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Charles Girard

Dear Sir:

I believe that technology is the answer to producing the down fall of the artificial price of oil in the 21st century. Consider the tremendous freedom we would have, from oil traders, if all of our automobiles run on water. Maybe the main deterrents to using this technology are the multiple layers of governments in the United States (and world wide) that benefit greatly from the tax dollars produced by the sale of every gallon on gas and oil. The government makes billions of dollars yearly from the sale of petroleum products and they would have to some how figure out a way to replace these dollars by taxing water.

Let’s be honest our government is set up (Katrina)to respond to a crisis and only when the rising price of oil destroys the American economy, will we most likely see a break through in the advancement of automobiles using alternative power in the 21st century. I urge everyone to write their legislatures and demand that alternative technology be promoted or we will see America become a second rate power.
Charles Girard PhD

Erik Holden

I'd like to add that the price of natural resources isn't linked to time, but rather availability. We have been fortunate that over the last 100 years technological advancements have in effect, expanded our natural resources (through reduced consumption, recycling, and improved techniques for acquiring resources). Take oil for example. Through advancements in that industry, we are able to reach more oil deposits, we have more fuel efficient cars, and in many places there is better conservation. This in effect increases the known oil reserves reducing the cost (long term). As we all know natural resources are finite, therefore at some point in the future as this finite resource dwindles, and technological advancements aren't able to prolong the inevitable exhaustion of a finite resource, the price will go up.

Here's hoping for solar and wind generated hydrogen as the fuel of the future!


Mr. Robinson, thanks for your comment. We do not know the price of hay or 100 years ago, but suspect their price did not impact the transition from the agrarian age to the industrial age.

Interestingly, a New York Times columnist just made a bet with an economist that the price of oil would DECLINE, not rise, over the next 10 years. He bases his bet on another economist quite correctly predicting that natural resources decline in value over time, not increase.

We'll see, but our thinking is that the price of gas will not have any significant impact on the 21st century.

David Robinson


I am currently reading your Teaching Online for a course that I am about to do for Boston University.

It's a useful book.

But I have to disagree with your comment on page 8:

"We know ... that the economic force driving life in the 21st century is the microchip and the Internet, just as the automobile was the economic force for change in the 20th century."

I think we are all going to find out very soon that the basic economic force for change in the 20th century was cheap energy - specifically cheap oil. The automobile just happened to capitalize on that reality.

I don't know what will be the primary economic force of the 21st century but if it isn't cheap energy of some sort, I am afraid it will be scarcity.


David Robinson

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