unaccountability and oil by Joe Costello
Xerxes wanted to look at the queen’s tomb, which is above one of Babylon’s gates. On the inner wall of the gate is carved the sentence: “Should any future ruler of my land be in need of money, let him open my tomb.”
Since Darius always needed money, he had ordered the queen’s tomb opened. Except for the queen’s body, preserved in honey, there was nothing in the sepulcher except a stone tablet on which she had written: “Had you been less greedy and importunate, you would not have turned graverobber.” Darius personally threw the queen’s body into the Euphrates. This was not a tactful thing to do; but he was very angry.
– Gore Vidal, Creation
The growth of unaccountability at the top of the American system, both in the public and private sector, descends each year to ever greater depths. One would have to look to the mid-70s era of the Soviet Union to find anything in recent history close to analogous, though contemporary China, which is more opaque, might very well be equivalent. Of course there’s always the banks’ balance sheets. At the global top, there’s an ability to say quite anything, especially numerically. In the future, no matter how far from reality the numbers prove to be, no one is held accountable. In fact, the numbers allow the looting class to safely move on before anyone is the wiser, though quite a bit wealthier.
Our latest example of unaccountability is the International Energy Agency, who just released a report claiming a new era of oil nirvana for the United States, dutifully blared across our corporate media. Now remember, the IEA was founded by the barbarous Mr. Kissinger back in the mid-70s when most of America’s elite were rudely schooled on the importance of oil, that is cheap oil, to the American and burgeoning corporate global economy. Up until about half-dozen years ago, the IEA didn’t pay much attention to where new oil supplies were going to come from, when they did, they were startled into concern, but luckily again, there is no need for concern.
The FT has about as good a piece as there is and it’s not good, dutifully repeating the ridiculous claims of the IEA and then buried further in the piece, a couple of caveats, or better a bit of reality. The one thing to keep in mind about anything anyone reads about oil today, global demand is off at least 10% since the 2008 financial panic, probably more, but oil numbers are difficult to come by. Anyway, this distorts everything, particularly price and supply, but most specifically price and supply of the new unconventional sources like the North Dakota and Texas shale plays.
In short, what the IEA has done is used some oil industry analysis that’s been trumpeted over the past six months. It’s based on taking some oil industry numbers, completely unsubstantiated keep in mind, and extrapolating them into the future. Now remember what happens when our elite looting class extrapolates — NASDAQ 5,000 or the value of your home just a few years ago for examples — no one goes to jail.
Accountability of power is a pillar of self-government. Five years from now, depending somewhat doubtfully on whether the corporate globalization game can get ramped up again, IEA’s analysis will prove of not much value, but they shall pay no price. That’s how it worked for the 70′s dacha-class accountants of the Soviet Union. The difference between that looting class and ours, America is much much wealthier, it will take a longer time to find the tomb’s empty.