The kernel, many would argue, of the social revolution at the turn of the last century was the concept that workers should own the means of production. This is NOT a radical concept, nor is it inconsistent with capitalism. Indeed, any thorough review of all of Adam Smith’s writing in context might actually suggest he was much more a socialist than any might give him credit for. And the reason this is relevant NOW is because Alaskans, offered the opportunity NOW, have a chance to invest in Alaska.
What am I talking about? The gas pipeline, of course! Not unlike the brave face adopted by citizens of the Bay area in moving forward with bonding for their bridge, Alaska has the opportunity to create a quasi-public corporation to build a gas line authorized to accept pledges of portions of PDFs and to authorize such pledges for minors (in as much as we know that the State is likely liable to the tunes of millions of dollars for allowing endorsement of PFD checks on behalf of minors in ways unacceptable under the law…..)
A pledge of $500 per year for five years by half the population would capitalize the corporation in excess of half a billion dollars, more than enough to leverage any financing necessary. Would it be a worthwhile investment? Well, considering that Big Oil is making a killing right now why wouldn’t intelligent folks want to get in on the ground floor of the most exciting investment option to appear in years (arguably persons who had received a PFD already would be offered a special price for their subscriptions.) In what other ways might the investment benefit Alaskans other than as a return on their investment? As stockholders Alaskans could then vote for a Board and insist, if they wished, that the gas line run to where they think it most appropriate (and my guess is that it would not be outside Alaska.)
Want to wax optimistic? Think about the fact that we will have ice free ports on the North Slope soon. Think about building ships to move goods between Asia and Europe through the Arctic that might use gas to power Sterling engines, gas produced in Alaska and taken on board these ships at Alaskan North Slope ports. Think also about building gas fired generating plants at the source of the gas, and then providing monorails which provides advanced transmission of electrical power through a state-wide grid.
Yes, Wally has dreamed some doozies…. But it is nice to have someone with some vision in this state, and on this matter Wally is dead on. It is time Alaskans built their own infrastructure with their own money and controlled production. If the guvna wants to build a pipeline and put Big Oil in its place, here is the way to do it….