Gosh, the other night I heard some business executives’ organization predicting that in 2005 there would be more jobs, lower oil prices, and business growth. Contrast that with this article I just stumbled across reporting that a well-placed financial analyst is forecasting a high probability of "economic Armageddon." Hmm, maybe he’s trying to create conditions to sell a book on "How to Prosper in the Coming Crash."
Fret, fret! Am I off the wall in thinking a company like ACS ought to be thinking about Plan B: what do we do if energy prices keep going up, our cost of doing business increases, and we have to compete for scarce dollars going to oil?
What does a barrel of crude oil cost, Alex?
Crude went to a record $50 yesterday. According to the NY Times:
Fueling these gains is the alignment of three events: record high demand, historically low spare production capacity, and a set of potentially destabilizing events in some of world’s the top oil-producing regions, including Iraq and Venezuela, to name only two.
Our good friends, the Saudis, are increasing production to “stabilize prices.” Still, there’s a lot of nervousness in the world, and here’s why…
It appears this business of end of cheap oil is getting more attention. The title above comes from an article from a Harvard Business School e-newsletter I got this morning. The meme is getting around.
So I pose the same question to the ACS: How do we prepare for a world without cheap oil? The reason I ask is because the Society’s business model still seems to be so based on physical transportation of people: lots of local offices, lots of staff driving round (much as I did 30 years ago when I came to work for the Society), lots and lots of meetings involving air travel and expensive hotels. I have often wondered what proportion of our budgets we spend moving bodies around. Could we start considering a business model based on electronic communication instead of movement? Cheap oil or not, it seems to me examining other possibilities is worth doing.