The Conspiracy of Big Business

By Deane Barker on March 30, 2006

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?

Gadgetopia

Comments

  1. If they wanted to do it, they have the resources to be swift enough and silent enough and be able to cover tracks if necessary, but they’d have to get to it before the story hit major circuits.

    My question is why would they want to? Wouldn’t it make more sense to offer to buy the technology and gain an upperhand against other companies?

    Though, while we’re on this subject, talk like this always reminds me of a book I wanna get called Jennifer Government. First chapter’s available to read here.

  2. Maybe you know those gel packs which store heat: they contain a supersaturated salt/water mixture. You cook them to store the heat, and once you press a small metal clip inside the pack, a crystalization effect starts – the pack solidifies and gives off heat. Once it is solid, you cook it again and the process can be started over. I have such a pack in my coat – I last cooked it in early January and it is still liquid, ready to give off heat at any time.

    OK, a couple of years ago, a German engineer created a auxiliary heating for cars based on that principle. The saturated salt/water mixture gets heated up by the exhaust warmth. Your car is parked overnight, and triggered by a remote or a timer the crystallization effect gets initiated and in the morning your car has a nice temperature. Common auxiliary heatings use petrol and combustion to heat your car up. Compared to this guys concept this is not only a waste of oil, but also a security issue.

    This person, an engineer by trade, perfected the solution and made it ready for the automotive market. He file for patents, and after many years of development he started to approach automotive manufacturers and manufacturers of auxiliary heating systems.

    He was not greeted with open arms, as he expected. Instead, he almost got immediately sued by various companies for threadbare reasons. Litigation took years and though he won every single case it almost ruined him. In the end, he sold his concept el-cheapo to a manufacturer of auxiliary heating systems, where it is buried in a file cabinet ever since.

    How do I know it? There was one political magzine on TV which reported on that case a few years ago. This made for a bit of media hubbub – but nothing come out of it. We STILL have expensive, complex auxiliary heatings for cars that consume petrol, and this guys revolutionary concept can not be bought from anywhere.

    Go figure.

  3. You know, sometime conspiracy theories makes perfect sense.

    I can think of some methods to prevent solid theories from getting the attention of the public:

    1. influencing the media;
    2. spreading distorded variants of the theory to remove any credibility it may have had in the first place;
    3. sabotaging groups working on assembling real facts by infiltrating them and making them waste their time.

    Some people, basing themselves on the second point elaborated above, take a mesure of the level of noise around a theory to evaluate its credibility; then they simply remove anything not supported by verifiable evidence to get an idea of the real picture.

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