moon?

The question is if government makes the most efficient use of capital. And we all know that it does not. NASA spent $1m to build a pen that works in zero gravity. Has that technology really improved your everyday life? Has the $520m Solyndra or $2bn Solar Trust America, or the GM 'Volt' been effective use of YOUR tax money?

If you believe in freedom then you should believe in the right to CHOOSE where you spend your money.

Collectivism / socialism and communism, the EXACT things the US was purporting to be fighting against in the cold war were seen as 'evil' because it was an antithesis to the right to choose (the real meaning of freedom), and instead tried to apply 'scientific' methods to create deterministic outcomes. I.e. you no longer have free will. Some central planner will use a supposed scientific method to determine what size shoe you need, when you'll need it, how long you'll wear it and how much you should pay for it. There is no need for you to choose a colour, because 'on average' most people will wear black or white shoes.

It's the 'physics' envy most economists have nowadays, not smart enough to do real math, but have enough knowledge of math to be dangerous (by applying mathematical constructs to human action. No amount of taylor rule, monetary velocity, GDP multiplier or whatever else can ever explain what humans will choose to do next. It can be 'fitted' (regressed) to past history, but tells you NOTHING about the future.

Next your argument will be we need a Dept of water and dept of Air because without government we would have no water to drink and no air to breathe.


Sat, 04/07/2012 - 15:53 | 2324930 real
real's picture

Ever wonder why the government could build the interstate highway system but can't maintain it?   

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:23 | 2325129 smiler03
smiler03's picture

"NASA spent $1m to build a pen that works in zero gravity".

You lose all credibility in one short sentence because you believe what you've been told and repeated it like a sheep.

"Fisher developed his space pen with no NASA funding. The company reportedly invested about $1 million of its own funds in the effort then patented its product and cornered the market as a result.

Fisher offered the pens to NASA in 1965, but, because of the earlier controversy, the agency was hesitant in its approach. In 1967, after rigorous tests, NASA managers agreed to equip the Apollo astronauts with these pens. Media reports indicate that approximately 400 pens were purchased from Fisher at $6 per unit for Project Apollo."

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 22:38 | 2325447 Libertarian777
Libertarian777's picture

Fair enough about the pen...guess I should do more research...

Doesn't detract from solyndra, GM, Chevy, AIG and thousands of other failed ventures or my other comments.

NASA has lost manned flight capability.. spaceX is expecting to do manned launch in the next few years.

Guess The $128 (in 1960 dollars) per pencil would have been more justified then?

My statements still stand, government can expend lots of money on cool things, but a. It's not the most efficient allocator of capital and b. the constitution doesn't put 'government investment' as an explicit power of congress.

Powers not granted to congress are reserved to the state or to the people.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:18 | 2324504 WilliamD
WilliamD's picture

In case you havent noticed Melin, "liberty" has become a quaint concept. Time you libertards figure that out, join the 21st century, and deal with current reality.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 17:48 | 2325065 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

You inbred 0bots need to put on your chains and shut the fuck up. Do as the your TSA masters say.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:17 | 2324505 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

Is that a pic of Martenson? He looks like an Elf on crack.


Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:25 | 2324522 spankthebernank
spankthebernank's picture

This idea of peak oil is just another excuse to make our money grubbing oil baron overlords the world over some more money. The Saudis, the Bush's, the Cheney's etc...
The oil folk initially fund these cute energy saving projects...gain control over the the project, and then squash the project like a bug on their limo's windshield. They've been doing it for decades.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:51 | 2324701 Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

A complete separation of economy and state is the only path to liberty.

What an Randian idiot you are.  That would be the recipe for another tyrannical situation but one run by an elite aristocracy of owners of the means of industrial production and high finance.

Just where have you've been the past several years?  Have you not seen the destruction these amoral criminals can bring upon the planet EVEN when there is onerous regulation by an equally corrupt federal governement?  What makes you think these paragons of industrial civilization.....these captains of industry......would be any LESS likely to rape us all in an orgy of energy, production, labor and financial arbitrage with even less fetters on their behavior?

Its the naive utopians on the Ayn Rand side as well as the liberal hippies commie side that will put flame to the world when we finally begin the real collapse to equilibrium instead of realizing it is the corrupt human condition whether in the private sector or the public sector that bewtiches us all.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 15:43 | 2324917 Marginal Call
Marginal Call's picture

Something the Randians never get, is that we are living in their lib paradise.  The government is just a tool of the financier class to maintain their monopoly.  If there was no "government", capitalists would create one.



