Friday, April 21, 2006

Who is John Gault?

I find it deeply troubling the extent that large oil companies have been vilified over the past year. It almost seems paradoxical that in a capitalistic society there is such a backlash against a company simply because it is successful. At least to my knowledge, there is no indication that oil companies are doing anything that is illegal. This consumer outrage appears to be a reflection of a more general feeling of consumer entitlement that appears throughout our society. I use the phrase consumer entitlement to describe a societal notion that certain goods and services belong to the public as a right. Aside from gasoline, this notion has appeared from music (Napster) to medicine (Prescription Drug Prices). I'm not sure what the continuation of this trend means for the US, but penalizing companies for making money certainly doesn't bode well for the future.

3 Comments:

Blogger Lt. Dan said...

Nicely put Shrimp Boat. I would add that the Democrats are currently running based on the anger generated from rising gas prices. My question to them is what is your solution? Punish the company through punitive taxation? That will spur development. Price fixing? Say hello to rationing lines and a recession. I am not saying Democrats won't use the issue to their political advantage; I am just saying they don't know what the heck to do about it and their solutions will only make the problem worse.

8:05 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Interesting... I'm curious if you feel the same way about price gouging by "successful capitalists" who do things like sell bottles of water for $50 dollars on the debris-strewn streets of New Orleans? Or what about officially licensed vendors selling small bottles of water for $10 apiece inside the perimeter of a government-sponsored international event (Oh yeah - I'm talking bout' the 96' Atlanta Olympics).

At the risk of sounding like a darned pinko, I'm not afraid to call a spade a spade—the oil companies are price gougers.

I guess the one silver lining to the current state of affairs is that it may finally provide the impetus to end the oil addiction…

1:52 PM  
Blogger Shrimp Boat said...

Last time I checked, price gouging was illegal in this country. If the oil companies have violated any state or federal statute then I would be first in line at the stoning of their executives. However, no charges have been filed (& it certainly isn't b/c prosecutors aren't trying to find something).

I do agree w/ Bubba that the price hike may some some positive long term effects on our look for alternative fuel sources.

5:54 PM  

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