free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 95. LESSONS FROM WORLD WAR II

Monday, September 12, 2005


Some doomers say the U.S. can't conserve oil, and can't crack down on the private automobile because waste is the foundation of the U.S. economy. For instance, MonteQuest (a doomer moderator at is fond of saying that one out of every six jobs in the U.S. is tied to the automotive industry. His position is that waste=jobs. We have to be wasteful to keep people employed, and any attempt to reduce consumption or car use will cause an economic collapse.

This is incorrect, as can be seen from the following chart of U.S. automobile production:
Note the big dip for WWII. This shows that society can still function, even if fuel is rationed and passenger car production is swiftly ramped down to very low levels.
In fact, in terms of production volumes, the economy performed superbly during WWII. Look at these aircraft production numbers:

1939: 2,141
1940: 6,086
1941: 19,433
1942: 47,836
1943: 85,898
1944: 96,318
1945: 46,001Source

This shows the sort of focused, rapid production scale-up industry can achieve when it has to.


At Monday, September 12, 2005 at 11:43:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting point, but i am not quite sure what you are trying to say. If your point is that a government can force an industry into fast action if necessary, then i agree. But if you are trying to argue that WW2 is good example for an economy which is not relying on waste, maybe you should try again. After all the decline in private US car production was more than compensated by the vast increase in production of tanks, trucks and airplanes.
If you further consider the rather low average lifespan of these fuelhogs this is hardly a good example for an increase in energy efficiency of a society, even if it did manage to put people to work.

At Monday, September 12, 2005 at 12:21:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, you prove your collosal idiocy once again. The decline in the production of private autos was offset by the incredible increase in the production of tanks, jeeps, airplanes, and the rest of the war machine. Most of the oil that was used for all this came from US soil. In case you didn't know, most of that has been burned now. Jackass.

I think this post is right up there with some of your other doosies, such as the one that started with "peak oil will not effect fuel prices. . . "

At Monday, September 12, 2005 at 1:12:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Brad Walker said...

You have shown that industry can change fairly quickly. I'm not sure if this is an win for "free markets" because this seems to be an example of a command economy, but we can change things.
Another thing to keep in mind is that these are completely different times than WWII. First, obviously, we have many more people than we did then, and we may have less to go around. Secondly, the WW2 scenario doesn't take into account suburbia, because suburbia mushroomed after WW2. I don't know if fuel rationing is going to work for people in the exurbs. We're still going to have to restructure society, and that's a massive project. Hopefully we can do it before things get heavy.

At Monday, September 12, 2005 at 6:05:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure there will be a recession, economies can't go up and up and up forever, but why does recession = DOOM? Why would it lead to the immediate impotancy of the government? During previous recessions, even the great depression, the government still had resources at it's disposal to do things. If we lose 1 in 6 jobs in this country does it mean we are doomed?

I don't see why. I don't even see why everyone in the automotive industry will lose their job, since once we stop using current-gen gashogs they will need to be replaced by something else - something which will need to be constructed, probably by the car companies! Lost profits will eventually force them to change their ways (hybrids short term, fully electric long term)! Just look at all the SUV commercials on TV, it's like they are getting desperate to sell the damn things before it's too late.


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