Big Oil Under Fire

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  1. Last edited by jmh80; 05-28-2006 at 04:52 AM.


  2. Quote Originally Posted by Nullifidian
    CDB, you don't HAVE to buy water. Instead you could just die.
    You're missing the point. No one person owns or even will own all the fresh water in the world. It's ridiculous to say what would happen if... when that if will never happen.

    You don't HAVE to buy gasoline, instead you can walk 3 miles to the nearest MacDonald's and not even make enough money to pay rent at the biggest ****hole in your area. And since you don't have money for gas you can't move unless you hop on a bus. Oops, you don't have money for a friggin bus because you work at MacDonald's.
    Funny, I know people who have never owned a car in their lives and they're doing fine. Some live in the city, some in the suburbs. I had a physics teacher who had one car, he brought it out once or twice a year. Otherwise he just rode his bike everywhere. He was doing fine, healthier than most too.

    When you dont' restrict the market you get sweatshops. You get forced labor. You get bonded labor. You get slavery.
    Please show one instance where this has happened without government help and intervention to make it happen.

    You may hold faith in the market, but the market is controlled by the rich. The rich are shortsighted.
    Given their ability to get money and hold on to it by using it productively, they are by example much more far sighted than the poor, living day to day when a little savings would go a long way.

    Given the opportunity, they would bleed everyone else dry until there was just rich, and dirt poor.
    Please explain how they do this absent the backing of the government. The government either has to lend their force to the rich, or ignore their abuses of other's rights in order for this to happen. In other words the rich are no different than anyone else, and absent any legal enforcement of their will have, in the end, just as much power as any other person.


    Like form a monopoly for example
    Please show me one example of a monopoly that formed without government collusion. Hint: the traditional historical examples don't count, they were increasing production and lowering prices faster than any other players in their respective markets at the time. See articles by Thomas DiLorenzo who has examined the historical data at the time anti trust laws were conceived. He did this in 1985. Up until that point absolutely no systematic look at whether or not monopolies actually formed during that time had never been undertaken.

    In all cases the prices of the goods and services provided by the trusts were falling in line with the prices of other goods, and in most cases much faster with concurrent increases in production up to seven times that of GDP. Monopolies are supposed to restrict production and raise prices.

    Now of course if you were the owner of a company and some big cartel was raising prices the first thing you'd do is complain to the government. Wait, on second thought since you could either raise your prices too or keep them lower and get more business, maybe you wouldn't. However, if someone was legitimately out competing you and you either wouldn't or couldn't beat them, then I think you would go to the government and complain about the horrible unethical and cut throat competitive methods used by these monopolies, these trusts. What horrible people! I mean they're driving you, the hard working honest constituent of some congressman, to whom of course you donate a lot of money, out of business. A sad state of affairs indeed.

    Of course monopoly in the traditional sense and as the word is still used by Austrians means a special grant of privilege from the government to some individual or group for the manufacture, distribution and sale of a specific product. In that sense we do have many monopolies and cartels these days. What you seem to miss is that without the government enforcing their existence, for a price of course, they would not survive.

    Afterall, why innovate when you can continue making money with what you've got? You might say, oh but small companies would start up and compete. Small companies start up and get bought out and their ideas typically get hidden in some basement somewhere. It happens ALL THE TIME.
    Then you won't have any trouble providing examples. I'd suggest Dominck Armentano's books and articles on this subject if you'd like an opinion actually based on evidence instead of rhetoric.

    Example: my grandfather, 40 years ago, went to an invention fair. He met a guy there who had invented a washingmachine that didn't use water or soap. It ran purely using ultrasonics. The machine was able to clean plumbing grease out of my grandfather's shirt. It was far better than any conventional washingmachine, it didn't wear out fabrics, it got them cleaner, and it didn't require soap OR water, just electricity; about as much as a dryer does. Sounds great right? You bet. My grandfather scraped some money together to invest in the guy's company. When he called the guy back, he found out a detergent company had bought the rights to the patent from the guy for a large sum of money. Hmm, I wonder why no one has ever seen that type of washingmachine since???
    A simple internet search reveals tons of these machines available for clothes, industrial parts, etc. Incidentally patents are government granted protections, and it's only enforcement of those laws that would stop anyone else from using a similar technology. In other words if what you say is true detergent companies relied on the power of the government to restrict the introduction of a new idea. Without that power they wouldn't have been able to do ****, and they were not that successful from what I can see at a glance.

