Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Excellent article "The Myth of Peak Oil" by Randal O'Toole

As a dedicated libertarian I usually pickup a copy of Liberty to read. While I get turned off by some of the strident stances that are based in reality as I know it they have some of the clearest thinking authors to be found anywhere. This article is the best refutation of the "Peak Oil" argument that I have seen yet.

I do think that he missed one thing. These New Urbanists think that they can plan a community that will allow (force?) people to live within walking/biking distance of work or mass-transit to work. I have seen articles on places in Oregon, Florida, California and other places that try to group housing with business thinking that the people will live in the same community where they work. However they neglect the fact that our labor economy is becoming more and more fluid. According to the US Department of Labor Statistics the Americans average three career changes in their working life.

That's not even counting the number of job changes within career fields. One of the biggest hurdles that people are finding today is adapting to this fluidity. The idea that with multiple job changes and three or more career changes could occur without moving from a community with a small pool of employers is beyond concept. I have changed careers over three times and am still in my mid-life, I am also in my eighth state and ninth metropolitan area. To do this I have always rented as it is next to impossible to buy and sell housing and not lose a bundle over these short time periods (I once moved Dallas to Oakland to Sacramento to Northern Virigina in 18 months). Urban planners don't seem to have any real-life experience, probably because many of them are government employees and there for are among the group of people not worried about layoffs.

Maybe telecommunting will change all that. But don't count on it.

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