Gordon Gekko to Blame for High Gas Prices

Looking for someone to blame for high gas prices? An editorial on the Arizona Republic claims it isn’t fat-cat oil barons taking enemas of sweet crude whilst squatting over solid gold bidets in their fancy European palaces that are jacking up the price of oil: it’s Michael Douglas from Wall Street, trading in hedge funds over his torso-sized army field phone.

We’re not kidding, that’s exactly the analogy the author makes:

Try the likes of investors who fashion themselves after Gordon Gekko, the fictional character in the 1987 Oscar-winning film Wall Street, which portrayed the wheeling, dealing nature of the financial capital and its impact on ordinary Americans.

While politicians and pundits point to outsized oil-company profits as a reason for rising prices, these companies have little control over setting oil’s daily price, which is established on trading exchanges around the globe.

Sophisticated investors increasingly buy and sell oil contracts, not to fuel cars or run factories, but to profit from these paper instruments.

We’re always fascinated when people claim with a straight face that capitalist companies and investors are doing something immoral by making a profit. And really, no matter who you blame for high gas prices — oil companies or hedge fund investors — what the complaint always amounts to is “too much profit!”

Hedge funds play major role in gas price hikes [Arizona Republic]

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  1. CorporationsAreAwesome says:

    Oh, some commentators aren’t going to like that last little shot. I am not sure if it is enough to start a Boycott Consumerist movement but maybe we can go burn a McDonalds at least.

  2. yerfatma says:
  3. yerfatma says:

    I dunno what the comment box just did to me, but what I was trying to cite was this:

    It is pushing things to hope that many politicians will try to explain seriously, let alone see any utility in, higher oil prices. But to present them solely as an imposition on the public which should be reversed once the culprit has been found, is a mixture of stupidity and cowardice.

  4. ValkRaider says:

    We’re always fascinated when people claim with a straight face that capitalist companies and investors are doing something immoral by making a profit. And really, no matter who you blame for high gas prices – oil companies or hedge fund investors – what the complaint always amounts to is “too much profit!”

    I am always fascinated when people don’t notice the difference between energy and other products. People have to have energy to survive. In some way or form, in the modern world, we have to have energy.

    We have to have energy to provide heat and cooling, we have to have energy to provide light and to pump water. And we have to have energy to get ourselves to and from work, school, and the doctors office.

    How much energy – is not really up for debate. We could argue that all day.

    But we cannot live WITHOUT energy in some form…

    Therefore, the energy market should NOT be a completely free market. Profits are OK, but Obscene profits are not – not in the energy market. Companies should be able to cover their costs and make a small profit, and invest in the future – but not rape the families that need gasoline to get to work…

    It is easy for rich people to say – well, just get a car that gets better gas mileage. Well, tell that to someone that can barely make the rent payments, keep food on the table, and pay the electric bill – while driving a 1985 chevy caprice that they bought for $500 and they own outright. They can’t go plop down $20k for a new hybrid car… Or even $5000 for a second hand honda civic….

    But while most of the USA has no public transportation, a teacher who makes $25k a year has to drive 20 miles to work each way is being squeezed by $3 a gallon gas but oil company executives and Enron executives are milking HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of dollars out of the system.

    There needs to be price controls and strict regulations on the energy industry. Period. It is not like TVs or Nintendos – people can’t chose to NOT buy energy.