    The man did not have to sell the patent, apparently he thought it was easier than raising the capital to start his own company. Maybe he was right. Perhaps selling that patent to a company with enoug accumulated capital to bring it to market was the only way to get the idea out. But I'm sorry your father's dreams were cruched by the evil laundry detergent cartel.

    Take a look at cable companies. Until recently they were the ONLY option for TV outside of the standard networks.
    And who controlled the airwaves and the infrastructure and everything else necessary to bring cable television and broadcast television to people in their homes? Who auctioned off the airwaves on the reasoning that they were a 'public good' owned by 'the people' and therefore actually owned by... Oh yeah, the government.

    In New Jersey as well as a lot of other areas, they are not regulated and thus the cable companies OWN the cable lines in given areas. As a result, they have local monopolies. There is no competition,
    Satelite tv, books, radio... They did not hold a monopoly, I'd suggest you look up the definition of the word, Austrian and common.

    Then satellite became affordable and low and behold the cable rates plummeted.
    Holy ****! You mean, by God, you mean, the market worked?!?!?!?! People wanted a lower priced alternative and it showed up without the government having to pull it out of its ass?!?!?!?!?! Wow, what a ****ing concept.

    Additionally, in states like PA where the cable companies DO NOT own the cable lines, cable rates are far cheaper. Why? Because they don't own the lines, and in the cases where a cable company does own the lines in an area, they HAVE TO rent them out to any company that choses to offer service in that area and the rates are regulated so as to prevent them from forcing competition out.
    Justout of curiosity, who is stopping the laying or stringing of new lines that other companies can use. Oh yeah, it's the...

    Sometimes regulation is good. TO A DEGREE. Totally unregulated economies and markets are almost as bad as fully restricted ones.
    Since we've never seen the former and have seen plenty of the latter (not too successful unless you like crumbling infrastructures and massive unemployment, starvation, etc.) I will hold off judgement on that claim. You may be right, the evidence suggests you are very wrong.
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  3. Quote Originally Posted by jmh80
    All this is trying to say (with some facts) that motor gasoline sales in the US really aren't ****.
    Which is something I love. People take a product that they think is so critical, and in the end it really isn't except in the fact that the government has ****ed the market to the point that something which should be fairly easy to come by, isn't. And almost no one is willing to look at any other industry providing something just as critical, food or computers for example, and take a look to see why they're working so well and the oil and gas industry is such a cluster ****.

  4. CDB, gas prices didn't start to skyrocket until it was put on the commodities market. Before that it was less than a dollar a gallon.

    Seriously, you're living in a friggin dream world. Your ideas are nothing more than utopian nonsense. You're ideas are just as unworkable and pointless as Karl Marx's. They look absolutely wonderful on paper. They sound tremendous and you can argue till you are blue in the face until you see it in reality.


    I can't really argue too much against you because you are arguing the point of a theoretical economic condition. I can only pick out close examples of unrestricted capitalism which you of course go on to claim are restricted.


    Let me ask you, how exactly were coal mining companies restricted at the turn of the century? Did the government restrict them? NO. The government didn't do jack ****. The government couldn't care less. In fact, the government didn't step in until the mining company's employees started fighting back against the company with force and forming unions. Those companies weren't taxed in any way, and they didn't have to abide by any laws whatsoever. They in fact made their own laws in the mining towns they owned. Really, coal mining industry at the turn of the century is the closest I can think of when it comes to totally unrestricted capitalism. And that is what you'll get if your "dream" were to ever come true. Corporations OWNING you, me, and everyone else. Determining whether we live or die, and deciding how we'll live. Basically the exact same situation as socialism only instead of it being a country it will be a corporation. Same ****, different name.


    Autonomous nations are a logical extension of the what corporations become as an end result of purely unrestricted capitalism.