Sat, 04/07/2012 - 17:51 | 2325067 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

Bailouts and crony corporatism is a liberal paradise. You socialist retards are living in your socialist paradise thanks to your messiah 0bozo and his czars handing out billions to the elitists who funded his campaign.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 21:09 | 2325339 Marginal Call
Marginal Call's picture

You must be to lazy to read what you're responding to since you go straight to wild accusations.  I have no fantasy illusions about Capitalism-it's about raw power and it always has been.  Monetized power.


You can spout some libtard works in a vacuum bullshit while posting your banana hammock all over the place, but I deal in reality.  Because reality makes fucking money.  Fantasy if for fucking suckers.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 17:49 | 2325066 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

You inbred socialist chimps were the ones who created the Fed and bailed out the elitist bankers and now you blame that on Rand? Where in Rands writings are bailouts and cronyism advocated?

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 01:21 | 2325638 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

How much profit is there in poisoning your customers?  Bump up the liability lawsuits closer to infinity to encourage "politically correct" behavior, if you must.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 22:04 | 2325403 Freddie
Freddie's picture

Vuture Capitalists = as bad as the banskters.  Let the free market work.


Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:07 | 2324480 devo
devo's picture

Go long natural gas.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:22 | 2324515 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture


Funny. I've been house hunting and came across this,

"Marcellus Shale & Utica Shale below"  the land already has two gas leases.

Does anyone know if you have a gas lease and convert your truck to natural gas, if your fillups are covered by the lease? What if you decide to run a natural gas generator is that covered?

My problem with previous leases is they may have sold the mineral rights. But with big acreage that may not be an issue.


Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:27 | 2324526 Urban Roman
Urban Roman's picture

You can fill up the truck from your water faucet.

Unfortunately, you'll have to drive the truck somewhere and BUY water.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:38 | 2324549 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

Urban Roman

I see someone drank the koolaid regarding Fracing.

Why not just spend the cash on a reverse osmosis water filtration system.

Our well water, when I was growing up, smelled and tasted of Sulphur. Eventually a water softener was installed.

Later I learned about the Sulphur water spas people paid thousands of dollars to use. Sulphur baths and Sulphur water to drink.

Ones man's poison is anothers Botox.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:51 | 2324572 i-dog
i-dog's picture

Quit with the bold, fuckwit. You're neither important nor interesting.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:54 | 2324711 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture


AWW, someones mommy didn't give him his breaky huggles today.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 14:24 | 2324784 i-dog
i-dog's picture

oh, hardy-har ... you're not even funny!

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:14 | 2324625 AustriAnnie
AustriAnnie's picture

"Why not just spend the cash on...."?

Because it isn't their cash to spend dammit.  The "cash" comes from working families and is money those families cannot spend on food, is money they cannot save for their retirement.

We always get back to the question of "how should the government spend other people's money".  

Its Not Yours to Give.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:55 | 2324714 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture


How is the government involved with installing a water filtration system on private land?

If I own the land, and I choose to have a gas well, and I choose to pay olut of my pocket for the filtration, where does government enter the picture?

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 14:22 | 2324780 AustriAnnie
AustriAnnie's picture

Apologies.  Didn't read your post clearly.  I thought you were advocating the need for this on a large scale as a gov't funded style project.

My mistake.  I'm reading a thread full of ppl arguing for spending on diff projects from gov't source, so I had that in mind already when I read your post.


Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:48 | 2324690 Blindweb
Blindweb's picture

"Why not just spend the cash on a reverse osmosis water filtration system."


Lol.  So pollute the water supply to get natural gas.  Then burn the natural gas making water filtering systems.  Krugman would be proud, along with infinite motion machine inventors

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:59 | 2324725 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture


That was a bit complicated for a strawman.

The original point was regarding private property and an individual choice to purchase a water filtration system.

And other than some hyperventilating documentaries on fracing, a process in use since the 40's, there really is no evidence regarding pollution.

New Film About Fracking Seeks to Counter Environmental Fearmongering

The husband-wife filmmaking team of Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer announced Monday that they have raised $162,000 from more than 2,300 supporters for their documentary FrackNation, which “highlights the misinformation and biased opinions about fracking that are being represented in the media,” according to a press release.

