[The following post was derived from the comments of Lafayette-based, land & resource consultant Jonathan Melancon, following recent posts on this website regarding the oil industry. Though I often receive comments on this blog, I felt that these words were deserving of broader consideration. Please note that, in order to revisit the older post, please refer to the Blog Archive in the right column. Thanks. --gh]
...[A]s for your latest blogs, I loved them! Of course it didn't hurt that you quoted me at length in one of those, but that’s besides the matter. :-)
I think you are hitting the nail on the head for the most part, and I wouldn't worry about getting flack for telling the truth, it comes with the territory. Think how Jesus must have felt when he tried telling the Jewish elite of his day that they were distorting Gods words and laws to suit their own ends. Such it is with traders/speculators and the Wall Street elite. They take something pure and just, such as a free-market, then they tool and toy with it to suit their own greed, at the expense of an out-of-whack marketplace. And who enviably has to pay the price? That's right the guy who just wants to buy an honest ticket to see the show, Mr. Average Joe Middle-Class. Like the scalpers, these traders produce almost nothing of value to society, but they and the Wall Street elite make fortunes no matter if the market goes up or down, all without producing much of anything useful to society. As a free-market capitalist, I am saddened to realize as I get older and better informed just how much manipulation goes on in the markets today. I don't mind a little trading, speculating and scalping here and there, but the traders and speculators have run amuck.
And it’s not just the markets. Government, financial institutions, and our two major political parties have all muddied the water making it increasingly difficult for even those with high levels of intelligence to navigate. Anyone understand the tax code? Nope, yet we all have to pay taxes. But the laws are so jumbled, I had to pay my CPA $500 bucks to figure it out for me, and I'm not even sure how well they understand the laws sometimes. And to think of the hours I’ve spent of my most precious resource, my time, just to organize said data at the expense of actually getting something productive done. Why can't we have a flat-tax? Because, it’s too easy to understand and much too fair for everyone. That’s why. Almost no one understands our fractional reserve central banking system, and if they did, well to quote Henry Ford "there would be a revolution by tomorrow". In fact some our nation's greatest leaders where strong opponents to such a system; Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Andrew Jackson, Lincoln and Kennedy where all strongly opposed to the type of banking system we have set up today, in fact it's down right unconstitutional, since only Congress is given permission to coin and print money, not some private central bank masquerading as a quasi-government entity. I'm going to stop right their because its late and I could go on for hours about this subject alone...
Now with that said, back to your blogs...
The one thing I didn't see you mention in your "What goes up, um stays up?" blog was the increasing demand from the emerging BRIC countries. In spite of my rant about manipulation, fundamentals do ultimately play the biggest role in the price of anything over the long-term and in consideration of that I don't know if we will ever go back to under $2.30 a gallon of gas for any sustained period of time because of the rapid increase in demand. Unless the world can either cut back consumption or increase supply, I feel we are stuck with these high prices. Eventually the fundamentals will change and oil will come down significantly, but I feel we are at a minimum of 5 years away from that time. But what do I know, I'm just Mr. Average Joe Middle-Class who paid to damn much for a ticket. :-) And yes I know Brazil is pretty much energy self-sustaining, but consumption is consumption and commodities are consumed.
Oh, and one more thing. I know "technically", we are not supposed to label this a recession, but guess what? We’re in a recession. I know, I know, “technically” we are not but… When you measure the Dow against just about anything other than the falling Dollar or Yen, the Dow goes down. Measure the Dow in terms of gold, silver, copper, rice, wheat, oil, corn, natural gas, the Euro, whatever it doesn't matter they all show the Dow dropping. The only true growth this country is experiencing in 2008 is the growth of our currency supply, i.e inflation. I believe there is just too much smoke & mirrors going on right now which is hiding some of the deeper underlining economic problems we will inevitably have to face. It’s time to prepare. Remember that fable about the grasshopper that lounges around while the ants are getting ready for winter? I think now is the time we should be preparing ourselves for a Kondratieff Winter, just in case.
Btw, I really like the look of your new blogs!