  5. Null - it was 85 cents per gallon in the late '90's when the price of oil plummeted to below $10 a barrell due to the Asian economy collapse.

    Try again.
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  6. Quote Originally Posted by Nullifidian
    I can't really argue too much against you because you are arguing the point of a theoretical economic condition. I can only pick out close examples of unrestricted capitalism which you of course go on to claim are restricted.
    Unrestricted capitalism has never existed except sporadically here and there. All through history we and most other people have been subject to varying degrees of government mixed with business, robber barons that use the legal force of the government to get what people would not willingly give them. I believe in regulation to stop two things, the use of force against other people and defrauding them, period.

    Let me ask you, how exactly were coal mining companies restricted at the turn of the century? Did the government restrict them? NO.
    Very good, now you're learning. they weren't that I know of. If you'll recall I had no problem with the coal miners. You said their choice was coal mining or death. I don't suppose everyone in those towns were miners, but let's except that as fact: mine or die. Now, IF the government had restricted the mining companies and forced them to adopt standards for safety, licensing, etc, that the accumulated capital of time did not justify, the cost of doing business would not have been worth the profit to the companies. They wouldn't have been there, and deprived of what you say was their only alternative, those would-be miners would havehad one choice: to die. I'm sure they preferred the mines.

    Going from poverty to prosperity is not a short step, it doesn't just happen at ths snap of beauracrat's fingers. And just because some of the conditions people have endured over time to get here might horrify you or me, the bottom lines is they wouldn't have done it had the alternatives been better. Because of the path they took we've been given more choices. Those choices don't just pop out of no where.

    Like it or not, aesthetically displeasing as it may be, the productivity of some people does not justify the capital investment necessary to make their working conditions as good as most of us would prefer. However it's a dumb comparisson to compare what I want in my situation and my options with what someone else wants in their situation with their options. People think Nike is exploiting kids in the third world to sew shoes together, frequently ignoring that the only alternatives for those kids are prostitution, crime or death.

    Economies have to evolve towards better conditions, it doesn't happen out of no where. That conditions early on the development are deplorable to those later on is completely off the point, because that is the point: improvement over time. Take your reasoning to it's extreme and we have to wonder how much 'better off' we would have been had the first dregs of government that formed among the cavemen voted themselves a twentieth century standard of living and working conditions. After all, it's that easy...

    Quote Originally Posted by William Art Carden
    But let’s lay all this aside for the moment. Many will reject the argument predicated on "voluntary exchange" precisely because a lot of people have to make decisions between two undesirable (by western standards) occupations. Also, contentions of "market power" and "monopsonistic exploitation of labor" have traditionally been levied as explanations for low wages and shoddy working conditions. In this light, let’s look at what happens if we pursue different policy alternatives.


    For clarity’s sake, we’ll use an example (the conclusions will be general enough). Let’s consider a shoe company, say Nike, which is trying to decide whether or not to expand a factory in China. They expect to sell their shoes for $50 a pair.


    Suppose now that a group of reformers, motivated by the heart-rending images of the "unbearable heaviness of industry," descend on the Chinese embassy and convince the Chinese government to adopt western-style labor regulations. Starting tomorrow, Chinese factories have to adopt western-style working conditions and a minimum wage of $5.15 an hour. How will entrepreneurs and business owners respond?

    According to conventional wisdom (and Marxian theory), the firm will respond by improving working conditions, producing the same quantity of shoes, and continuing to employ the same number of people at higher wages. The additional costs of doing so will merely reduce Nike’s profits, which are a product of Nike’s capitalist exploitation.


    It is important to remember, however, that firms don’t produce in isolation. They respond to incentives, which are determined by the institutional framework. In this case, formal constraints on wages and working conditions will lead to different outcomes.


    These institutional changes haven’t affected the prices that entrepreneurs expect to receive. It is possible that some people may be willing to pay higher prices for goods that are produced under better working conditions—see, for example, the popularity of "fair- trade" coffee—but it is unlikely that these changes in wages and working conditions will affect the price that Nike expects to receive for their output. However, these changes will affect the costs that the firm expects to incur.