The film “looks at the process of fracking for natural gas, demolishing much of the scaremongering surrounding the process and featuring the millions whose lives have been positively transformed by this emerging industry,” said the release.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 14:06 | 2324738 zkay
zkay's picture

Assinine reply. Not all of the chemicals they use to frack are removed by reverse osmosis, physical filters like sand or activated charcoal, or anything else. Benzene being one of them. Infact, several of the chemicals used will EAT THROUGH your filter. What the companies that frack are doing now is either paying people off after settling out of court and having them sign an NDA, or building cisterns and trucking water in for the people affected. How long can that go on, if the area that is being fracked just keeps getting bigger and bigger, hot shot?

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 14:17 | 2324745 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture


Prove what you say or shut the fuck up.

In person you would never have the balls to make that statement, especially unverified.

Next prove that fracking isn't just fearmongering. You gonna use ONLY Gasland as your source?

Now go suck a gang of homeless dicks while the real people have a discussion.

But that doesn't mean water contamination can't happen, particularly through surface spills. That's why many companies - and also some health departments, such as the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department - are helping local residents test their water both before and after drilling and fracking occurs.

"There has been nothing yet as a result of drilling activity that has adversely affected the environment or public health," Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department Administrator Howard Gamble said. "We do do water testing, but we have not yet seen anything different from either pre- or post-testing results."

An official with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection confirmed the state has seen no cases of water contamination from fracking.

Wetzel County has been the region's most drilled county over the past few years. Health Department Administrator Dorothy Lockett also confirmed there have been no public health issues there from drilling.

Marshall County Health Administrator Ronda Francis said her main concern is the long-term effect of drilling on the county.

"There is a question that after they drill, how long would it take for that material to work its way into the water supply? Is it six months? Three years?" she said. "Also, what's a safe distance to be away from a drilling rig because of air pollution? The problem right now is that we just don't know."

Along with testing water, Gamble said he stays in contact with area hospitals and the Ohio County Emergency Management Agency on increases in workplace accidents or any other public health issues that could be traced to drilling, such as sicknesses being reported by those living near drill sites. No negative findings have been reported, he said.

"The only way I see this affecting public health ... is that with the increased traffic on the roadways, particularly with large trucks, there is more opportunity for accidents," he said. "But that is a reach for public health."

Wheeling Jesuit University biology professor Ben Stout agrees with Gamble that transportation is an issue during the drilling boom, but Stout's concern comes from some of the chemicals that are being moved on area highways, mainly contained in drilling wastewater.

The New York Times and Its Anti-Fracking Cargo Cult

'Some say' the Times' reporters should have paid attention in 8th grade Earth Science class.

But here’s the key point: it does not matter whether the injected fluid is industrial waste, fracking fluid or mother’s milk.

The fluid used in fracking is 99% water. You would have to run a lab analysis to determine the trace chemicals in the other 1%. Any seismic effect, if true, would happen because of the introduction of a large quantity of fluid – of any type – into an existing fault.

Horizontal oil and gas wells are a whole ‘nother kettle of fish from deep injection wells.

Horizontal wells drilled for production into a shale zone are stimulated by fracturing to help the impermeable rock give up the gas or oil inside. A frac job on a new well is a limited process lasting a day or a few days at most. The volumes pumped into the well are not intended to stay downhole as in injection wells, but are intended to flow back out.

Like deep injection wells, horizontal production wells are separated from drinking water supplies by thousands of feet of rock. Wells are designed with protection of shallow water sources a key consideration.

George Carlin
“We’re so self-important. Everybody’s going to save something now. “Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails.” And the greatest arrogance of all: save the planet. Save the planet, we don’t even know how to take care of ourselves yet. I’m tired of this shit. I’m tired of f-ing Earth Day. I’m tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is that there aren’t enough bicycle paths. People trying to make the world safe for Volvos. Besides, environmentalists don’t give a shit about the planet. Not in the abstract they don’t. You know what they’re interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They’re worried that some day in the future they might be personally inconvenienced. Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn’t impress me.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:25 | 2324641 devo
devo's picture

I looked into this myself, and from what I understand you own the land above ground but not anything underground, unless you get a specific lease for it. This is why telecoms can run power lines under your property yet still own them. Now, I am not 100% positive as my research was only cursory.

