Countries around the world have different rules they use to govern their country. These rules of the house are called economy. The word itself “derives from the ancient Greek
‘oikos nomos’ — ‘house’ and ‘management’” (Wensley). Its trade and commerce are essential aspects for humanities survival and growth. Energy is one specifically important aspect of economics that is essential for growth. There are many options but there is one that is superior to them all: nuclear. However, recently, economics has been heavily abused by a few countries in particular, hindering us as a species and preventing energy from being as abundant as it could be.
Abuse of a social science is not unusual behavior though. Many times throughout history humans have corrupted their own social practices to only help themselves. Whether it is because of their ignorance of the social science, or because of their insatiable rapacity, remains to be seen. I would like to believe the latter, under the presumption that humans are intelligent enough to comprehend simple axioms of economics and simply desire decadence. However, while the reasoning is up for debate, the fact that is that all of us, as a species, aren’t focusing as much on energy as we could be.
The United States specifically has begun to drift away from its previous desires of being an energy powerhouse. We import and export energy but not on the scale that we could. This poses a problem because everyone should focus on producing more energy, so that we can all better the world. Despite the United States being a one off country, other powerful countries have plans set in motion that will make them the new energy powerhouses of the world. So it seems odd that the United States does not have effective plans in motion.
Two countries in specific lead two different interpretations of economics that serve as a proper juxtaposition of economic growth: China and the United States. These countries are both at the top of the world’s global domestic product (Bajpai). Both countries Presidents claim that they are growing their countries. “Central to the new US President’s platform are promises to supercharge economic growth to 4 per cent per year and create 25 million new jobs over the next decade” (Chapman) while “China will continue to tether its fortunes to world trade” (Goodman). Both import and export energy to and from countries across the globe, creating commerce.
Individually, both countries have their issues that create hindrances on their economical growth. The United States problems with greed and its malformed social science are widely visible. Drive down the road and you will find a McDonald’s or Starbucks on nearly every corner. In fact, there are about 14,000 McDonald’s branches in America (Schlosser 4). This continued problem pushes on, failing to be resolved. The opulence and rapacious mentalities continue in the United States, unable to be saturated. It prevents us from focusing our efforts elsewhere, like on new products or technology to develop and sell.
In China, they pay their employees derisory sums and subject them to calamities on a daily basis. “According to a study published by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, factory workers in and around Guangzhou lose or break about 40,000 fingers on the job each year” (Reis 70). These deplorable conditions are a statement regarding the shortcomings within China. Being unable to retain one’s limbs is quite a burden, especially as technology continues to become more and more advanced. There is the chance for rebellion within citizens who are forced to work under these deplorable conditions, which could impede their progress.
While the Chinese conditions are debatably more detestable than the United States classism1, there are more shortcomings to classism than injury, regarding economic growth. China is putting their citizens life in danger for fast expansion which could, potentially, cause a revolt, while the United States is thinking myopically to make a minuscule portion of their country rich. In both respects, if a country is too focused on internal problems, they will be unable to focus on expansion, growth, and the complexities of the import-export system. There needs to be more focus and attention on the economy for it to grow. China maintained focus on their economy riskily, at the cost of their employees health and safety. Yet, for now, it still stimulates their economy.
When it comes to economics only China is actively pushing for the future, by focusing on a much more gargantuan problem: energy deficiency. The entire economic climate boils down to the fact that we, as a species, have abysmal energy output. “The status of a culture, as a whole, depends on two primary things: Energy and technology” (Creighton). In order to advance as a species, we must produce enough energy to fuel certain projects, like rocket ships2. The disproportionate economics done by the United States hinder us from focusing more on the energy war.
The United States and China have focused on coal and natural gas as the main sources of energy. In China, they produced 4,111 terawatt hours from coal alone, while the United States produced 1,712 terawatt hours from coal (“Energy Statistics” 25). Furthermore, the United States garners 1,158 terawatt hours from natural gas (25). In total, with all types of energy taken into account, China produced 5,437 terawatt’s of energy and the United States produced 4,287 terawatts (27), which makes China the world leader in energy production.
By doing the calculations, we find that 75% of China’s total energy is from coal and 66% of United States energy is from coal and natural gases. Both countries have neglected to use wind, solar, or hydroelectric as their main sources, although China has started focusing on superior nuclear technology while the United States has started focusing on archaic methods of energy production. “With the recent shale gas boom, the U.S. is expected to have very large natural gas resources” (Sarica and Tyner), which will further our dependence on natural gas, in comparison to the aforementioned superior or more rapidly renewed energies3. The United States is an archaic country, too focused on the past to see the future. If we are just barely grasping things like solar, how could we possibly realize something superior to that? If we talk about it, we can realize it.
