The Joseph Strategy


| September 17, 2003


We are in the midst of a long-term energy emergency, one which will not be solved by more oil drilling or misadventures in the Persian Gulf. Instead, we might look to the Bible for some clues.

As David Ehrenfeld notes in an essay on Orion Online, the United States enjoys unprecedented access to cheap energy, but that supply has already peaked. And if we want to maintain our current quality of life, it's time we borrowed an idea from the Bible, what Ehrenfeld calls the 'Joseph Strategy.'

Like Joseph, who helped save the Egyptian people from starvation by stockpiling supplies during the fertile years and rationing them during the drought, the U.S. should consider instituting mandatory rationing to stabilize its energy use, while encouraging technological innovation designed to make our energy resources go further. Also central to such a strategy, he says, is the gradual movement of Americans to a lifestyle that consumes fewer energy resources.

'A modern approach will have the three components, each with advantages and drawbacks,' he notes. 'A judicious mix of all three -- rationing, investment in technological change, and the voluntary reduction of consumption -- will serve us best and do the least harm.'
-- Craig Cox



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