I’m listening to Clive Cussler’s “Valhalla Rising” in the car. So far, the plot — which is completely preposterous, which is the norm for Cussler — involves the development of an ship engine that runs on sea water.
The bad guys, as near as can be told his early in the book, are the oil companies, who desperately want to keep this technology off the market so that they can continue to reap the windfalls of high oil prices.
This is a common conspiracy theory. I’ve heard urban legends of some guy who made a car run on water, and was killed by the oil companies to eliminate the threat. But how real is it?
Let’s say there was a huge technological advance in energy production, so that you could run a car off of water or air or solar power or whatever. Do you really think there are business interests that would kill someone to keep this technology under wraps?
If you were an oil executive, and such a technology were suddenly announced, would you jump for joy with the rest of the world because thousands and thousands of problems just vanished (and, yes, oil is the root cause of that many problems), or would you scheme to preserve the sick status quo because it suited your company?
Could a technology like this every be kept quiet enough so that it could be suppressed through illegal means? Like the guy who supposedly made a car that ran on water — wouldn’t this hit CNN like a bombshell and make this guy the most famous man on earth so that nothing could happen to him without it being totally obvious? If if he did die somehow, the theory would live on, wouldn’t it?
Has the current level of media coverage and Internet saturation made it more unlikely that this technology could be surpressed? I mean, what if the guy had a blog? Back in the 50s or something, he might be off the media radar, but now it’s hard to do anything noteworthy and not covered some media outlet, somewhere.
So, how realistic is the conspiracy theory that business interests would resort to grossly illegal means to destroy technology that would save the world, but threaten their own interests? Could they ever actually succeed in doing this?