The most superior energy source is a piece of nuclear technology that is something of an enigma to the public. Most people are aware of nuclear energy but they typically associate it with Uranium-235. However, “the uranium inventories of the US and Canada would only provide enough energy for nine months” (Sorenson 72). Based upon this alone, one could draw the conclusion that nuclear energy, at least for the United States, is useless. However, there is another much more abundant element4 that can be used for energy: Thorium.
Intensely studied by Seaborg, one of the members of the Manhattan project, Thorium became an element of interest in the nuclear department. “Thorium-232 absorbs a neutron, becomes 233, and then there are couple of electrons emitted and goes to Uranium-233. And that’s also fissionable with slow neutrons” (“PBS Seaborg Interview”). It takes about a month for this to take place since Pa-233 has a half-life of twenty five days (Sorenson 20). This means to get the fissionable Uranium-233, you have to wait almost a month. However, the results are worth it.
The output of Uranium-233, and consequently Thorium-232, is on par with Uranium-235, if not superior. Basically, Thorium-232, being a more prominent fissile material, is superior to most forms of energy production, except the elusive fusion. Unfortunately, the United States has abandoned Thorium and, in its struggle to adapt, focused on the much more expensive solar. While solar can be more efficient, our current panel technology is paltry in comparison to Thorium. It is my assumption that the United States is seeking to jump ahead almost a century in technology, thinking that solar panels have more efficiency than Thorium.
Economically, our push for solar has drained the economy with its much more expensive technology. To power all of the United States it would cost $29 trillion for a mixture of wind and solar farms, $18 trillion with just solar farms, or $1 trillion with liquid-fueled Molten Salt Thorium reactors (Conley). The size of the wind and solar farms would also be the equivalent of states dedicated purely to solar and wind power5, while the Thorium reactors would only take up a few square miles.
Ironically, those that are deemed the best and brightest, like Elon Musk, are actually just product pushers. They fund and develop a product based upon egregiously expensive technology, hire a bunch of sales representatives, and begin to push products onto consumers. I have personally had multiple phone call sessions with solar representatives trying to push their products onto me. There are many others that can likewise attest to these deplorable sales techniques. It is deeply saddening that even the government condones their actions, providing them, and their consumers, with tax cuts.
There needs to be a paradigm shift within people, or the economy will begin to suffer. Limiting our energy production to coal and natural gas presents a problem. We will have less products to export out and earn money from. Without energy, our entire economy can begin to suffer. While some might say that the price is worth it because nuclear technology destroys the Earth, there are other issues to worry about on a global scale.
Now, we might not be pushing Thorium because of safety precautions, but a few other countries, China and India specifically, have disregarded these concerns and already allocated funds to Thorium reactor projects. “India has not been slow in developing next generation nuclear reactors that would use thorium as a fuel” (IANS) and “China has the most aggressive research program into molten salt reactors and thorium” (Silverstein). China, in particular, seeks to get ahead in the nuclear energy department, and push past the United States in energy production.
The Chinese research of nuclear technology well exceeds our own. They have continued on during our delays of social fighting, ignoring them, as if they knew we were wasting our time and took it as an opportunity to capitalize. By the year 2020, they will have fifty four nuclear plants, generating power for their country (Silverstein). All of their excess energy and material will be exported to other countries for a price, such is an inevitably of supply and demand. Thus, China will slowly dominate the market and build themselves into a massive, and unstoppable, conglomerate.
While China is capitalizing on their excess energy, the United States will continue to dwindle down. The focus on “hydraulic fracturing technology, more commonly known as “fracking,”” has increased exponentially and “has fueled a dramatic boom in U.S. oil production” (Egan). Our focus on outdated oil has not only lingered on throughout the years, but has increased. Politicians, particularly the Senate, have focused only on oil and natural gas, clearly ignoring superior sources like nuclear.
Our other methods of energy production have likewise become disregarded in favor of oil and natural gas. The once venerable President Hoover has become lost in time; the Hoover Dam the previous President helped pioneer sits, waiting for attention. Congress continues to push aside hydroelectric, giving benefits to the more expensive and weaker solar. Yet, the solar fields tremble, barely clinging on with a paltry 26.6 percent efficiency (Nield). To put this in perspective, currently, even with its massive popularity, solar provides less than 1% of all the United States energy (“Encyclopedia Entry”).
