Big Oil Under Fire
- 11-20-2005, 01:05 PM
Yes, it is. It's called freedom, and I don't have to agree with someone to acknowledge that they should be allowed to use their property and money as they see fit regardless of my opinion. If they're not harming me or others, or my propety or others, I don't see the problem. It's not my business. I have to wonder what a horrible world it is you live in, where people can't provide for their own retirement without the government, where a women would have to face the choice (shudder) that she may have to sacrifice having a child for a while because she has no right to demand others pay for her choices. A world where a black man can't prove his own worth and get the pay he deserves without the government. A world where apparently no one can make a single decision for themselves without the government holding their hand to make sure they don't hurt themselves, or more to the point where the evil people who in the act of seeking profits created jobs and higher standards of living might hurt them. I have to admit if I lived among such incompetents I'd demand government regulation too. However, the people I live with tend to be able to take care of themselves.
I think it would easier to agree to disagree. Good luck with your government though, I'm sure if they don't throw you in prison for using roids, or breaking any of the other myriad laws they've enacted to make you safe, they'll make you taller, better looking, better in bed, eliminate all danger, get you a better car and get your lawn looking nice too. After all, all good things flow from the government and the only source of evil is people engaging in mutually beneficial exchanges.
- 11-20-2005, 03:19 PM
The only thing that is ever regulated is human weakness. Laws exist to protect the the weak from the corrupted.Fear of loss is the fuel that powers the manipulation of human nature. Choice is an illusion that those with power employ upon those without power. That illusion of choice is the carrot which we all must chase. The chase itself, is what powers the great machines of capitalism.When the illusion is removed( i.e. natural disasters, terrorism) the naked cause and effect reality is revealed.This is the point where people take notice of the inequities of rich and poor. People will become either angry and depressed which is debillitating to the workforce because we stop chasing the carrot, at least momentarily.So the powers that be must reaffirm their value to society(flucuating prices,terroristic threats)once the illusion is back in place,the chase can resume and it is buisness as usual.Now we can go back to our Christmas shopping.
CDB - I the economic theories you reference in your post are definitely logical and make a lot of sense. But they also assume that human beings are logical creatures and will always follow those logical constraints. And they're not. Humans generally **** all over eachother in order to make an extra dollar. I am not advocating big government, in fact I detest it nearly as much as you do. However, if it werent for at least some governmental intervention, we's still have slave labor. It does, after all, provide for the cheapest goods and the greatest profit margins.
11-20-2005, 06:43 PM
Also note that slave labor results in stagnation in a number of innovative fields. The Roman Republic was a period of extreme stagnation as far as technology was concerned because of slave labor. It wasn't until Caesar, and later Augustus as well, forced certain industries to hire freedmen and/or citizens that technology started to advance again in Rome. The reason is that before, there weren't enough jobs for freedmen because slaves handled everything. So freedmen resorted to banditry and worse.Originally Posted by BigVrunga
Sure those initiatives hurt rich merchants pockets initially, but eventually they actually made MORE money because there were more people with enough money to buy their goods.
11-21-2005, 01:47 PM
Whatever has happened in this thread I haven't reverted to name calling that I can recall. Guess that shows you're character. Be that as it may, I'm done with this topic because I've said all I need to.Originally Posted by Nullifidian
11-21-2005, 02:09 PM
I'm not name calling. I'm calling a spade a spade. You said that racism is ok because it should be a company's right to do give different benefits and different pay based on WHATEVER criteria they want. You said sexism is ok too for the same reasons. I'll admit, I'm jumping to conclusions with segregation but judging on your previous posts, I'm betting you'd think it was ok for a company to seperate whites and blacks under the assumption that "if people didn't like that, then don't work for that company."Originally Posted by CDB
I'm not saying you yourself are racist or sexist. You yourself however have stated you have no qualms with racism or sexism and do not think it should be illegal for private businesses to pay different groups lower wages based on race, sex, or religion.
11-21-2005, 02:41 PM
A couple last points. It was the government that enacted slavery. The Civil War was more about tarrifs and the fact that the north wanted to bleed the south dry. There was a reason why the first shot in the war was fired at a customs station, Fort Sumter. No where else in the western hemisphere was a war deemed necessary to end slavery. In other countries the slave owners were compensated and the slaves freed.Originally Posted by BigVrunga
You'll find most abolitionists, including Lincoln, were also heavily pro tarrif and pro protectionism in general. Most of the northern agitators for the Civil War were northen industrialists who wanted to revive the policies of inflation and property transer that made them rich during the previous wars in the US, even though the rest of the population got saddled with huge public debt and massive taxes. Ending slavery was in my opinion the one good thing the Lincoln did. But you should also not overlook the fact that it was the government that initially classified people as property, and the fact that a war that killed so many young men and divided the whole nation, the effects of which are still being dealt with today, should never be overlooked.
