Saturday, April 21, 2007

Why live like the Japanese?

Those dumb Japanese. They use a lot less energy than we do here in North America. Ten years ago their government decided to tax energy use and that tax effectively doubled the price of energy in Japan. Now why did they go and do a fool thing like that? That means they slowed their economy down in order to conserve energy. Now ten years later the Japanese use much less energy. They have sophisticated appliances that are energy efficient. They don't use central heating, they live in smaller houses and in the winter they only heat a few rooms. They have smaller cars and they use public transit more.
I don't get it. Why would the Japanese purposefully live less comfortably than they did before just to conserve energy? Here in Canada we have plenty of cheap energy and we don't have any good reasons to live less comfortably. We know we'll never run out of oil, we've got the Alberta tar sands. And if the global price of oil goes up too high we know that the Albertans, being a generous people, will gladly give us a break on the price so we can continue driving cars that are big, safe, and comfortable indefinitely.
Those Japanese are so puritan, they actually save money. They don't spend it all on big cars and big homes. Where are their priorities? We're spending more money than we have, but so what - the banks can always create more money as we go. Why not live a comfortable life instead of worrying about things we don't really know much about - like climate change.

Here in North America we are so much more lucky than the Japanese. Because we live in a perpetual motion economy. The more energy we consume the more it stimulates economic growth. As long as we keep consuming we can't lose. What a great deal. And it's always going to be like that.
How could we possibly run out of cheap oil? The Arabs have more than they need and they are very reasonable people. They would never conspire to hold back production. Plus they are very honest and would be sure to let us know if they were about to run out of oil, even if it would put them at a disadvantage if they did. But, of course the idea of running out of oil is ridiculous. There's an infinite supply

With cheap energy we can even destroy the environment without any worries. If we lose our forests we can plant grain and raise beef cattle. If we overfish the oceans we can farm fish in net pens. As long as energy is cheap anything is possible. And of course it will always be cheap. After all, it has been cheap for the last two hundred years, so why would it change now?

Don't bother conserving energy. Enjoy the luxuries of big cars and lavish lifestyles. By living comfortably you're helping the economy grow. Only suckers would consume less. How much are they really helping the environment by driving small cars or riding bicycles or recycling? It can't be a benefit to them to live less comfortably so they must be doing it out of some misguided principles. Why do things in order to benefit an abstraction, like the "environment" when you can so clearly help yourself by consuming more? Hey, if the Japanese want to live by depriving themselves of cheap energy, more power to them.


  1. Um, yeah.... about that. Is this all satire or something? I didn't find it very amusing at all. In fact, the Japanese do respect mother nature and that's probably why they conserve energy. Also, compare Japan's population with Canada or USA's population. They have more people than we do! With all those people living in Japan, energy will be consumed too much, and we'll all run out of energy and fuel on earth in no time. Be grateful that they are using less energy than us so we could use more! By their 'sacrifice,' we are able to consume more energy! They are not being cheap. They are saving mother nature unlike some ungrateful people like you who wrote this article!

    And what do you mean by this?

    "Now why did they go and do a fool thing like that?"

    Fool thing? Does that make sense to you? Shouldn't it be foolish thing?

  2. Thanks for your comment. You are right. I was being facetious. I admire the Japanese very much for spearheading energy conservation. The purpose of the article was to get people thinking about what choices they can make in regard to energy conservation.

  3. Great article. Unfortunately, I don't think that most people really consider a lot of the issues you raised. We think that as long as we can buy something, we can have as much of that thing as we can afford without concern for anybody else or how it was produced. Money buys naivety and a guilt free conscience.

  4. Ok, Sheldon Cooper found his way onto this site. The sarcasm drips, for crying out loud! Awesome article, congratulations.

  5. Thanks for the comments guys. Judging from the comments this is probably my most popular article. Sarcasm works sometimes. By the way, who is Sheldon Cooper?