Wrecking Ball: Oil

Lyle Griggs

Not too long ago, certain crude oil prices fell below negative 35 dollars a barrel. And no, that’s not a typo. Price disputes and collapsing demand stretched the limits of our oil storage capacity and made the once-precious commodity worth, in theory, less than nothing. Before you run off to formulate a get-rich-quick scheme, the temporary plunge in oil prices does not mean that gas stations will pay you to pump gas. It does, however, mean that West Texans are panicking. I, on the other hand, am loving it.

Do I want workers to lose their jobs? Well, no, not specifically. I do feel bad for those who work in the oil industry, and I don’t want oil workers to suffer, nor do I want the economies of Texas, North Dakota and other oil-producing regions to crumble completely amid this crisis. But if that’s what it takes to kill oil, so be it. I’ll revel in all the suffering just a little. My sympathy for the newly destitute is nothing compared to my schadenfreude.

It isn’t difficult to understand why I love this temporary downfall of oil. Simply put, oil is bad. For one, as this crisis proves, it causes serious economic problems when something very minor happens to the Rube Goldberg global supply chain. And then, even when times are good, BP goes and dumps a bunch of it into the Gulf of Mexico just because they can and, hey, they can survive the hefty fine that comes with killing 11 people and devastating Gulf fisheries. Side note: our reliance on oil may end human civilization as we know it. So yeah, I’m pretty happy that oil executives are selling their homes and writing their wills. They should be.

I’m fiddling while Rome burns, and boy am I glad that it’s finally burning. I just hope we can summon the sense not to rebuild it.