Actually it doesn't. Freed men who receive the result of their productivity in the form of wages out compete slave labor by a pretty wide margin. Slave labor results in substantial costs, on the owners and on the rest society, not to mention on the slaves, and is notoriously inefficient without the government propping it up and defraying the costs over all of society. The owners had to deal with large scale subsistence costs, there also massive security costs that were defrayed over society through conscription laws. Force everyone into the militia and they patrol the land, and among their duties was looking for runaway slaves.It does, after all, provide for the cheapest goods and the greatest profit margins.BV
The act of freeing slaves was also discouraged initially in the south and much more as the Civil War came closer. First because of the security risk to other slave holder's 'property'; large populations of free blacks meant semi safe harbor for runaway slaves which would endanger current slave holders. Second, as a reaction to abolishonist propaganda that got more intense as the outbreak of the war got closer.
Basically slavery of the type that existed in the south hasn't existed that often in history. Most societies that had slavery (Africa, Greece, Rome, etc) also had large scale manumission, slaves buying their freedom. As in Africa for most of the tribes, being a slave was more akin to being an indentured servant, a temporary status that you could get out of. While there is no such thing as a "good" master, and the passion surrounding this topic often stops people from discussing it logically, before you give alcolades to the government for freeing slaves you should first consider their role in perpetuating the practice, and look at whether a war was the only and most beneficial way for all to end the practice. The war to end slavery is more of an ex post facto justification anyway, at that time it was well known that the primary causes of friction between the north and south were economic in nature. Neither side was laudable in the absolute end, and Lincoln in my opinion deserves a historical reworking so people see him as what he was, the first large scale fascist in the modern world.
Here's a decent article on the subject if you feel like a quick read:
11-21-2005, 02:44 PM
And like I said, I'm out of it with you. You're coming close to crossing a line with me and I don't feel like pissing off Bobo or the mods anymore than I may already have as it is by continuing this.Originally Posted by Nullifidian
11-21-2005, 03:44 PM
Actually laws exist for a variety of reasons. Some laws exist to protect property, all property, from aggression by other. Other laws exist to empower government. Other laws exist for the specific purpose of wealth transfer. Other laws exist for aesthetic reasons.Originally Posted by anabolicrhino
Actually scarcity is what drives the market, and it's primary goal is the alleviation of scarcity.Fear of loss is the fuel that powers the manipulation of human nature. Choice is an illusion that those with power employ upon those without power. That illusion of choice is the carrot which we all must chase. The chase itself, is what powers the great machines of capitalism.
Not quite sure what you're saying here, but enjoy the shopping. Thanks to the powers that be you can get someone you love an Ipod instead of a new rock for their cave.When the illusion is removed( i.e. natural disasters, terrorism) the naked cause and effect reality is revealed.This is the point where people take notice of the inequities of rich and poor. People will become either angry and depressed which is debillitating to the workforce because we stop chasing the carrot, at least momentarily.So the powers that be must reaffirm their value to society(flucuating prices,terroristic threats)once the illusion is back in place,the chase can resume and it is buisness as usual.Now we can go back to our Christmas shopping.
11-22-2005, 06:21 AM
[quote=CDB]Actually laws exist for a variety of reasons. Some laws exist to protect property, all property, from aggression by other. Other laws exist to empower government. Other laws exist for the specific purpose of wealth transfer. Other laws exist for aesthetic reasons
I agree. These are extensions of the basic premise.
11-22-2005, 06:25 AM
scarcity is what drives the market, and it's primary goal is the alleviation of scarcity.[quote=CDB]
...give a man a fish and he has one meal..
...teach a man to fish and he has many meals...
...teach a man to create an artificial shortage of fish, so he can manipulate the market price and he eats steak,drives a nice car and lives in a big house!
