Market forces co-opted
Today’s surge in gasoline prices is no fallout of Middle Eastern strife and/or China’s increasing demand for oil as Wall Street speculators would have us believe. If this were the case, inventories would be falling and we would be lining up to fill our tanks. Neither is happening.
The near monopolistic power acquired by the big oil companies over the past couple decades has enabled them to control the market. Over 2,600 oil industry mergers have occurred since 1990. As a result, the Big Five oil companies now control over 60 percent of gasoline production and distribution in the United States. Thus, competition at the pump has declined while prices and profits have soared.
This most recent episode of pain at the pump is only the latest economic travesty being inflicted on the American consumer as corporate greed takes precedent over all other considerations. The anti-trust laws of the early 1900s were enacted for good reason. Teddy Roosevelt realized there can be no political democracy in the absence of economic democracy.
John C. Goldthorpe