Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Calling Geraldo

Where is Geraldo Rivera when you need him?

Here's an msn article by John W. Schoen, senior business producer. In it he mentions that "since some traders have no intention of ever using the oil, prices can also move on just the potential for future changes in supply or demand." Then he goes on to say, "Right now, oil producers — both countries and companies — are among the biggest winners."

I fell out of my chair. Bob, my cubicle neighbor, began to laugh.

"You just read that article on oil prices," he said.

"It's the traders!" I squeaked. "They're traitors!"

"What about the oil companies?" said Bob. "They're raking in the dough, too."

I sat there in the floor, contemplating my navel. It was my x-ray vision that allowed me to see it through my shirt and tie. You know, I like a shirt with a little bit of rayon in it. It hangs better - the extra heft is comforting as well. Oh, sorry.

"Why isn't Geraldo on this?" I said.

"Hey, you're right!" said Bob, snapping his fingers. "It's so obvious that..."

"The oil companies..." I said.

"Have an incentive program," said Bob.

"To futures traders..."

"To artificially run up prices..."

We just looked at each other, frowns creasing our sweaty little foreheads, marvelling over this diabolical bit of brilliance. Obviously, consumption is about as high as it can be... Oh, quibble all you want, but fluctuations at this point are going to be marginal.

But if you can double your pricing in two years without increasing cost very much... Of course, consumers would crucify you - crucify you unless you can blame it on something high and mighty, something the public holds in awe, something pure and yet wholly obscure, something that defies logic and reason, a veritable holy grail... Market Forces!

Market Forces are widely believed to be infallible, infallibility historically being the Pope's province, located somewhere in a broom closet in the Vatican. Market Forces are therefore the perfect foil; in a Market Forces vortex, accountability levels go to zero!

I relayed all this to Bob in a breathless rant. He handed me an unopened water bottle.

"I'll email Geraldo," he said. "This is big."

This is big.

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