Once again, the politicians of the United States are thinking myopically. They are unable to thrive with other energy sources because of social hurdles and political battles. There is too much babbling upon what is wrong with a potential product, like nuclear, rather than actually implementing new energy methods; we are slowly getting left behind because our focus remains fixated on unsubstantial methods of energy production. For the United States to thrive during the energy war, we will need to reevaluate our predicament and politicians will need to abandon weaker forms of energy production in favor of superior energy production. We need to start funding more energy projects and focusing on actual output instead of environmentalism. If we do not, then the Chinese or the Indians will begin to do it and we will slowly become outmoded. The value of energy is the value of technology.
You cannot put a price on new or unknown technology. For all intent and purposes, technology is priceless. Seventy years ago computers were the size of a room, and costed a tantalizing amount of money. Today, we can wield computers in our hands and do more computations than the computers of old ever could. When other countries begin to have more energy, they will have the energy and money available to take on multiple gargantuan projects. Through these projects, they can develop better, cheaper, and more superior products, including better solar panels.
Once they develop better, cheaper, and more superior products, they will start to dominate the market6. Thus, their expansion will begin. Others will begin to buy their technology, seeking to flourish like they have. Then, as we perpetually fail to adapt, we will have no other choice but to become obsequious to their every desire. They will slowly become even more rich, because we will have to import their products or pay them for energy. This will cause our entire species to suffer. Without everyone being on somewhat equal ground, we cannot properly work together to provide new technology and help the suffering countries adapt. All because our politicians neglect to act. You might ask, how can we compete? How can we fight against this dreary foreshadowing?
Well, the only solution is to force our politicians to allow us to start competing again. There are a few solutions to produce more energy, first and foremost being Thorium reactors, but it is debatable if they will work without tons of effort to beguile the people on nuclear technology. They will not listen to reason or facts; the majority of United States citizens have proven time and time again that they hate nuclear
technology. Our media continually pushes the agenda that nuclear is detrimental to the environment, typically citing the meltdown in Japan (Cardwell). However, Molten Salt Reactors, commonly abbreviated as MSR, are considered to be extraordinary safe. One research study said this regarding the safety of Molten Salt Reactors: “The MSRs design appears, in its present state of research and design, to possess an extremely high degree of inherent safety” (Elsheikh 65).
Now, there are other problems that others may bring up regarding nuclear technology, namely the waste. It is a grasp at straws but the argument still remains and there is still waste, it’s just minimal at best. “In contrast, the amount of natural uranium required to provide the same amount of energy as 16 kg of fossil fuels, in a standard fission reactor, is 2 grams; and the resulting waste weighs one quarter of a gram” (MacKay 161). Uranium in general, whether it’s 233 or 235, has little waste; in the case of Thorium reactors, the waste is less toxic (“Thorium As Nuclear Fuel”).
While nuclear technology is the premier contender for energy production, there are other methods to produce energy. Hydroelectric is a feasible solution that can provide copious amounts of energy, and it is somewhat abundant in the United States. However, it is still not comparable to nuclear by any means. The only other solution is to continue to dump money into solar and hope for a break-thru.
Currently, “the efficiency record for solar panels now stands at 26.6 percent” (Nield), which is decent, but does not make it a valid competitor yet. This percentage is cut down by the fact that the Sun cannot be readily reaped twenty four hours a day, versus’ energies like nuclear, hydroelectric, and wind that can operate twenty four hours a day. Yet, solar still has wondrous potential. It can help us compete in the energy market and allow us to export excess energy derived from the panels to other countries at a price. The same can be said about hydroelectric, coal, natural gas, and nuclear though.
What remains, is that there needs to be a focus on all forms of energy. If nuclear has proven to work, then it should be used, more heavily than it already is. The projects being worked on in China and India are nothing to scoff at. They perpetually produce massive amounts of energy and their mining operations continue to add to their reserves, just waiting to be sold. There’s plenty of materials out there waiting to become energy and there’s plenty of electricity to be derived from those materials. All of these are eligible to be sold to the highest bidder. If we don’t want to be outmoded, or watch our economy dwindle, we need to take action.
The most commonly known action is to spread awareness. However, there is a more potent action: contact politicians. In the United States, representatives develop laws. The Senate and House push legislation and while the executive branches deal with other countries, the legislative branch holds the real power. We the citizens voted these representatives into office. We, individuals, can change this nation and make us a real contender in the energy war. Nuclear technology is cheaper and more efficient than anything else on this planet. In order to survive, we have to make the government less parsimonious and more frugal with expenditures on every type of energy.
1. In this case classism in the United States refers to the disproportional funds had by the top 1% of society versus the rest of society.
2. Rocket ships are typically considered the final endeavor of humanity. They require vasts amount of fuel to launch into space and will require exceptionally more energy to propel us into another solar system or another planet for possible off world colonies.