11-22-2005, 06:35 AM
not quite sure what you're saying here, but enjoy the shopping. Thanks to the powers that be you can get someone you love an Ipod instead of a new rock for their cave.[/quote]
Yes as far as power structures go the current one has many rewards(carrots).However it like all structures of power, must be challenged in order to make it better to serve mankind, which must be its ultimate purpose unless it has become corrupted by the weakness of its implimentors..as far as expressing love through consumerism, thats a personal choice or maybe the illusion of that choice was created by a system that needs you to buy an ipod to perpetuate the market. The ipod is a perfect model of an artificial market.it serves no basic human need,it is an entertainment device.Ipod dominates the portable entertainment device market(85%).It dominates not because it was the first to market( i have been downloading mp3s and listening to them on a portable device since 1998).It is not the best design.(its internal hard drive is an inherent weakness and will soon be replaced by a removable flash type memory)It dominates because of a huge marketing canpaign that applied basic "fear of loss" advertizing technique(if you don't have one you are not as cool as me)The manufacturer also has "sweetheart" ipod only deals with various download sites.This blantant "control of access" is what keeps the market from being "free" You have an illusion of choice.(do I want a pink one or a blue one?)but no market alternative.
11-22-2005, 09:04 AM
There are plenty of market alternatives to the iPod though - people DO have a choice they just choose to go with the iPod because of the reasons you mentioned.
11-22-2005, 09:56 AM
[quote=anabolicrhino]scarcity is what drives the market, and it's primary goal is the alleviation of scarcity.Enterprising businessman saves up his fish instead of eating them, and uses these savings to support himself while he builds a capital good: a net. He hires people to use the net, they catch a hell of a lot more fish between them than before, and all of society is better off. And if he has more than the others he deserves it, no one else got off their ass and took the risk to build the net.Originally Posted by CDB
11-22-2005, 10:09 AM
Originally Posted by CDB
What you explained is an example of GOOD and ETHICAL competitive business practices.
Here's an example of unethical practices:
The man, after buying a net and making tons of money from it, builds a place where he breeds fish. Then he goes to the natural locations and poisons all the fish so that he is the only person you can get fish from. Then he drives the price of fish through the roof.
11-22-2005, 11:55 AM
Nice point. Once you figure out who is stopping anyone else from breeding fish, or who is letting that scumbag get away with poisoning everyone else's fish so no one can compete with him, then you'll start getting a hint as to where I'm coming from. And no regulation other than the protection of property rights would be necessary to stop this kind of unethical practice.Originally Posted by Nullifidian
Alternative situation: Man poisons all the fish, then gets the local government to pass regulations to 'protect' the waterways in the area so no one else can breed fish and compete with him. He then bribes local officials to make sure no one brings any charges against him. Man then gets the local government to pass licensing laws to make sure entry into the business of "unqualified" fisherman is restrained by an artificially high cost of entry. Man then gets government to pass health legislation making sure the conditions he raises his fish under are the ones deemed healthy, and since he's accumulated a lot of capital he can meet these standards and the cost of entry into the business goes up again, restraining competition even more. Man then enacts anti trust laws to make sure anyone who manages to get through all these obstacles has to reveal all his prices so they can be calibrated across the market lessening price compeition, and to make sure he can use the government to bring a private suit against anyone who engages in "unfair" or "cut throat" competitive practices, loosely defined as innovations he can't or won't match for whatever reason.
And when man gets rich after receiving all these favors and special protections from the government which did not have to give them to him and should not have given them to him, and is the only agency capable of enforcing such protections, the people get mad at him and not the government. People then put enough pressure on the government to pass a law redistributing a portion of the man's wealth onto them, the process keeps going until the market stagnates or collapses and then everyone is screwed. And of course, it's the businessman's fault, not the government's.
Last edited by CDB; 11-22-2005 at 12:35 PM.
11-22-2005, 12:23 PM
Originally Posted by CDB
I agree those are examples of bad government regulation. Regulation that hurts the market AND the people.
However, how about this kind of government regulation instead:
What if the government created regulation saying no one is allowed to poison fish. Then the guy can't poison them and eliminate competition in the first place.
Another example of government regulation which hurts is European drug price regulation. Europe "negotiates" (aka forces) low drug prices. Countries which have antionalized healthcare barter as an entire country so they can pretty much set any price they want. Drug companies have to make money though so they set prices very high in the US to make up for any losses in Europe. Thus Europe and Canada's low drug prices are the largest cause for the high drug prices in the US.
The problem here though is, how do we counter that? What can we do to, law-wise, to counter regulation that other countries enact that affects our market negatively?
