Latin America and Foreign Direct Investment

I was just going to make this ECLAC report a link in the upcoming LINKS post, but I can’t trust you to click a seventy page pdf can I? There’s some interesting stuff in here, so it wouldn’t hurt to share. Before we go any further, it’s important to know what FDI is. Now that we have that covered, lets get to the meat of this post.

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Oil Can Be Cool As Hell

As long as nobody dies for the profits…

On a more serious and disappointing note, I have another hastily written entry to share. A couple of things drove me to make this post. People bitching about gas prices(observed FROM MY BIKE), an FT article on young American bros putting handlebars before cars, and Argentina’s recent decision to nationalize their oil. All three of these items are good news to me, and I am in no way in league with big oil. I don’t even use vegetable oil.

The rise in oil prices mean resource nationalist countries that love(are smart enough) to use their nation’s energy to fuel social spending has a couple megabucks on the way. I’m cool with this because I just happen to be fond of socialist programs that are almost certainly propped up by liquid gold. one example of this would be Venezuela’s improved education system that has them sitting with a relatively high Education Development Index(EDI) score in comparison to its neighbors. Now one could argue that energy prices are too volatile to rest a nation’s future on, but what is stable? disequilibrium is a constant in capitalism, trotting along with vicious cycles, booms and busts- all depending upon who you ask(not horrible monsters). Shit that literally came from your piece of earth isn’t a completely bad thing to hang your hardhat on. I say go for it, enjoy your finite but nowhere near close to finished natural fossil based money machine while you can.

In the case of Americans turning away from cars- how is this not a great thing? I don’t know anyone who would interpret this as a negative outside of automobile companies, but oh well. I lived in NY, DC and now in LA(I feel like I lived a full life by saying this but I’m just a first year grad with the emotional maturity of a feral child), and at this stage in my life, a car is nothing but a status symbol, not a necessity. Public transportation works just fine, and I think a reasonable system is something every town or city with big aspirations should invest in. I also lived in a sort of small college town that had a bus and personal rapid transit system that also operated smoothly(assuming the rapid transit system was working). Cars were only truly needed at night when the PRT was down.

Argentina’s story is the most interesting of the three because as far as I know, it’s pretty unique. There’s always some level of backlash when a country decides to nationalize their oil/gas, and these cries are usually heard from morbidly obese pigs/private entities who fed on oil long enough. The claim is investment is no longer desirable if Argentina plans to sell the majority of the oil at home and at door buster prices, and this is true if that’s actually the case. I seriously doubt this though. What I’m wondering is just what percent of this oil will be sold on the cheap to keep domestic firms competitive. If it’s just a drop in the bucket, then clearly the likes of Spain are overreacting. If not, and Argentina manages to go through with this- will there be any measurement of just how successful this move was? Only time will tell. I’m glad I blogged about this, otherwise I may end up forgetting to check it out in the future.

It has come to my attention(in the form of a tweet), in the middle of writing this – that prices have experienced a bit of a drop in the past couple days. This doesn’t really change what I said since none of its validity is dependent upon constantly rising prices in the now. Just something to keep in mind. Btw, I wrote this on the way home from the beach and on my iPhone, heh.

Not Quite Yet

Kill all the “peak oil” talk, and hopefully the idea of even more painful prices at the pump. According to the Belfer Center’s Geopolitics of Energy Project, we still have a little wiggle room left with recent findings. I’m already familiar with the massive deposits Brazil found — the way they’ve handle the foreign direct investment in these oil projects has me feeling more optimistic about their growth than any country not named China or India. Angola and a couple of other African countries have managed to stumble upon a couple of fields as well. I always wondered what type of lifespan we’re looking at in these new-found oil black gold mines and it looks like the project just might have the answer and them some. From the research update,

1) field-by-field analysis of all projects underway in the most relevant countries in terms of production growth to 2020; 2) oil depletion rates, as calculated by several, influential sources; 3) the oil price-level and the other most relevant factors (geopolitics, political decisions, etc.) that may affect production growth in this decade. Moreover, a special, detailed focus is devoted to assess the geological, economic, and technical realities which support the development of U.S. shale oil, that may represent the biggest new oil frontier in many decades and a real “paradigm-changer”. The results of this research will later be analyzed in terms of potential impact on the oil market, oil geopolitics, other energy sources, and environmental/climate change public policies

Sounds good to me. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for this.