    When firms decide to produce, they estimate a price that they expect to receive for their goods (in this case, $50 for a pair of shoes). They then bid for factors of production—skilled labor, tools, unskilled labor, machines, land, etc.—by offering wages and prices. Profit-seeking firms try to produce a quantity of goods at which the revenue received from the last good produced is only slightly greater than the cost of producing that last good—in other words, where marginal revenue is only slightly higher than marginal cost (neoclassical economics claims that firms maximize profits when marginal revenue is equal to marginal cost; however, Murray Rothbard has demonstrated that the two can never be precisely equal). The firm’s costs will skyrocket when the state intervenes, and the profit-maximizing level of output will be much lower, all other things equal.


    The firm responds by doing one of two things: (1) They restrict production, because production of higher levels of output will no longer be profitable, or (2) They move to a different country with less-stringent labor laws (this merely moves the example, so we’ll go ahead and assume that the firm doesn’t do this).

    A firm’s decision to restrict production may manifest itself in one of two ways. Either the firm will close a plant that is already in operation, or it will not invest in a new plant. In either case there may be apparent winners. Some workers will have higher wages and better working conditions, at least in the short run. This is what we will see. However, we have to take a page from the great French economist Frédéric Bastiat and take account of that which is not seen.

    Lower output requires that firms invest fewer resources in labor and capital. In our example, Nike produces fewer shoes. This means fewer jobs, lower wages, and fewer "perks" like improved working conditions. These comprise the unseen costs of intervention—we don’t see the shoes that aren’t produced, the capital that isn’t invested, the workers who aren’t employed, or the wages that aren’t paid.

    This even hurts the apparent "winners" in the long run. It may well be the case that wages and working conditions improve; however, it is also true that the tendency in an unfettered market is for wages to increase and for working conditions to improve anyway. The short-term improvements will be obvious and apparent, but they will come at the expense of the future improvements that don’t occur when production isn’t as profitable as it would be on an unfettered market. In sum, everyone is made worse off. Firms are less profitable. Fewer shoes are produced. Workers are involuntarily unemployed. Capital isn’t invested. Future improvements in wages and working conditions are retarded.
    The government didn't do jack ****. The government couldn't care less. In fact, the government didn't step in until the mining company's employees started fighting back against the company with force and forming unions. Those companies weren't taxed in any way, and they didn't have to abide by any laws whatsoever. They in fact made their own laws in the mining towns they owned.
    Grant this is true, you prove my point. Without the force of LAW, with government IGNORING abuses and violence or AIDING those abuses those coal companies wouldn't have been able to do jack ****. Why you can't see that it is the marriage of government and industry that produces these bad conditions, and that the government is the true evil in that situation because they, not the corporations, have the legal monopoly on the use of violence, that I can't understand.

    I of course noted that you ignored it when I point out the massive government involvement and restrictions in those markets you said had monopolies. I also noted that you ignored the apparently wide availability of those ultrasonic washing machines that were, according to you, crushed by the evil laundry detergent cartel. It's one of the things that got me into Libertarianism and Austrian economics specifically, the fact that they actually brought evidence to bear to prove their points. Most people are taught the two disciplines economics and history in school. And sadly, most historians don't know jack **** about economics and most economists don't know jack **** about history. It's a bad state of affairs, but it makes me laugh.

  7. Quote Originally Posted by jmh80
    Null - it was 85 cents per gallon in the late '90's when the price of oil plummeted to below $10 a barrell due to the Asian economy collapse.

    Try again.
    You shoulkd give up, as I should have. Evidence doesn't matter.

  8. I'm fat dumb and happy
    Last edited by jmh80; 05-28-2006 at 04:53 AM.

  9. Quote Originally Posted by Nullifidian
    I'm all for capitalism, but this just doesn't seem right. I mean, taking advantage of people's misfortunates and then your taking advantage of them causing more people to die; that just doesn't seem right.
    Isn't this the basis for civilization?

    We all take advantage of people's misfortunes to advance our own. Anyone who says they don't is a liar. We've all done it.

