New study here.
I don’t understand economics very well, but this seems ridiculous. What is the point of this? Why are 50% of all oil trades made by people who are not even buying or selling oil, but instead are just betting on futures, that is whether or not the price will go up or down? Ridiculous. That’s not buying and selling, that’s just gambling. So capitalism requires gambling in order to run its economy? Good Lord, what next?
This seems absurd to me. People who are rewarded in society are people who are producing or distributing a product.
Even artists selling schlock are producing something that someone wants to buy. Overpriced pituitary cases on basketball courts seem silly with their multi-million $ salaries, but they are producing a product, professional sports, which millions want to pay for in various ways. All of these strike me as socially useful types of production.
Hell, even dope and porn are products that folks are willing to fork over bucks for. Production need not be socially beneficial, but I would suggest that production or distribution itself ought to be a requirement for any socially useful type of economic activity.
I have no beef with folks who are either buying or selling oil, or any other commodity for that matter. That’s a product. Buying and selling is part of the function of the market in a market society.
But sheer gambling seems to be completely extraneous to any social benefit. No product is produced, no product is purchased, no product is sold. This seems to me very much a useless, leech, “parasitic” type of economic function. Just gamblers in a casino called a Commodities Market. Well, it turns out that these gamblers blew up the cost of gas to $4.50/gallon last year. Similar gamblers serving no useful social function whatsoever blew up the housing market and screwed the economy of the whole damn world.
Various arguments are offered. The typical one is, “They will make money and invest it.” First of all, that’s not really true, and second of all, that’s trickle down economics, which can be used to justify the most outrageous kind of economic inequality on the basis that the rich will somehow share the wealth in some funny and hard to see way.
Various other neoliberal arguments were offered that I did not understand, with these capitalists suggesting that speculation plays an essential role in markets and in the economy. The assumption being that if you get rid of the speculators, the whole economy collapses, but no one cries “Chicken Little” like a capitalist. Anyway the speculators themselves are already collapsing the damned economy. How could things get worse if you reign the leeches in?
These arguments were found on a liberal site I go to. It’s amazing how many “liberals” are hardcore, radical, neoliberal free market capitalists. One wonders, since economics is out of the question, what exactly their liberalism is all about? Clicking on their profiles reveals guys, some Jewish, always with lots of money, who are members of groups called “Progressives,”Left This”, “Left That”, “Fight the Right”, “Stop Rush”, “Obama Supporters”, etc. They’re main concern is “world peace,” which will never occur in my lifetime. I guess some of them want to save the whales or the fucking baby seals.
As commenter Lafayette Sennacherib suggests, when you take Economics out of the Left, there’s nothing left. You have a bunch of greedy capitalist bastards living in mansions yelling about gay rights or feminism or baby seals or snail darters or “White racists.” What about the workers? What about economics? What about a fair and just system? Silence from these guys, as they try to count their uncountable piles of cash and write a check to the Democratic Central Committee.
If this is “Obama liberalism”, Hell, just take it out and shoot it in the field in the back and put it out of its misery. I want no part.
One final note on the oil commodities market: a reasonable regulation would be to require these speculators to at least take possession of the oil they are buying. Hardly any will do that, so that will kill the parasites right there. Reasonable, right?
New study here.