Ah…..the wonderful stupid of Forbes

If I didn’t subscribe to Forbes magazine, I’d miss my regular dose of conventional stupid.

Today’s reports come from the November 8 issue.

Right at the opening bell, we get Steve Forbes saying: “Energy Crisis Over!”

Oh yes he did.

How is it over? Well, because the Chinese have bought a large stake in an American natural gas company. See, that proves that the energy crisis is over, because as you know the Chinese are smart. They want to learn about how to do it so they can use it in their own country. …..yeah, that’s right – they just want to help themselves.

They will use “fracking” to unlock the “trillions of dollars of shale oil and gas” that is located in the US. Despite the fact that the “technology has been around for a long time,” we’re just now discovering that we can sell it to the Chinese, I guess.

And please don’t think that fracking is bad for the environment: this kind of “drilling takes place thousands of feet below the water table”, so there is no chance that your house will explode when you turn on the faucet.

Horizontal drilling is also another “impressive breakthrough.” But we don’t get any facts as to why.

All of this natural gas drilling will make the US an energy exporter! Why, all this natural gas will help us produce at least the equivalent of 400,000-500,000 barrels of oil a day. (But they aren’t the equivalent of barrels of oil, because only barrels of oil are barrels of oil, and only oil matters to us as a transportation fuel…but never mind.)

We also get this: “Oil production, too, in the U.S. will increase far beyond what experts thought possible a few short years ago.” That’s it. Nothing else. No explanation of how this will happen.

Finally: “The world is awash in energy.”

So there you go: Energy Crisis Over!

Don’t you feel better after receiving the great medicine of optimism?

But you know me, mr. downer…..I’ve got that nasty habit of wanting reality.

I can’t really stand the typical Amercian logic that is on display here:

1. We’ve got a problem: “an energy crisis”

2. We believe that money will solve it: “trillions of dollars”

3. We adore some technology: “The word “revolution” is overused, but it’s truly appropriate when applied to these technological breakthroughs”

4. Make shit up with no supporting documentation: “Oil production, too, in the U.S. will increase far beyond what experts thought possible a few short years ago.”

5. All will be well, take my word for it: “The world is awash in energy.”

6. Move on folks, there’s nothing to see here: “Energy Crisis Over!”

Thinking like this is just meant to gloss over the real issues. We are going to use less energy in this country and we are going to pay a lot more for it.

Further, by letting simple greed color the thinking, we miss the chance to have a good discussion on the real opportunities, if any, that these technological breakthroughs offer. For example, I don’t think for one moment that the Chinese are investing in natural gas here to learn the technology. They are investing to ensure their supply. In that case, we could discuss the nationalization of our natural gas supplies, so that when the Chinese buy them, the nation as a whole gets richer, not just a few guys in Texas and Oklahoma. Works for other countries. But I guess that sounds like so much socialism, huh?

We are at the back end of the fossil fuel era in this country. We need a real energy policy, not just some nitwit saying that whatever crisis we had is over.


The mantra of “growth” is so strong at Forbes, and within our ruling class as a whole, that they take every chance they can get to slip the word wherever they can. The word itself is a talisman.

Take, for example, an article about Detroit in the November 8 issue.

Detroit Must Shrink to Grow

Like the auto companies, Mayor Dave Bing thinks Motown can be a smaller, but better, city.

Seems positive enough. The story is a thoughtful piece about the challenges to remake the city based on the theory that it is way too large geographically. It’s an interesting read.

But here’s the conclusion of the article, the very last sentence: Now they need to accept the fact that, as he puts it, Detroit is “not going to grow again–we need to stabilize.


Did the headline writer not read the piece? Is this a calculated plot to soothe casual readers that growth is returning to Detroit (and the country by extension) so that they feel good even without reading the article? Or is this just the stupid that seems to infect the people who put out the magazine?

Finally, this little gem:

Why Is This Oilman Trading Texas For Istanbul?

Christopher Helman, Forbes Magazine dated November 08, 2010

Why would billionaire oilman Malone Mitchell trade Texas for Istanbul?

In this article, we get the usual blah blah about the restless energy of a true maverick who is always in search of the hot new deals. Here, Mr. Mitchell is taking his “fracking” energy process to Turkey in order to help them, and himself.

Remember fracking from the Steve Forbes column above? He says there’s no environmental harm in it all.

But here we have a guy from Texas who could do fracking in his own country, couldn’t he? Instaead he’s doing it in Turkey?

The reality is right in the middle of the story: “In the U.S. environmentalists worry that such “fracking” could pollute groundwater; in Turkey, not so much.”

OHHHHH…..so he’s gone to Turkey to damage their environment because they don’t care about it as much as we do here.

And the magazine gives him a pass on that. No delving into the pros or cons of what he’s doing.

At least they report the economic results of his environmental destruction:

“In the six months to June 30 TransAtlantic lost $35 million on $31 million in revenues.”


There.  Now I’ve passed the stupid on to you.  I almost feel better.


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