Join 3,555 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


“Americans want their gasoline cheap but it’s not possible without cutting a few corners.”
May 15, 2009 8:04 AM   Subscribe

“Oil is not a commodity,” Eronat said. “It’s a political weapon.”

Enter the world of the oil fixer, one of expensive dinners and third world leaders.
posted by plexi (21 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
That article's amazing. (I read it in the actual magazine a little while back.) It's bizarre how barely above the law these people operate. And all the stupid money they are making.
posted by chunking express at 8:10 AM on May 15, 2009


...is it wrong that this seems kinda awesome?

...does this make me evil?
posted by leotrotsky at 8:11 AM on May 15, 2009


I read this in the magazine awhile back too. I kept thinking, "wow, I'm really small time."
posted by danep at 8:22 AM on May 15, 2009


All the more reason to invest in alternative energies.
posted by delmoi at 8:46 AM on May 15, 2009


See also Mr 5%. I've been trying to work this into a fpp but this is good enough.
posted by toroi at 9:06 AM on May 15, 2009


"expensive dinners"... I like the idea that they're ordering the fettuccine alfredo WITH the chicken at TGIF. AND they're getting dessert.

ok, I'll read the article now...
posted by LordSludge at 10:01 AM on May 15, 2009


So, how long till the oil runs out? And what are the fixers going to work with then, uranium?
posted by RussHy at 10:01 AM on May 15, 2009


“Oil is not a commodity,” Eronat said. “It’s a political weapon.”

Can't it be both?

It's a dessert topping! It's a floor wax!
posted by misha at 10:03 AM on May 15, 2009


So, how long till the oil runs out? And what are the fixers going to work with then, uranium?
One of [the fixer's] most promising investments is a company called Green Holdings, which is in the emerging field of carbon trading: buying the rights to pollute from cleaner businesses and selling them to dirtier ones. The firm has struck deals in China and India, and Calil has traveled regularly to both nations on the company’s behalf, hoping to establish business ties and build political support. It is an ironic turn indeed that Ely Calil, who grew so rich off the excesses of the carbon era, should now stand to profit still more from the long struggle to clean them up.
One more reason to prefer a carbon tax over cap and trade, if you ask me.
posted by jedicus at 10:04 AM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


One more reason to prefer a carbon tax over cap and trade

But...but...the markets!!! Big Government! *cough* *splutter*
posted by aramaic at 10:24 AM on May 15, 2009


From the article:
"Everyone agreed the food was delicious, but there were complaints about the “presentation.” Calil and Eronat, serious gourmets, seemed particularly dismayed."
MY DEAR WORMWOOD,
The contemptuous way in which you spoke of gluttony as a means of catching souls, in your last letter, only shows your ignorance. One of the great, achievements of the last hundred years has been to deaden the human conscience on that subject, so that by now you will hardly find a sermon preached or a conscience troubled about it in the whole length and breadth of Europe. This has largely been effected by concentrating all our efforts on gluttony of Delicacy, not gluttony of Excess. Your patient's mother, as I learn from the dossier and you might have learned from Glubose, is a good example. She would be astonished—one day, I hope, will be—to learn that her whole life is enslaved to this kind of sensuality, which is quite concealed from her by the fact that the quantities involved are small. But what do quantities matter, provided we can use a human belly and palate to produce querulousness, impatience,
uncharitableness, and self-concern? Glubose has this old woman well in hand. She is a positive terror to hostesses and servants. She is always turning from what has been offered her to say with a demure little sign and a smile "Oh please, please...all I want is a cup of tea, weak but not too weak, and the teeniest weeniest bit of really crisp toast". You see? Because what she wants is smaller and less costly than what has been set before her, she never recognises as
gluttony her determination to get what she wants, however troublesome it may be to others.
posted by xthlc at 10:31 AM on May 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


I was envious until this sentence:

“They’re all selling their yachts,” Eronat said with a grim look. One friend, an Uzbek named Sascha, “had $44 billion, and now he’s down to a billion.”

Then I realized that these were not happy people. This is why trust-fund kids run amok and try to get their reality shows. This is why the richest people in the world are hellbent on world domination. It's never enough. Never ever ever enough. There's always more money to be made, more power to be absorbed. They're dining with two attractive Russian models? Not only are they comparing these two stunning Russian models to last night's beautiful Russian models, but also to the stunning Indonesia 14 year-olds from last week.

