Who Actually Likes Oil Companies?

An online acquaintance posted a link to an article congratulating Exxon Mobil for their record profits. This looks like a mutated strain of Stockholm Syndrome to me.

I also work for a company that is on good financial ground in spite of the economy (I won't specify, since I'm sure they don't want their name connected to monkey nose-picking and sexy Rod Blagojevich). So why am I angry about the oil companies and not at my own company?

To me it's a matter of what we offer. My company is one of a number of companies that offers products to help people stay financially stable during tough times. Their focus on making the customer, rather than the bottom line, the top priority has made their product consistently the best in the industry. Rather than jumping on get-rich-quick fads, they invest conservatively to ensure that they have dependable cash flow even when the economy is bad.

Oil companies, on the other hand...looking for a metaphor....have us by the crankshaft and keep twisting. Their artificially inflated $4.50/gallon gas prices are part of what hurt our economy in the first place. In the short term, they're holding us hostage*. We have no other viable options but to go to them (or another one of their competitors, who is also charging the exact same price) in order to go about our daily lives. Hopefully in the future there will be other viable alternatives and we won't have to go crawling on our knees to the oil companies when we want heat our homes and drive to work.

And that's what gets me. The people trumpeting Exxon's big profits are the fiscally conservative free-market supporters. This is an example of an unfree market. We have virtually no choice but to buy. It's practically a tax. If you don't pay the government, they send someone to your home and arrest you (Edit: or in some cases, to hire you). The oil companies have an even better business model--if we don't pay them, they let us sit at home (for lack of a car), where we'll freeze for lack of payment on a heating bill we can't pay for lack of a job.

And we free-market supporters are supposed to congratulate this system? We're supposed to think it's great? This is a prime example of letting ideology tell you what's good, instead actually looking at the real, practical results in the world.

* In the long term, someone is bound to find a decent alternative energy source. And we'll run out of oil eventually.

0 comments on this foolish article: