For those who grew up in the United States in the 1950s and ‘60s, one of the predominant beliefs was that resources were inexhaustible. The design of automobiles and the proliferation of electric devices and appliances were made possible by inexpensive and abundant energy. Consumers were urged to expand the use of these devices and appliances. So-called “muscle cars” were featured in media and music. The measure of “miles per gallon” was not a consideration. After all, energy seemed cheap and limitless….
The 10 years the mid-’60s to the mid-’70s would change that thinking forever. Not only did the discoveries of major oil fields peak in that period, but the U.S. embarked on a disastrous path of committing to fund the Vietnam War and the “Great Society” programs without the resources to do so. The price of oil was raised by OPEC in the early 1970s to counter the price inflation that was caused by the fiscal irresponsibility of those U.S. elected officials. The era of cheap energy was on the way out. It took another 40 years for the perception of limitless energy to catch up to the reality that the cost of resources is a variable, not a fixed cost.
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