[ExI] Laser propulsion talk at Utility conference

Adrian Tymes atymes at gmail.com
Mon Feb 10 02:39:19 UTC 2014

On Sun, Feb 9, 2014 at 3:58 PM, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> wrote:

> Adrian Tymes <atymes at gmail.com> , 9/2/2014 8:21 PM:
> I don't see how you can justify the expected profit.  The instant you
> start undercutting oil, oil prices shift to undercut you - and they can
> keep their prices down for years, if necessary, to wait until your
> operation runs out of money and shuts down, abandoning the hardware in
> place (no matter how efficient it would have been to keep using it).
> That's how they've done it before; all indications are that they'd do it
> again.
> That would work if oil was only used for energy. But it is a key chemical
> product, and the non-energy uses are pretty big. So as soon as they started
> undercut prices, the chemical industry would be buying more of the cheaper
> oil - now the cartel would find itself subsidizing the chem industry. And
> since chem sales would increase the price, they would need to counter those
> too. Not cheap at all. And it all requires a cartel with no defectors.

OPEC has historically had few defectors - not none, but enough to be a
functioning cartel.  True, they would be temporarily "subsidizing", as you
say, all users of oil.  In their opinion it would be worth it to achieve
this outcome.
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