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Monday, 3 April 2017

Corrigan: Give us another Oil boom

By Sean Corrigan

If there is one sector of the US economy where an Austrian-style Boom-and-Bust bust has taken place, it is the onshore oil industry – though, by extension, other primary resource industries, such as metals and mining and farming have also suffered in the ongoing aftermath of the general commodity bust.

The good news is that the Austrian prescription for how to deal with a such a calamity has also been followed. The weak have ceded control to the strong – whether by bankruptcy, equity dilution, or co-option and takeover. Prices have been allowed to fall; payrolls – alas, for the unfortunate souls involved – have been cut; the more marginal projects have been put in abeyance, while an unrelenting search for greater efficiency has gone so as to reduce the level of the all-important cut-off between profit and loss.

As a result – and even if we do have to offer a caveat that much of what is afoot is also taking place under the baleful influence of over-easy monetary conditions – the industry has not only found a base, but has even begun to expand once more with no bail-outs, TARPs, or other assistance from a government apparatus (which, if anything has been intensely antagonistic to the industry on ideological grounds), saving only the putative enactment of last autumn’s OPEC agreement to limit output elsewhere.

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