Ending the Oil Age

How do we accelerate the transition to an oil-free future?

In September 2014 the $860-million Rockefeller Foundation made an historic announcement. Timed to coincide with massive marches for climate action all over the world, the fund revealed it was going to divest from fossil fuels. Following in the footsteps of the World Council of Churches, the British Medical Association and Stanford University, the latest major institution to make such an announcement is also the most symbolic. Because the Rockefeller fortune owes its very existence to oil.

The Rockefeller story is also the story of the rise and fall of the first ‘oil major’. Standard Oil, founded by John D Rockefeller in 1870, soon came to control the burgeoning US oil industry, from extraction to refining to transportation to retail.

It built an unprecedented monopoly that became so publicly despised that the US government broke it up – birthing Exxon, Mobil and Chevron, among others.

The forced break-up created the Rockefeller millions. A

Continue reading

Enjoy unlimited access to the world's leading thinkers.

Start by exploring our subscription options or joining our mailing list today.

Start Free Trial

Already a subscriber? Log in

Join the conversation

Russell Day 21 November 2014

My invention the Insurodollar, if ramped up and made into a real currency to stand alongside the petrodollar, as the petrodollar collapses, is what I can offer here in the Institute of Art and Ideas. I see the Insurodollar as becoming capable of softening the blows that the US in particular will suffer as its currency loses more and more status as a reserve currency. The Insurodollar is the partial pooling of whole life policies award at birth and buy in to citizens of the nation. That is translated into the basis for the currency, and may have strengths that a volatile petrodollar doesn't. If you think that there is a flaw in the use of what is essentially Human Capital on which to base a currency, I suggest you read Ed Baptist's fine work of scholarship: The Half Has Never Been Told. The key to the prosperity of the South, was clearly the trade in valuable human capital. Imagine what power and wealth we would have realized if AIG had been forced to give all of the US citizens policies when the US citizens were forced into taking the role of reinsurers of the last resort? So then what I hope is that you will support my idea, and work for the realization of it. Compare it to the concept of BiMetalism maybe. However it comes down, the US will suffer from the collapse of the Petrodollar, a process that is well advanced now that Russia has by passed it, with the deal with China to use the yuan for the purchase of Russian Oil and gas. I hope to add this option to mitigate what will surely be extremely difficult times ahead.