  10. Windfall profits? They are taking steps at the right direction but not solving the problem. The problem is how the oil companies have us by the balls. Not to forget the hostile countries we use oil from. Like Saudi Arabia, which frequently funds al Qaeda. How about Hugo Chavez and Venezuela, who owns Citgo?

    The sooner America moves to better sources, hell more American sources, the better.

    Ethanol from corn. Its renewable and can provide lots of money and jobs in America instead of funding Osama's next attack or stroking Hugo Chavez's ego along with making deals with his butt buddy, Fidel Castro.

    Another source is Biodiesel. A 1:1 conversion of raw products to energy that is formed from animal fats. The large cattle and hog industry will benefit greatly from this.

  11. Windfall profits? They are taking steps at the right direction but not solving the problem. The problem is how the oil companies have us by the balls. Not to forget the hostile countries we use oil from. Like Saudi Arabia, which frequently funds al Qaeda. How about Hugo Chavez and Venezuela, who owns Citgo?

    The sooner America moves to better sources, hell more American sources, the better.

    Ethanol from corn. Its renewable and can provide lots of money and jobs in America instead of funding Osama's next attack or stroking Hugo Chavez's ego along with making deals with his butt buddy, Fidel Castro.

    Another source is Biodiesel. A 1:1 conversion of raw products to energy that is formed from animal fats. The large cattle and hog industry will benefit greatly from this.
    That's my question as well...WHY isnt there a big push toward alternate forms of energy? I know replacing the current petroleum based infrastructure would be a huge undertaking, and that's why it should be something akin to America's mission to go the moon back in the 60's - the whole country should be focusing on it.

    You want to shut down the terrorists? Take away one of their primary sources of income. Create an America that can depend on itself instead of relying on other countries that would like to see us dead for our vital resources.

    I commend companies like Toyota, who are obviously making great strides toward getting away from gasoline to power their automobiles. Or, at least moving toward using far LESS gasoline.

    Instead of focusing on a long term strategy to free America from the shackles of petroleum, we're spending 6 billion a month to rebuild a country in order to protect a valuable source of oil, among other things. I digress though, that's not the topic of this thread and I dont want to go off on a tangent.

    BV

  12. The problem with ethanol is that we'd have to use over 85% of the land of the US to grow enough corn to supply our vehicles.

    Isn't quite reasonable is it? Unless you like living in a corn field.

  13. Last edited by jmh80; 05-28-2006 at 04:54 AM.

  14. The problem with ethanol is that we'd have to use over 85% of the land of the US to grow enough corn to supply our vehicles.

    Isn't quite reasonable is it? Unless you like living in a corn field.
    Corn might not be the best solution, Brazil is making a big move toward ethanol and I believe they're using sugar cane. I know that we really dont have the climate for mass sugar cane fields, but whatabout genetic engineering? The technology exists today to modify a plant genetically to exhibit the qualities we want/need in it. I dont see why, with enough ingenuity and effort, the perfect plant for ethanol production could not be designed.

    Of course, i wouldnt want to eat it

    BV - what I'd like to see is the opening of oil and gas deposits in the US.

    I'm so ****ing tired of people talkign about reducing foreign dependence when we can actually do something about it!

    I'm making the "leap" that a hydrogen economy ain't gonna happen in my lifetime.

    The strategy is probably to use up everybody else's oil first before we tap into our own. That makes sense, but how many billions of dollars are going to get funneled to the MidEast before that happens? If the world had put its efforts into an alternative fuel source decades ago, I bet you AlQueda wouldnt have enough money to get off the sand dunes today.

    BV

    BV

  15. Last edited by jmh80; 05-28-2006 at 04:55 AM.

  16. I differ with you on Al Queda. I think they'd be getting their money somehow irregardless if the world is operated on a hydrocarbon economy.
    Be it drugs or whatever, they'll find a way.
    Yeah, you've got a point there...

  17. In their opening remarks, Exxon Mobil CEO Lee Raymond and Chevron CEO David O'Reilly said their companies and others in the industry invest billions in developing new sources of energy no matter the market price of oil or the level of the industry's profits.

    "Since 2002...we invested what we earned," O'Reilly said.