3. No energy is entirely renewable. The Sun will eventually decay, the Earth will eventually be absolved. With no Sun or Earth, renewable sources like wind, solar, and hydroelectric will cease to exist. It is a common misconception to call them renewable.
4. Thorium is only one of two radioactive elements that appears abundantly in nature. The IAEA-NEA publication Uranium 2014: Resources, Production and Demand says there is about 6.2 million tonnes of total known and estimated Thorium on the planet.
5. For both Solar and Wind farms it would be the size of Indiana. For the concentrated solar farms it would be the size of West Virginia.
6. It’s commonly understood that if you can develop a product that is cheaper, you can dominate a market. Now, if you can make a product that is cheaper and superior, you will widen your scope and dominate even more of the market. If you can do this on a global scale, you will make more money than you can dream up.
Wensley, Robin. “Isabella Beeton: Management as “everything in its place”.” Business Strategy Review 7.1 (1996): 37-46.
The Business Strategy review is a renowned academic publication. While I have not used them to explain anything intricate, their credibility stands for itself. Their explanation of the word ‘Economics’ as it’s derived from ‘Oikos Nomos’ was worthwhile since it provides a starting point for readers.
Bajpai, Prableen. “World’s Top 10 Economies.” Investopedia, 8 Feb. 2017, www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/022415/worlds-top-10-economies.asp.
For this source, I focused on the top two economies out of the top ten. In reality, multiple sources could have been chosen. However, Investopedia is the most reliable of the few. They take into account more variables than the other sources did and provided a more solid reasoning for why each country was placed where it was in their list.
Chapman, Ben. “Donald Trump Economic Policy: Can he really create 25m jobs and grow the economy 4 percent?” Independant, 24 Jan. 2017,
Quite a simple source that presented Trump’s words from an interview. Since I cannot find the video itself, the source in itself is suffice. This source also added more information regarding Trump’s position on growing the economy by merging multiple statements from Trump into one, providing a more ‘whole’ picture of Trump’s desire.
Goodman, Peter S. “In Era Of Trump, China’s President Champions Economic Globalization.” NYTimes, 17, Jan. 2017
Similar to the last source, the New York times took the President of China’s statements and merged it with the current politics happening in both countries. They provide a more ‘whole’ picture of China and their desire for their economy. The source itself serves as a starting point into why China will, most likely, win the energy war.
Schlosser, Eric. Fast food nation: the dark side of the all-American meal. Waterville, Me., G.K. Hall, 2001.
A laudable author with a multitude of experience in the economy behind the United States. He shows that the United States is too focused on becoming individually rich and promoting their classism, than actually moving the United States forward with efforts in technology.
Reis, Ronald A. The World Trade Organization. New York, Chelsea House, 2009.
An excerpt from this book shows how the Chinese government is similarly lacking in certain fields. The treatment of their workers presents multiple problems in their endeavor to move forward as a country.
Creighton, Jolene. “A Brief Explanation of the Kardashev Scale: How Far Can Humanity Really Advance?” Futurism, Sept. 1, 2016
In this article, the author laments that humans, as a whole, are not even a type I civilization. She presents the problems of the world and poses a question on how far we can go. Contrasting the problems in this article with the words within my report, shows how the United States is starting to fail in this regard.
“Key World Energy Statistics.” International Energy Agency, Aug. 2015, pp. 1–81.
This journal is published yearly and entails the energy usage in countries around the globe. Their heavily detailed and intensive research gives only facts and neglects to mention any reasoning. In this way, it is removed of any bias and a perfect centerpiece for how the energy war is developing around the globe.
Sarıca, Kemal, and Tyner, Wallace. “Economic Impacts of Increased U.S. Exports of Natural Gas: An Energy System Perspective.” Energies, vol. 9, no. 6, 2016, doi:10.3390/ en9060401.
Kemal and Wallace explore the economical impacts of our dependence on natural gas, while similarly providing numbers to support their reasoning. In this academic journal, they explain how our dependence on natural gas will eventually ruin us as a country. Reliance on heavily non-renewable sources, will eventually turn on us, as soon as the natural reserves are depleted.
Sorenson, Kirk F. “Thorium Research In The Manhattan Project Era.” University of Tennessee, May 2014.
Kirk did his Master’s thesis on Thorium research in the past. The near 500 page thesis provides detailed accounts of Thorium, how it’s used, why it’s used, how much power it outputs, and the researchers behind it. He never skips a beat and neglects very little of the history behind Thorium, although I mainly used his research to explain Thorium and its uses.
