by Greg Walcher, E&E Legal Senior Policy Fellow
As appearing in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
One of the most instructive Old Testament stories recounts the wisdom of Joseph in Egypt, after his interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams, predicting years of drought and famine.
Around 1490 B.C., Joseph was made Regent (chief administrator) and ordered grain stored for the coming seven-year drought. He thus turned a bountiful harvest that might otherwise have been squandered all at once into moderate consumption that ultimately saved millions. Egypt not only survived, but had enough grain to supply the entire drought-stricken region.
What if, rather than reducing use of that resource to subsistence levels, Joseph had ordered a complete ban on eating for all but a chosen few? He could have said, “Because there will be drought and famine later, most people must starve to death now, so a few of us can live well,” but he would have been run out of office. Instead, he struck a delicate balance between wise use of resources for that time, and conserving for the future. We could use such wisdom in today’s continual debate about our use of natural resources, especially energy.