I also looked into land that had gold on it. From what I gathered, you are entitled to any natural resources on the land, so long as you own and register the lease. Again, not positive. I'd call the local NR branch and ask them. It likely varies state to state.

I know ZH is bearish on natural gas. It's true, there is excess supply driving prices down, but I'm not sure that is true globally. For every recession there is expension somewhere. Corporations aren't stupid--I expect a lot of NG exports over the rest of the year to drive down that supply. Also, conversion vehicles are in their infancy. NG in transportation is only like 20% of it's use, but it's growing rapidly. So, while there is short-term downward pressure, I don't think it lasts. Add to it the Bernake's printing and I like NG. Of course, I could be wrong, but I'm usually not! (e.g. hopefully you guys shorted AMZN and Apollo Group last earnings season).

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 14:05 | 2324739 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture


You can freely pan for Gold on the stream which runs through your property. I'm always surprised more people aren't out panning. At todays prices a few weekends really build up.

You also own mineral rights to your land unless you specifically signed them away.

Sometimes the Gas lease will have the owner sign away the mineral rights. That's the problem with buying a home that already has wells.

But many smart owners will keep the mineral rights.

If you buy a new Ford 150 you can have the natgas option. I've also read it runs around 2k to refit your truck. The Ford forums have discussions.

Here is a link to Natural Gas fueling stations around the country.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 15:29 | 2324883 devo
devo's picture

You can freely pan for Gold on the stream which runs through your property.

Doesn't this vary State to State, though? And does it matter how the land is zoned? Also, if it's a designated "wild & scenic river", does that change things?

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 17:09 | 2325030 snblitz
snblitz's picture

In California very few people own the mineral rights to their property.  And if you find gold the government takes 50%.   I happen to own the mineral rights in my California property.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 17:28 | 2325049 OpenThePodBayDoorHAL
OpenThePodBayDoorHAL's picture

There's talk of laws banning natgas exports. The idea is to keep prices low in the US rather than subject to large global demand.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 17:54 | 2325074 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

That's also a good way to kill production and jobs

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:07 | 2324482 Race Car Driver
Race Car Driver's picture

Bah... energy. MIC, bitchez.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:07 | 2324486 Meremortal
Meremortal's picture

Oh yes, China is moving ahead with clean tech. And in about 10 years, they will match our clean tech from the 1960's.

I'm impressed.


Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:09 | 2324613 AustriAnnie
AustriAnnie's picture

+1 for questioning the value of Chinese spending on cleantech.

Is it not possible that China's spending on cleantech is going to the friends and family of THEIR government, much like U.S. federal contracts do?

"Who spends more" is not how you measure productivity.  

Spending is consumption of resources.  Consumption of resources is not productivity.

Good gawd, have we not learned that already?!

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 14:24 | 2324787 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

they will match our clean tech from the 1960's.


US citizen finest clean tech from the 1960's is the outsourcing of polluting activities (it works both sides, it helps cleaning the exporter's environment while polluting the importer's environment)

So yes, maybe, the Chinese will match the US citizen finest clean tech from the 1960's.

As long as US citizenism progresses in China, many things grow possible.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 15:10 | 2324854 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


As long as US citizenism progresses in China, many things grow possible.

As long as you are the biggest advocate of US citizenism in China, it is assured to progress there rapidly.

With you singing its praises, US citizenism is unstoppable.


Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:08 | 2324488 Future Tense
Future Tense's picture

Martensen wrote a good article a few weeks ago on precious metals manipulation. The following interview and article do an excellent job following up on the major themese:

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:09 | 2324491 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

So long as we continue to ignore the true price of oil which should but does not include the cost of endless military adventurism and being the world police, not to mention the costs that we will face as a species to clean up the environmental damage on day (assuming we can), there will be no change.  John Galt owns Shell Oil, and he's busy at the moment.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:25 | 2324525 narnia
narnia's picture

Both sides of the energy story are being gamed- demand and supply.  We need a new involuntary energy infrastructure as much as we need a new involuntarily determined generation of it.  