Seaborg, Glenn. “Glenn Seaborg.” PBS, Accessed 3 May 2017. www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/reaction/interviews/seaborg.html.
As mentioned before, most of the history was outlined by Kirk, however, some of it was missing. To properly explain how Thorium works, I chose a more credible source: Glenn Seaborg. Glenn was part of the Manhattan Project and his work in the physics world is undeniably spectacular. He provides a massive ethical reasoning for Thorium.
Conley, Mike. “Let’s Run The Numbers: Nuclear Energy vs. Wind and Solar.” The Energy Reality Project, 17 Apr. 2015
Mike is a well established name in the energy game. His compilation and comparison of Thorium and other sources of energy truly provides a new outlook on Thorium. By comparing against wind and solar, he found that Thorium trumps them both in square footage usage, price, and power output.
IANS. “India doesn’t lag in developing thorium-Fuelled nuclear-Reactor: MR Srinivasan, former AEC chairman.” The Economic Times, 29 May 2016, economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/science/india-doesnt-lag-in-developing-thorium- fuelled-nuclear-reactor-mr-srinivasan-former-aec-chairman/articleshow/52489649.cms? Utm.
To support the claims of Thorium, and how the United States is neglecting it, I turned to India and their recent development of Thorium reactors. In this particular article, they talk with several Indian officials about their progress. Currently, they have zero delays, and the thorium fueled reactors are well on the way.
Silverstein, Ken. “China’s Research Into Thorium Will Have Implications for Nuclear Energy In the United States.” Environmental Leader, 3 Aug. 2016
In order to provide a correlation between China’s focus on nuclear, I needed an article that showed the implications. Ken provides those implications in a well-written, and thorough, detailing of Thorium in China. He also explains why the United States will begin to suffer if they fail to implement similar nuclear technology.
Egan, Matt. “Oil milestone: Fracking fuels half of U.S. Output.” CNN Money, 24 Mar. 2016.
Again, to hammer down the dependence the U.S. has on the energy war, another credible source was needed. In this case, CNN Money details how fracking, which entails natural gas, provides more than half of the energy output. Other than that, this article just goes into the money factor of shale oil, which pales in comparison to aforementioned energy sources.
“Encyclopedia Entry: Solar.” Institute For Energy Research, Accessed 3 May 2017. instituteforenergyresearch.org/topics/encyclopedia/solar/.
The Institute for Energy Research compiles and surveys the usage of a type of energy. In this entry, they tackle Solar. The research they have done provides an example of how the United States is also failing to implement Solar, despite its more predominant and reliable source: the Sun.
Diane provides an adequate explanation of how the moronic fear within United States citizens arose. The fear of another Chernobyl or Fukushima rings within citizens and writers alike. While Diane does present examples and reasoning, they neglect the fact that not all nuclear technology is dangerous.
Elsheikh, Badawy M. “Editorial Board.” Journal of Radiation Research and Applied Sciences, vol. 6, no. 2, Oct. 2013, pp. 63–70
In this academic journal, Badawy provides reasoning as to why Thorium is safe, thus, countering the opinion of Diane and people like Diane. This source is probably the most important to the entire report, since it negates the United States reasoning to neglect nuclear technology.
MacKay, David J. C. Sustainable energy – without the hot air. Cambridge, UIT Cambridge, 2013.
Similar to the safety precautions negating with the previous source, this academic source, disproves the worries of Thorium providing tons of radioactive waste. It details how Thorium provides very little, near a gram, of waste. The size of the waste depicted in this research provides adequate reasoning to dispute waste worriers.
“Thorium As Nuclear Fuel.” What Is Nuclear?, Accessed 3 May 2017.
Similar to the last source, this source details the toxicity of Thorium. I chose to only incorporate the conclusion on its toxicity but the credibility of the source is well-known. The site ‘Whatisnucler’ studies all forms of nuclear technology and provides detailed and thorough research for each piece of nuclear technology.
Nield, David. “Scientists Have Broken the Efficiency Record for Mass-Produced Solar Panels.” 24 Mar. 2017
In order to dispute the ever so common reliance on solar as the new energy provider, I needed to present the inefficiency within solar panels. These panels have an abysmal efficiency rate and this article provides the sources needed to prove that, since it details the, at the time of this writing, the most current efficiency rate.
“Uranium 2014: Resources, Production and Demand.” Nuclear Development, 9 Sept. 2014, pp. 1–504.
Another reputable scholarly source that provides yearly releases on Uranium. It provides factual evidence for my fourth note and presents reasoning as to why Thorium is superior to Uranium. It shows that Thorium is twice, or more, as common as Uranium. Therefore, it is a more reliable source of energy.