11-22-2005, 01:11 PM
Kind of like protecting private property and allowing people to use it as they see fit, including to raise fish? There is no need for a specific regulation.Originally Posted by Nullifidian
Nothing. There is no new legislation that won't screw it up worse than it is already. What we can do is denationalize our own heavily regulated system so the benefits at our end are at least enough to outweigh the problems at their end. We can also stop subsidizing health care in our country so people from those countries stuck on waiting lists can't come over here and get treatment on our dime, and instead have to pay private businesses for services. We can relax or abolish drug import restrictions so people can buy from those countries at the artificially lowered prices, putting a greater strain on the nationalized systems and making them collapse sooner rather than later.Another example of government regulation which hurts is European drug price regulation. Europe "negotiates" (aka forces) low drug prices. Countries which have antionalized healthcare barter as an entire country so they can pretty much set any price they want. Drug companies have to make money though so they set prices very high in the US to make up for any losses in Europe. Thus Europe and Canada's low drug prices are the largest cause for the high drug prices in the US.
The problem here though is, how do we counter that? What can we do to, law-wise, to counter regulation that other countries enact that affects our market negatively?
Also relevant to this situation is that conservative and especially Austrian economists were the first to predict these situations. After WWI when governments tried to force an international trading beauracracy on the major countries of the world it was conservatives and Austrians that fought against it. Hayek in The Road to Serfdom and Ludwig Von Mises in Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War both pointed out that when nations set themselves up as trading bodies it would result in hyperprotectionism, central planning and nationalization of large portions of the private sector.
11-22-2005, 02:28 PM
Ok, property proection. That prevents them from poisoning other people's fish. But it is PUBLIC land. It isn't protecting someone's, it is limiting what people can do on GOVERNMENT property.
If it were private property, then let's have this as a scenario. What if one entity bought all of the land you could fish from? So basically he had a complete and total monopoly on fish in that way. The end result is identical: one guy controls the entire fish market and can set prices to whatever he wants. Due to there being no competition nor ability for there to be any competition (he owns all the land), no innovation will ever occur either.
11-22-2005, 02:36 PM
Don't mean to interrupt, but i have to say, this is an awesome thread, and I absoultely love reading everyone's points back and fourth
11-22-2005, 09:40 PM
I don't support the idea of pblic land. The tradgedy of the commons always happens and it goes to ****. The government is the worst caretaker of property. Let the government own it and it'll get leased out in one form or another to the highest bidder who, since they have no ownership and thus long term interest in the property, will rapeit for everything it's worth and then leave. All property should be private.Originally Posted by Nullifidian
That would be a good point if it were a probable situation. It isn't. There are alternatives for would be producers and the consumers and there always will be unless the government comes in and closes off the opportunities.If it were private property, then let's have this as a scenario. What if one entity bought all of the land you could fish from? So basically he had a complete and total monopoly on fish in that way. The end result is identical: one guy controls the entire fish market and can set prices to whatever he wants. Due to there being no competition nor ability for there to be any competition (he owns all the land), no innovation will ever occur either.
You're viewing the market as static and it's not. Even if one person did manage to get a hold of all the fish production or all the oil production or all of the production of anything (which incidentally never happens unless the government supports it and perpetuates it), the second they try to raise prices and/or cut production the price system reacts quickly, and as the prices and profits go up alternatives become more and more viable economically.
Say someone does get a hold of all the fish production in our little society. Some guy gets the idea to build a man made lake on his own property. However, the cost doesn't justify it. As the fish barron raises prices, either arbitrarily or through a cut in production, the profits that he starts earning make the lake alternative viable. If he raises prices too high new competition comes in and undercuts him. Take this out of the completely theoretical framework and it's easy to see it as an even more ridiculous situation. There are different types of food someone can eat, just as there are different types of fuel people can use and different types of transportation people can use.
Back to theory, say the man made lake idea comes in. Now to eliminate competition the fish barron has to become the owner of all the land in the society. Once he does that, someone then might get the idea to import fish from another neighboring town. Then he has to deal with that threat any which way he can.
All this illustrates a theoretical and practical fact about the market: the cost of legally obtaining a truly impervious monopoly are prohibitive in the extreme. It's impossible in theory and practice. No matter how far the monopoly extends the very exercising of the monopoly's power leads to its own destruction. As profits in the industry go up it gets more and more attractive for competitors to get involved to get a piece of the action any which way they can.
Now, what is someone going to do, what's cheaper: A, keep spending more and more money and investing more and more capital to keep a stranglehold on a single market so you can set whatever prices you want; or B, compete like everyone else and earn a reasonable profit, and if someone tries to out do you, you out do them? Which is more attractive? The answer is neither, because in practical reality we have option C, get the government to come in an enforce your monopoly hold on a market. A simple set of bribes, some simple lobbying for protectionist laws and presto, instant monopoly and profits.
And maybe this is where our point of disagreement is in the end and I should explain it. The government is the evil in those situations because only the government can legally force you to do something. Only the government can arbitrarily tell you to do something, or to not do something, and legally use deadly force to get you to comply. The most any corporation can do absent government protection or neglect is to present you with a not so good choice. But it's still a choice. And if the government is respecting it's role and protecting everyone's rights and not selling them out to the highest bidder even the situation of being presented with a not so good choice becomes remote because nothing is being actively done to destroy your right to choose.
Monopoly, as with the slavery question that came up earlier in the thread, put aside the moral objections for a moment, the idea is just impracticle. It doesn't work very well, it costs a ****load of money, wastes resources and carries the seeds of its own destruction within itself. Unless the government steps in and legally forces people to accept the option it doesn't work. Unless the government comes in and takes those costs that would be born by the monopolist alone and defrays them over all society the option doesn't work.
Now, do I doubt oil companies are colluding? I honestly don't know. I don't know the owners, they may or may not be colluding to raise prices. If they are it is the morass of protectionist and senseless legislation surrounding the industry that makes this possible and profitable. As such, if it is true, I blame the government and not the oil companies. They may be dispicable, but in the end they are just playing by the rules the government sets. I blame the person who sets stupid rules for the results, not those who follow them when they either have no choice or it's to their benefit to do so.
11-22-2005, 09:41 PM
11-22-2005, 09:49 PM
11-22-2005, 10:12 PM
I remember when I was less skeptical about "free' markets. I used to wonder why more people were not successful.The world could be a perfect place if we all could follow a few simple rules of ethics and accountability.Then I discovered that not everybody likes to play by the rules.Some people actually derive pleasure from cheating, not just what they "gain" by cheating,but just the "act" itself.So with the afformentioned preface I submit a corollary to the "fish" model.-The guy living in the big house with the nice car could add a vaction home, if he in an act of selfless eco-consciousness collected all the "poisoned" fish, at a minimal dead fish removal rate (paid for with local tax dollars), ground them up and sold them as "fish patty surprise" to some unsuspecting third world citizen who was too hungry to notice the strange taste.When the population of patty poppers start to develop some symptoms of sickness.The "fish patty" salesman enlists the help of the government in the form of a UN task force to test the land and water for a source of the illness.When they finally realize that the fish are not safe for human consumption.The fish patty salesman has already gotten free land surveys and soil analysis, from which he discovers that there are valuable minerals that can be mined.He then convinces the third worlders to sign over their land mineral rights in trade for a new "poison-free" fishpatty supply.He now repackages his tainted fishpatties, so that they can be sold as gourmet cat food.The fishpatty salesman can now afford to buy a NFL franchise, a tv station and one state senator!.Originally Posted by Nullifidian
11-22-2005, 10:22 PM
Badoom kshhhhh!...I don't have time to read the whole thread, but is Big Fish Oil under fire too???
11-22-2005, 10:45 PM
Yes, they actually had to form a Big Fish Oil Coopertive ( big FOC for short ) to retain legal council because a women with sensative taste budds, sued them when the french fries and apple pies tasted like fish.They settled the law suit when a "special independent lab study" showed that french fries made with Big FOC oil had fat burning,muscle building and possible libido enhancement properties.The woman can now be seen in their national ad campaign as a spokesmodel.Two days after signing her endorsment deal her breasts grew two cup sizes, which big FOC labs believes is directly related to habitual use of their product.Originally Posted by milwood
07-21-2009, 09:50 PM
07-21-2009, 10:57 PM
07-22-2009, 08:58 AM
No one 'sets' the price. The product is offerred to buyers by sellers, the price is set by the most competent of the two groups. What we're dealing with here though is a market where supply is artificially manipulated and subsidized and screwed with, and demand likewise ****ed around with, such that prices aren't equilibrating supply and demand so the market will clear but generally doing who knows **** all. Well over half the supply of oil is directly controlled by governments, the remainder is significantly regualted. To call what remains 'a market' and to expect a price that makes some sort of sense is kind of a bad joke.
07-22-2009, 10:21 AM
07-22-2009, 08:52 PM
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