Not to mention, they are probably plotting to undercut the other one. This life of privilege? Never to be in the company of friends, but in the company of men who aren't yet your enemy? It's for the birds. But that's where they spend their lives: several latitudes north of a rich man's dreams and a couple clicks south of content.

Pity these men.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 10:49 AM on May 15, 2009


But...but...the markets!!! Big Government! *cough* *splutter*

Ugh, as much as I like the idea of trading carbon credits, I know some a*hole middlemen will come in an fuck it up for the rest of us. Enron part deux.
posted by SirOmega at 10:54 AM on May 15, 2009


Bathtub Bobsled: "Pity these men."

You seem to be saying that wealth doesn't lead to happiness, which is true, but neither does it necessarily lead to unhappiness.
posted by Sargas at 11:01 AM on May 15, 2009


Ugh, as much as I like the idea of trading carbon credits, I know some a*hole middlemen will come in an fuck it up for the rest of us. Enron part deux.

I don't see why some people are so into carbon trading credits. They're rights assigned by the government that can be sold. How is that not basically a property grant? And since companies can sell their right to pollute to others, the result is that usage will tend to be towards the high-end of the limit, meaning to be effective the limit will have to be lower. AND, since it involves a property right, lowering the pollution standard in the future involves what amounts to property seizure, sometimes property that has been paid for, not regulation.

Further... as more companies are created, the pollution produced under a given cap increases. Under a credit scheme wouldn't the new companies trade their credit to the big polluters? In fact, what's to stop some unscrupulous people from creating a bunch of bogus companies just to generate new credits to be sold?

I don't really know much about it, yeah, so it's possible some of these issues have been recognized and fixed. But have all of them?
posted by JHarris at 11:43 AM on May 15, 2009


You seem to be saying that wealth doesn't lead to happiness, which is true, but neither does it necessarily lead to unhappiness.

However, in my experience, there seems to be a positive trend between material wealth and unhappiness. But I think it's a lot more complicated than wealth simply being a cause of unhappiness... I'm sure it has more to do with what people do to get and maintain that wealth.
posted by symbollocks at 11:48 AM on May 15, 2009


My own mini-theory is that a lot of people use material goods to try to fix self-esteem problems. (In fact I think our economy relies on it, esp. here in the US.) It doesn't work, of course, so they try acquiring more. That doesn't work, so they get more, it doesn't work, they get more, etc., etc. It's an endless hole of need. One of the most miserable bastards I've ever met was a multi-billionaire. I gotta wonder what demons he was trying so hard to chase away, why he hated himself so much that all that money couldn't fix it...
posted by LordSludge at 1:17 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Deus ex petroleus.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:17 PM on May 15, 2009


"However, in my experience, there seems to be a positive trend between material wealth and unhappiness"

And heart attacks. I don't know that living well has to have vast material success. I'm pretty comfortable. And I get to drive a Ferrari from time to time. Oh, it's my buddies car, but y'know. He's spent himself on power deals over power lunches with his power tie and collecting all this stuff. Having, I think, is overrated.
And too - they're mostly one trick ponies. They know how to exploit whatever it is that gets them rich and they just keep hitting the button. So they wind up not knowing how to do anything else and trapped in that one identity. So much so they often can't be 'dad' or 'buddy' etc.
Hell, same problem with the oil.
People so set on dealing with things the way they are they burn out their imagination and can't see the world being anything else. Just dying with the most toys at that point.
People who can't say 'enough' when they eat get fat. Die early. You can see it. What's the equivalent with the intellect? Or the soul?
No thanks. Comes down to it, it's just a car. And not even that. Just one specialized way of getting around in a specialized environment maintained by an infrastructure supported by massive effort. I can walk.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:33 PM on May 15, 2009


I don't see why some people are so into carbon trading credits. They're rights assigned by the government that can be sold. How is that not basically a property grant?

You seem to have some misconceptions about how cap and trade works. You aren't alone. About 76% of people don't know what it even means. This is a good introduction that answers most common questions people have, including the ones you mention.
posted by euphorb at 2:42 PM on May 15, 2009


Frontline recently covered this topic (i.e., international bribery by corporations) with Black Money
posted by exogenous at 9:20 PM on May 15, 2009


« Older Since the mid 1990s, Don Hertzfeldt has been makin...  |  PDX History is a veritable tre... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments