Fossil Fuel Industrial Policy

A blog about business and economics.
June 9 2012 8:36 AM

Fossil Fuel Industrial Policy

There's lots of hypocrisy in politics all the time, but it's really amazing how quickly and ferociously all kinds of conservative views about the evils of central planning, government intervention in the economy, and industrial policy go out the window when the subject of fossil fuels. The very same people who'd bang the drums loudest about efforts to spur more advanced renewal energy technology think nothing of dumping billions of dollars in the laps of Shell Oil.

I don't normally go in for too many "follow the money" conspiracy theories, but I really do think it's difficult to understand this phenomenon without noting that large elements of the conservative intellectual infrastructure are heavily financed by oil interests. Somehow the cause of natural resource extractors has come to be understood as identical with the cause of capitalism.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.