Dear Editor, I read Michael Ventura's "Letters @ 3am" every week and always love the standpoint that he takes. Something in last week's "If New Orleans Were Dry" piece hit a nerve though [Sept. 16]. He explains that the unequal distribution of wealth is caused by there being a predefined amount of wealth. In my experience, wealth is merely a measuring device for those goods and services that one can trade to a buyer. This buyer trades his wealth for the good or service because he values the product more than the wealth that he has relinquished. By this theorem, as population grows, so does wealth. I accept the truth that our economy will be turned on its head due to our dependence on petroleum. About time. Wealth will no longer be determined by how much oil you can dig out of the ground. A new "industrial lubricant" will come out, and we will be left in the dust for a few decades while new industrial and military giants surpass us (think China) because they were able to adapt. Sorry, just went on a tangent. The point is that wealth is not limited to as great a degree as you purport. It seems to be based on petroleum right now because that is what our world, especially the U.S., is dependent on now. Wealth is like energy; it is almost infinite, we just need to know how to harness it.