I'd say the gaming in how energy is used is just as problematic as gaming the price of a particular form.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 17:57 | 2325083 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

You constantly spout your stupidity with each post. You're so fucking dumb your mother should be jailed and beaten to death for not flushing your ass into the sewer when she shit you out. Rand was against corporate cronyism and your stupid posts should that you have the reading comprehension and IQ of a piece of dogshit.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:48 | 2325169 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Very convincing argument asshole.   If Rand's vision were given effect, the people you claim are corrupting government would run things with no middle man.  I realize that Rand is appealing for those who are not deep thinkers, but perhaps one day you'll understand.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 22:55 | 2325459 Milestones
Milestones's picture

Didn't you mean "appalling"?              Milestones          

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:55 | 2325180 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

Irony of people who advocate blindly advocate Rand and no gov't is that they don't see that someone steps in their nonsense utopia and assumes power.

You constantly insult people on here directly yet add almost nothing of substance to the comments. 

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:10 | 2324492 vast-dom
vast-dom's picture

$800B over 10 years create new energy tech vs. trillions of QE to save failed banking system. Which would you chose?

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:02 | 2324600 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

The former would benefit The People.  The latter benefitted the oligarchs.  Wonder why they went with the latter?

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 17:58 | 2325085 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

How much has Solyndra benefitted the people? On the other hand, it did benefit those few people who donated to 0bozo's campaign fund.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:49 | 2325173 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

For God's sake, is Solyndra all you've got?  One company that fucked up and couldn't make it work with some government loans because assholes like you refuse to buy solar panels?   What about nuclear power?  Did that benefit a few people?

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 22:10 | 2325411 Freddie
Freddie's picture

There was FAR more than Solyndra.  Go look it up.  Let the free market handle it.  The free market works if it is allowed to work.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 23:36 | 2325503 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

There's lots of stuff that says you're wrong.  There is FAR more stuff against you.  Are you convinced?  No?  Then maybe you should delete your earlier post which said exactly that.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 17:31 | 2325053 ffart
ffart's picture

Why do we have to choose one or the other? Get your fingers outta my wallet.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:09 | 2324494 tony bonn
tony bonn's picture

yes, the solution to the problem is obamaenergy....

btw - oil is NOT a fossil fuel. there are no fossil fuels. they are abiotic.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:16 | 2324502 nick howdy
nick howdy's picture

...and how long does it take for the earth to produce this abiotic oil?

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 14:03 | 2324723 bank guy in Brussels
bank guy in Brussels's picture

Many Russian scientists are convinced oil is abiotic as well ... 'peak oil' is because we are running out of easy-to-get oil near the surface.

The Russians focus on drilling deeper, and that is their technological focus ... and when they drill deeper, they find oil.

But Russians don't jump in to the polemic battle on oil, because

(1) Most of the rest of the world is being duped by propaganda shaped by the CIA's Google Inc. search engine, which mostly navigates everyone toward the CIA's Wikipedia, so why play in that sandbox, and

(2) The Russians profit very nicely from expensive oil, thank you very much, and it really doesn't hurt them, if the rest of the world believes the oil is running out.

Meanwhile, the Germans here are madly cutting deals with Russia for the oil.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 14:07 | 2324740 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

we are running out of easy-to-get oil near the surface

aka "cheap" energy.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:30 | 2325136 Iwanttoknow
Iwanttoknow's picture

BGIB,I always enjoy your posts.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:31 | 2325139 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

Tin-foil hat needs adjusting.

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 10:36 | 2326068 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

for some reason this "abiotic oil" is causing a lot of false flags, wars and market disruption

drilling deeper (and offshore and other hard to find places) is just as much evidence of peak as anything else

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 22:14 | 2325416 Freddie
Freddie's picture

It is being done daily 24x7 around the globe.  The planet is a big place. 

I am getting tired of seeing Mrs. 2012's banner ads here every second on ZH.  She sickens me and I don't need ZH that badly.  

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 23:49 | 2325529 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Freddie, do you live under the earth?  In a basement perhaps?

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:23 | 2324517 Death and Gravity
Death and Gravity's picture

Right. And the Earth is hollow.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:54 | 2324583 i-dog
i-dog's picture

Is it really? Wow...another bubble!

You must be, like, a geologist, or something....

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:40 | 2325157 smiler03
smiler03's picture

i-dog - You clearly have no comprehension of sarcasm.

It's not only the Earth that is hollow, the moon is too. It is an alien spaceship. David Icke said so.

For i-dog, /sarc

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