Natural gas was found in El Paso. The El Paso gas company bought a redundant oil pipeline from the US Government, and used it to pipe their gas 700 miles to the coast of California, who used it to generate electricity.
One day California abandoned the contract, apparently because the oil companies had promised them cheaper fuel. The gas company nearly went bankrupt because San Francicso had taken 70% of the gas, but San Francicso didn't care. The gas company just managed to survive, by building pipelines up to the north and east and eventually supplying gas right across America.
Recently California ran out of electicity because of all the PCs left on and air conditioning systems running, and wanted gas from El Paso. The price had quadrupled.
- It's an example of the importance of going against the laws of the ethical aspect, of self-giving love. The opposite is selfishness, seeking advantage for self.
- It demonstrates the repercussions of such anti-normative action:
- In the immediate timescale the other is hurt (though sometimes they might be stimulated to pull through and grow in other ways).
- But the repercussions eventually come back on the perpetrator.
- And the timescale of such repercussions is decades.
- (Was it also going against the juridical aspect? Not necessarily, because all contracts have a clause to allow abandonment of the contract.)
- It also shows, as Alistair Cook went on to say, how in times of prosperity we tend to turn wants into needs. During the 1990s computers, videos, CDs, expanded houses, second air conditioning systems, etc. became the norm and hence the basic right of Californians, and they are no longer willing to see these things as luxuries. These are all things that eat electricity.
(Source of information: Alistair Cook's Letter from America, BBC Radio 4, 20 May 2001.)
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Copyright (c) Andrew Basden 2001.
Last updated: 20 May 2001.