For all the Obama-era talk of decline, there is at least one reason why America probably won’t, at least not quite yet.
“Peak oil” and our “oil addiction” were supposed to have ensured that we ran out of either gas or the money to buy it. Now, suddenly, we have more gas and oil than ever before. But the key question is: Why do we?
The oil-and-gas renaissance was brought on by horizontal drilling and fracking that opened up vast new reserves that were previously either unknown or considered unrecoverable. Both technological breakthroughs were American discoveries, largely brought on by entrepreneurial mavericks and engineers exploring on mostly private lands. Couldn’t the Saudi, Venezuelan, or Nigerian oil industry have discovered these new methods of resource recovery, given their nations’ reliance on petroleum exportation?
The world now wakes up to iPhone communication, Amazon online buying, social networking on Facebook, Google Internet searches, and writing and computing with Microsoft software. Why weren’t these innovations first developed in Japan, China, or Germany — all wealthy industrial countries with large, well-educated, and hard-working populations? Because in such nations, young oddballs like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs more likely would have needed the proper parentage, age, family connections, or government-insider sanction to be given a fair shake.