Thursday, December 2, 2010

Drill Baby Drill! (Just do it in private)

Arctic offshore drilling review underway

“Gaetan Caron, chair of the federal regulator, met privately with Northwest Territories Premier Floyd Roland and Energy Minister Bob McLeod in Yellowknife on Nov. 24 to discuss infrastructure, devolution and the oil companies that are eager to start drilling.”

Well now, this is terrible news. Not the drilling part, the part about a bureaucrat regulator, a bureaucrat premier and a bureaucrat minister meeting to discuss the drilling (sounds like the beginning of a bad joke).

Don't want a repeat of the Gulf? Then start privatizing the Arctic. There's a lot of oil down there, we still need it (green technology isn't going to break the laws of thermodynamics anytime soon) and there are oil companies functioning by profit-and-loss that want to drill. They have an incentive not to see a repeat of the Gulf disaster. If the Arctic was all private property owned by many individuals, then there'd be incentives all around to keep oil from spilling anywhere. And if a disaster did happen, the private property owners would be in a better position to deal with the consequences than State bureaucrats.

What we have now are oil companies trying to work with bureaucracies and the arbitrary decisions they make. Remember that the BP Gulf drill was regulated, and State response to the disaster was less than timid – it was criminal. Bureaucratic regulations are not efficient nor are they cost-effective. Private property is the only answer. If an oil company wanted to drill in my backyard and offered me a lot of money to do so, I'd have a vested interest in making sure they're doing the job right. If I was a bureaucrat thousands of miles away from the area being drilled, I wouldn't have much of an incentive to safe-guard anything. In the face of a disaster I'd probably get a promotion and see my department expand. A disaster could actually be good for the regulators. God knows if there's an Arctic spill the first thing Canadians are going to demand is more regulation.

I guess you could say the State owns the Canadian Arctic, but that also implies taxpayers own it, but of course we don't own shit. We're in between a rock and a hard place because whatever we do here it's going to involve the State. So let's have the State sell pieces of the Arctic to people and companies that are interested in buying to maintain the Arctic's natural beauty. Since these organizations operate freely in the market they must sustain themselves through profit. Private donations are the most obvious way, but tourism could work as well. Drilling for oil would not only be a great money-maker, it would help supply energy for millions of Canadians. The decisions would rest on the shareholders of the company anyone can purchase shares of.

The State is essentially the criminal class, they're worse than the mafia – a thousand times worse than the mafia. The mob actually looks pretty good when compared to our wise overlords. So do you really want oil companies drilling under the guise of these criminals? Wouldn't it be better if the individual men and women of oil companies were dealing with individual private property owners instead of State bureaucrats?

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