    Several executives said that the industry faces costs of between $18 billion to $30 billion to repair damages from hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

    Raymond argued that industry profits as a percent of revenue were in line with other industries, adding that companies had to use earnings to invest in new sources of oil.
    Considering all oil prices are developed based on projected costs, I personally believe this argument is a valid reason to increase prices. I don't see that as price gouging--and trust me, I hate these oil prices as much as anybody because I'm more broke than most

    If you owned a hamburger shop, maybe your burgers would be a buck or two more expensive while you repaired the place. Makes sense to me.

    Now, if they can't prove that they are using profits to repair damaged properties as a result of the hurricanes, then I'd say price gouging is evident and they should be held accountable.

    I personally believe people think big business are much more shady than they really are. When you have a lot, you have a lot to lose. Enron showed that

  18. "I bomb atomically. Socrates. Philiosiphies. Hypothesis. Can't be definin' why I be dropping these mockeries. Lyrically performed armed robbery. Flee with da lottery. Possibly they spotted me."
    Last edited by jmh80; 05-28-2006 at 04:56 AM.

  19. I will admit CDB DID make a good point regarding oil and inelastic vs. elastic goods.

    My girlfriend's father works for an oil shipping business, and he was saying one of the reasons the price of oil is this high is because of our EPA regulations. The EPA requires many different kinds of fuel types. Additionally, certain types of fuels are taxed while others are not. In some cases, the fuel is identical or near identical. For example, home heating fuel is nearly identical to diesel. However, home heating fuel is not taxed the same as diesel is. To differentiate, home heating fuel has a red dye added to it. Because of the dye, home heating fuel has to be refined seperately from diesel even though the same equipment is used. This causes a doubling of equipment costs and operating costs. Furthermore, because of a shortage in refining capabilities in California, and the fact that California has something like 28 different fuel types (due to their preposterous EPA regs), many other refineries in the US must retool to be able to make certain fuels for Cali.


    To top things off, we have different gasoline regs during the summer than we do in the winter. In the summer, the only refineries capable of making gasoline that passes inspection are ones in the US, which as you know we have a shortage of. In the winter however we can use foreign refineries for much cheaper. As we speak, there are several oil tankers waiting off the coast to deliver winter fuels. My gf's father said this is the reason the gas prices are dropping so much now; because we are soon going to be getting foreign refined gas at a cheaper price. Domestic refined gas costs so much more right now because of all the refineries that were blasted during katrina et al.

  20. Quote Originally Posted by jmh80
    The problem with ethanol is that we'd have to use over 85% of the land of the US to grow enough corn to supply our vehicles.

    Isn't quite reasonable is it? Unless you like living in a corn field.
    I'm not suggesting we go 100% ethanol. With this, geothermal heat (that is readily available but untapped in the Rocky Mountains), biodiesel, etc., there's no real reason why we should be using petroleum within 20-25 years. Obviously it would be almost impossible to convert to alternative energies right away.

    We will have to go alternative sometime. Oil efficiency is improving but there might be maybe 100-150 years worth of petroleum tops. No need to completely drain it out before moving on.

    We might as well start going alternative sooner than later.

    Sugar cane is in fact better at ethanol. I agree but I think moving from oil, we should try to make sure America itself is a major contributor of alternative energy, instead of being at the mercy of ultra-corrupt dictators. Since corn grows better, thats why I think its a good idea to use it, instead of using corn for High Fructose Corn Syrup.

    I differ with you on Al Queda. I think they'd be getting their money somehow irregardless if the world is operated on a hydrocarbon economy.
    Be it drugs or whatever, they'll find a way.
    Yeah but the Saudi family makes no apology or attempt to cover up that they pay Osama. They get money mainly from oil, which US is the largest consumer of. If we pull out entirely, it will cripple them. Since the Saudi family probably cares about themselves more than al Qaeda, they will get less money.

    Anyway, I'm sorry to get off on a tangent with alternative energies and what oil funds go towards.

