Monday, February 07, 2011

Whither John Galt's Oil Rig?

Lamentations! And to where shall he take his petroleum extraction infrastructure?

Oh, yeah. That's right. He'll take it to where he can find the oil. And he'll negotiate with the folks who manage the land or sea under which he can find said oil, if he chooses to make his living in the oil industry.

And, lo, should Atlas decide he feels unappreciated or too beset upon by those who expect him to adhere to pesky, profit cutting civic responsibilities, let him "shrug" and take his wares elsewhere.

There will be another who wishes to make their living in the oil industry. They'll be willing to follow the local regulations and turn a smaller astronomical profit. And they'll bed along directly to pick up where "Galt" left off.

Because that is the largest failing of the utopian-libertarian misunderstanding about America. That is the largest miss of the whole "Who Is John Galt?" rhetoric. No one is going to pick up their business and move elsewhere. If there is even a dollar of profit to be made in America, there will be at least 10 people competing for that dollar, and they will do it here.

Like oilmen follow the oil, businessmen will follow the money. American markets have the money those businessment want to make.

So if anyone wants to go all "John Galt" and leave, please don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out. Delta is ready when you are. Have fun in those nations with higher taxes and more regulations, or those nations with higher externalities (payoffs to local oligarchs) and more instability. It must always be fun to live far away from the overreach of American regulation and in constant fear that some local uprising will destroy all your capital.

Because if the oilmen want to leave Gulf waters for more favorable business climates, they can have fun in Brazil and off the coast of Mexico. If they don't want to negotiate with the State of Louisiana and the United States government, they are more than welcome to try their hand with Saudi Arabia or the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Have fun with that.

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