A Legacy of T. Boone Pickens: Political Capitalist

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- September 24, 2019 1 Comment

“Mr. Pickens was an early exponent of the peak oil theory, which held that the world would soon run out of oil to pump. The rise of fracking, which made hard-to-reach oil accessible, upended the theory.” (Washington Post, below)

“’It’s been valuable to have Boone as part of the team,’ said Carl Pope, who was executive director of the Sierra Club at the time, in response to the oilman’s backing of alternative energy sources. Former Vice President Al Gore also backed Mr. Pickens’s alternative energy campaign.” (New York Times, below)

Business leaders can help or hurt the capitalist system with their actions and rhetoric. Swashbuckling T. Boone Pickens (1928–2019) gained a reputation as a disrupter, shaking up a stodgy oil major (Gulf Oil, now part of Chevron), among others.…

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T. Boone Pickens: Contra-Capitalist (a ‘man of system’ sought more fame and fortune)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- January 31, 2018 7 Comments

“The two greatest enemies of free enterprise in the United States … have been, on the one hand, my fellow intellectuals and, on the other hand, the business corporations of this country.”

– Milton Friedman. “Which Way for Capitalism?” Reason, May 1977, p. 21.

“To put it plainly, T. Boone Pickens is out to save America.”

– Carl Pope (Sierra Club). Quoted in Dean Calbreath, “Pickens Pitches Plans to Shift U.S. Away From Oil,” San Diego Union Tribune, June 25, 2008.

They are not against capitalism. They can be very charismatic, in the know, and mainstream. They may be industry leaders. They are always politically correct and receive good press. And they can, often do, pledge allegiance in the abstract to the American way of free enterprise.…

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T. Boone Pickens: Still More from the ‘Man of System’

By -- May 18, 2015 5 Comments

“The man of system … is apt to be very wise in his own conceit, and is often so enamored with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it…. [H]e seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board.”

– Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759).

A recent video is circulating where T. Boone Pickens ranted “I am the expert, not you” to land his point that falling demand, not increasing supply, is primarily behind the oil-price collapse. This outburst reminds me of the quote from the early 20th century humorist Peter Finley Dunne: “It’s not so much what he doesn’t know that worries me, as what he does know that isn’t so.”…

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The ‘New’ Confusion About Planning: T. Boone Pickens and Energy Public Policy

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- May 15, 2013 4 Comments

“[A]s my father liked to tell me, ‘Son, a fool with a plan can beat a genius with no plan any day.’ Right now, when it comes to America and our effort to achieve greater energy security, we’re a foolish nation without a plan.

If it were up to me, America’s energy plan would have ….”

– T. Boone Pickens, Leadership Absent on Energy Plan,” Omaha World-Herald, May 1, 2013.

“The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine the can design.”

– F. A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism (1988), p. 76.

T. Boone Pickens, the author and marketer of three national energy plans (see yesterday’s post), is a “man of system,” to use Adam Smith’s phrase from the mid-18th century.

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Questar’s CEO on Energy and Climate Realities (A pretty darn good industry speech in our age of T. Boone Pickens, Aubrey McClendon, and other energy interventionists)

By The Editor -- May 1, 2009 4 Comments Continue Reading

Governor Rick Perry (R-TX), T. Boone Pickens, and the Enron Legacy of Windpower

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 24, 2009 15 Comments Continue Reading

The Strange Case of T. Boone Pickens

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 9, 2009 3 Comments Continue Reading

Hard Questions for T. Boone Pickens

By Mary Hutzler -- January 5, 2009 11 Comments Continue Reading

Wisdom from T. Boone against Rent-Seeking Pickens (remember when you said ….?)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- May 27, 2011 9 Comments Continue Reading

T. Boone Picken’s Little Green Deal (remembering a stillborn crony scheme)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 19, 2019 5 Comments Continue Reading