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Oil, Engines, and Property Rights June 24, 2013 12:01 PM | Tagged as capitalism, Cummins, fracking, free markets, Mitchell

WSJ – June 20, 2013, page A19: “How Adam Smith Revived America’s Oil Patch” by Joel Kurtzman

That pesky free market is at It again! Now it’s getting in the way of another of President Obama’s key initiatives for the fundamental transformation of America: Energy Policy.

While the current administration attempts to force us into uneconomical green energy, along comes a great American, one who ought to be known as a 21st century Edison: George P. Mitchell. All Mr. Mitchell did was invent and perfect the technology for fracking to economically release our nation’s natural gas and also oil reserves. This was a game changer. Mr. Mitchell had no help from Uncle Sam.

This was only possible though because we are one of the few nations where individuals own the property below the surface of their real estate. Mineral rights are an important part of our capitalistic society. This is what spurred Mr. Mitchell to preserve for a decade or more to develop fracking technology. Other countries, such as many in Europe have similar gas and oil reserves that fracking would release. The problem is the reserves are not privately owned. Central-planning bureaucrats have no interest in the development of these fields.

Now, as Kurtzman reports, Cummins has introduced two new big trucking engines…that run on natural gas. Along with Boone Pickens natural gas stations, this will change the import needs the US has for foreign oil. Again, no Uncle Sam initiative. Just Adam Smith’s assertion from 200 years ago again being played out: When capitalists act in their own interest, they serve the interest of society.  

As Kurtzman puts it, “…free markets solve problems that politicians argued about for decades and failed to fix.”  Does anyone remember a politician in the past fifty years advocating for fracking R&D?

And by the way, the US EPA just dropped their case against the Wyoming fracking operation. EPA gave up trying to prove with facts that Wyoming ground water was contaminated by fracking technology. 


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