What the US should do too

Bolivian president seizes gas industry

Bolivian President Evo Morales seized control of the country’s natural gas industry Monday, sending soldiers to occupy fields that he contends private companies have plundered for years.

Morales said that unless foreign energy firms agreed to give Bolivia’s state oil company oversight of production and a majority of their revenue generated in Bolivia, the government would evict them from the fields.

A good start on solving the growing oil crisis here in the U.S. would be nationalizing the oil companies, then selling the gas and oil at only enough to make a modest profit and for energy research. Yes, centralized planning can accomplish what private enterprise refuses to do, provide energy at a reasonable price for all, not just making a tiny few even wealthier.

True, the U.S. energy problem is not solely due to a greedy few. But eliminating their plunder is crucial to the process of reform.

  • Joe

    I found it funny too watch the Jim Lehrer Newshour on Monday … The too big stories were Morales seizing Bolivia’s natural gas industry and the price of gas in the US.
    The analysts they had on drew no connection whatsoever between the two stories. No one said, “Hey maybe the US should nationalize oil and have 12c a gallon prices like Venezuela”…
    I guess that’s not too surprising.

  • Ken

    You might want to think about this a bit further. Sizure of private property should never be taken lightly. Keeping in mind that the government already takes a bigger piece of the cost of a gallon of gasoline than the Energy companies make, there would be no assurance that the price of gasoline would be lowered. In my humble opinion, supply, demand, and invention will solve this “problem” much more quickly than government. Remember, anything can be “declared” a right and thus be taken over by the government if allowed.

  • The nationalization of bolivian Natural Resources is not a “seizure of private property”.

    The Oil, NatGas, and any natural resource below the bolivian soil belongs to the State, this is in our constitution.

    President Morales did not confiscate the plants, machinery, tubing or any “private” property of the transnational energy companies. All he did was take “formal” posession of what is already awarded by our Constitution.

    With this nationalization in place, the energy companies will still be making a good (and normal) 17 to 20% profit in stead of the whopping 60 to 70% they were receiving while the previous UNCONSTITUTIONAL contracts were in order. Previous governments wrote these contracts without thinking about the people who are starving while sitting on top of trillions of metric cubes of natgas.

    If you had a hen that laid golden eggs but needed a third person to “make” her lay those eggs, you would still be wanting to receive the larger share of the sale of those eggs rather than letting that third party take 82% leaving you with only 18% of the profits.

    What would you think if you reacted to this unfair systema and reminded the “third party” that the hen is YOURS (and that you are the one who’s going to decide when, how, at what price and to whom the golden eggs will be sold, plus receiving a “fair” share of the profits) and he starts saying that you are stealing from him his “private property”. Doesn’t make sense, does it?

    Pablo Alvestegui
    Bolivian citizen

  • Tom


    I just want to say that “supply, demand, and invention” may get around to solving one part of the problem but only when the extremely rich and powerful stand to lose control of the situation. Selling 1/2 the quanity at double the profit keeps your bottom line unchanged, and thus provides no incentive for change. If the governemnt was to cap the price that a company could charge for this sort of commodity, it would force the industry to look to be a) more efficient and b) look for other sources of income, which, god forbid, might include alternate sources of energy…

  • Joe Hartley

    Good God. The Republicans can’t even run the military or FEMA; can you IMAGINE what they’d do to as complex an industry as oil? The only thing that Dubya was ever able to run was his oil companies into the ground. Had Daddy’s friends not poured money in to bail him out, he woul dhave been bankrupted many times over.

    I’m no fan of big oil, but I can’t imagine a worse disaster than to turn the oil industry over to this bunch of Republican incompetents. So be careful what you ask for… you might get it!

  • Ken

    Pablo, I will accept your statements concerning your Constitution as fact. However, those facts do not apply here in the US. The minerals underlying the surface are owned by the surface owner, unless that surface owner severed those mineral rights and sold them to some other entity. Oil companies in the US typically contract with the mineral owners, take the risk and expense of drilling, completing, and bringing the product to market and pay the mineral owner somewhere between 12.5% and 20% of the revenues. Unless the mineral owner has contracted his right to do so away, the mineral owner can drill his own well and take the risk and rewards, if any. The loonacy of those in the US who suggest that we nationalize the Oil and Gas industry is that they aren’t only taking the property of “Big Oil” but they are also taking the property of hundreds of thousands of mineral owners. What concerns me about Bolivia is that what was taken from the Oilc Companies was their “contract”, if the Bolivian govenments word is only as good as its current leader, no outsider would ever be willing to invest in your Country. Countries, like their people, are only as good as their word and their rule of law that allows all people a fair chance to succeed. I wish you well and hope that along with your new found wealth comes some wisdom. But I fear that only your new leader will see the fruits of this effort and the Bolivian people will not be any better off.

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