Vail Daily editor’s view: Vail Valley Institute to tackle ‘Axis of Oil’ in June seminar |

Vail Daily editor’s view: Vail Valley Institute to tackle ‘Axis of Oil’ in June seminar

Don Rogers
Vail, CO, Colorado

The upcoming Vail Valley Institute seminar takes on what lies beneath.

The steepest, deepest, scariest recession in a generation or two or three basically amounts to a collection of sins we’ve committed that we can correct.

The rotten gimmick mortgages, paired with the housing bubble blown up by too-easy credit we coulda-shoulda seen, in hindsight – that stuff eventually will work its way out. Like painful digestive illness, in time we’ll heal. The bailout medicine may or may not speed or slow the process. But it will play through.

What the seminar’s about June 24-27 ain’t a matter of healing. We will as a nation and world have to transform. No choice.

Oil’s going to run out. Maybe even sooner rather than later, which isn’t really the point. Just as countries like China really ramp up, the liquid gold will get rarer faster.

Meantime, the expense only rises as the economy shows signs of perking up, OPEC tightens down, new oil fields are nowhere to be found. I exaggerate, but not by a whole lot.

We’re heading back to something akin to when whale oil became scarce, on account of the whales all getting killed.

Somehow, we moved on, found another, richer fuel source. That should offer some encouragement. We humans are a clever species. As the oil runs out, the chances are good that we’ll eventually find the next lily pad for our fuel needs. It’s the meantime we have to worry about.

Our economy and lifestyle depend on cheap fuel. In some cruel game, our source of that cheap fuel comes in large part from countries that are not particularly friendly to us.

So this seminar, “Axis of Oil,” is well timed. And the institute has attracted a provocative set of thinkers to discuss the future of civilization as oil gets more expensive and begins to play out. This is the far deeper issue than the current recession.

I learn a ton at these seminars and enjoy listening in as top-of-their-field speakers and a few dozen thoughtful, bright people grapple with tough subjects like this one.

Some questions that no doubt will be raised: What’s the future of globalization when cheap energy no longer is cheap? Are we possibly on the cusp of a new cold war as we all compete for what’s left of oil? Can America quit talking about it and take the painful steps to energy independence?

The seminar won’t solve anything, of course, but discussions about the big things like this are crucial nonetheless. It’s also how democracy is supposed to work, with a citizenry that thinks about the big rocks, too.


Don Rogers is the editor and publisher of the Vail Daily.

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