  21. Sugar cane is in fact better at ethanol. I agree but I think moving from oil, we should try to make sure America itself is a major contributor of alternative energy, instead of being at the mercy of ultra-corrupt dictators. Since corn grows better, thats why I think its a good idea to use it, instead of using corn for High Fructose Corn Syrup.
    Amen to that brother!! Imagine the paradigm shift...what would the petroleum and pharmaceutical industries do with cheap fuel and healthier Americans?


    Yeah but the Saudi family makes no apology or attempt to cover up that they pay Osama. They get money mainly from oil, which US is the largest consumer of. If we pull out entirely, it will cripple them. Since the Saudi family probably cares about themselves more than al Qaeda, they will get less money.
    I agree with JMH80 that there'd be an AlQueda no matter what, but Id be willing to bet they'd be far less of a threat if their funds werent virtually limitless like they are currently. They can sell all the dope they want, it wont even scrape what those countries have made from their oil. Hell, we could end this absurd 'drug war' while we're at it...where would their money come from then? Its a simple solution, but far too complicated to implement any time soon.

    BV

  22. Quote Originally Posted by BigVrunga
    Amen to that brother!! Imagine the paradigm shift...what would the petroleum and pharmaceutical industries do with cheap fuel and healthier Americans?
    What you said right there is probably the reason why alternative fuels aren't being researched.

    I agree with JMH80 that there'd be an AlQueda no matter what, but Id be willing to bet they'd be far less of a threat if their funds werent virtually limitless like they are currently. They can sell all the dope they want, it wont even scrape what those countries have made from their oil. Hell, we could end this absurd 'drug war' while we're at it...where would their money come from then? Its a simple solution, but far too complicated to implement any time soon.

    BV
    I agree once again. I think America needs a complete and total retooling of the government. It seems grim but to me, the only real solution seems to be revolution.

  23. What you said right there is probably the reason why alternative fuels aren't being researched.
    Well they are being researched, but not with close to the vehemence they should be. I would imagine with something so serious the government would be making a national effort to make a change. And not by getting involved in trying to regulate an industry - like CDB mentioned above that just adds to the mess. By funding research, motivating the public through the media, etc. If you think about, many of the great 'failures' of our government (drug policy, health care, the list goes on) create tons of jobs, and make a lot of people a great deal of money. Where would the drug companies be without all these sick people? Think of all the advertising agencies that wouldnt have those great contracts with the pharmaceutical if their adds werent plastered all over radio and television. Think of all the people who work with or are affiliated with the DEA, if the 'drug war' just up and ended, what would they do?

    I agree once again. I think America needs a complete and total retooling of the government. It seems grim but to me, the only real solution seems to be revolution.
    The crazy thing is the people who started this country tried to set it up so the people could peacefully change the government if things got out of hand. Our system of checks and balances does work pretty well, but it definitely has its flaws. The republicans and democrats have a monopoly on power in this country, and it seems like no matter who has control things keep on sliding into the sheetpile.

    The problem is, the people who really want change arent voting. Or, not enough people really want change, or are to busy with their day-to-day lives to give it any real thought. It takes a lot of money and inflluence to be a politician, and most of the people the government craps on have neither.

    BV

  24. Quote Originally Posted by Nullifidian
    To top things off, we have different gasoline regs during the summer than we do in the winter.
    Were it not for the lunatic level of regulation out there, I would have moved to CA a long time ago. This deep freeze **** in NY sucks.

    Please understand, I am not against laws in general, nor am I a fan of corporations. Most of them are sickly disgusting organizations, set up to limit the responsibility and liability of those at the top and to screw those at the bottom, and they are begging for government protection at every turn. I'd wager most of our corporations couldn't survive in a truly free market.

    However, the laws I would favor are only those that stop aggression against others or their property. Do I think it's unethical if oil companies raise prices in the face of a crisis when they know they generally know they don't have to? Yes. Be that as it may, if there were doubt about whether or not to raise prices to stop shortages, were there more competition there would likely be one or more companies who in such situations would not raise prices. These companies, if proven right, would rightfully end up with more customers after the crisis had abated.

    I'm sure you can guess my opinion of who is to blame for lack of competition in this and other markets.

  25. Yep. It has been pretty warm this year though, you've got to admit.
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