Sat, 24 Jun 2006

Worry About Real Problems

We are in no danger of running out of oil.

In free markets, there is a role played by certain people called "speculator". These people have more money than they need to live on, and have intimate knowledge of certain fields, such as the orange crop, or apple crop, or timber, .... or oil. Their function in the market is to even out price fluctuations. They buy when the price is low and sell when the price is high. Or the other way around, in which case they run out of money and go do something else. Thus, anybody who continues to speculate in a market can be presumed to be able to identify when prices are low and hold until prices are high.

In the process of buying while prices are low and selling when prices are high, they serve the raise the low prices (by increasing demand) and lower the high prices (by increasing supply). Speculation makes people better off even if they grumble when low prices get raised.

Speculators aren't (yet) speculating higher oil prices. Since speculators go out of business when they speculate badly, we have to presume that long-term speculators have expertise that exceeds our own. Were the situation otherwise, then we should become speculators ourselves.

What the USA needs right now is less central control over markets, and less war on {drugs, terrorism}. Since these are wars on jobs and tactics respectively, these wars can never be won, but can only be fought in perpetuity. We need to have the will to declare victory, stop wasting treasure and blood, and go home.

Worry about real problems.

Posted [13:09] [Filed in: economics] [permalink] [Google for the title] [digg this]