This is one of the clearest instances of why markets are now the single biggest direct threat to humanity.
From a market perspective, this makes perfect sense. The biggest profits are to be made from oil production. Saudi oil is over 98% profit (FOB at the port). It is a capitalists dream commodity – high demand, easy to restrict supply – great profit potential.
From a humanity as a whole perspective – the science is clear – we need to be developing alternatives to fossil fuels. But the easiest alternative (solar) is widely distributed, and cannot be easily monopolised and turned into profit – so there is very little market incentive to invest in it.
Result – markets direct massive effort into fossil fuels, posing ever greater risk to humanity, while alternatives find it very hard to attract capital (representative of skilled human labour) to further development.
It is a clear case of the mathematical reality that market values are fundamentally based in scarcity and cannot deal meaningfully with abundance.
Abundance of anything has zero scarcity, therefore zero value in a market. Markets will always have this inbuilt incentive to prevent or destroy any real abundance.
We have (and have had for many decades) the technical capacity to deliver an abundance of all the necessities of life to every human being on the planet. The thing that stops us doing so is markets (aka money), as there is not (nor can there ever be) any profit in delivering such abundance.
In this limiting case of true abundance delivered by full automation – market values are antithetical to human values.
We are rapidly approaching the point in our technical development where market incentives pose more systemic risk to human survival than they deliver in benefit.
We need to move our governance structures beyond market values.
Markets can be a useful tool where real scarcity exists, and no market can make useful decisions where real abundance is present or a likely outcome.