Do internal memos reveal oil refineries engaged in price-fixing?
June 28, 2001 7:45 PM   Subscribe

Do internal memos reveal oil refineries engaged in price-fixing? From Joshua Micah Marshall's Talking Points memo; links to a Paul Krugman NYT op-ed, but far more intriguingly to Sen. Ron Wyden's (D-OR) webpage, where on June 14th he released his report on alleged price fixing by varied oil refineries based on internal memos and documents of these companies. These types of allegations have been made before, but there is some rather damning language from those internal memos...
posted by hincandenza (4 comments total)
It's difficult to comment whether or not the allegations are true. And taking into account that these accusations have been an issue in the past and as we know the motive of any corporation is profit, I don't think anyone would be all that particularly surprised if they were proven true. Problem is, fundamentally we know that consumer fraud will occur when the corporations are left to their own devices with little or no governmental oversight in intrinsic interest of the consumer. If anything at all this should serve as a testament as why we as a society can not allow corporations to run roughshod over the good faith of the public. The empty rhetoric of "smaller government" isn't all that empty at all when taken with stories like this; as the euphemistic term "smaller government" really only takes control out of ordinary citizen's hands.

Let's see if that fans the languishing embers of this thread! ;-)
posted by crasspastor at 12:28 AM on June 29, 2001

I think Crass makes some good points about the arguments we hear for smaller government and the need for controls placed on corporate greed.
Smaller government and state control of issues usually surfaces when it involves corporate entities and hardly ever if it entails further restrictions on truly individual liberties and rights. Why? Buying off local officials is much cheaper than buying off feds and the basic issue comes down to property rights versus human rights. Corporations represent property rights. Human rights need restricted in order to create better behaved and more predictable consumers. The basic problem begins with giving corporations the same basic rights as person. Corporations are NOT persons, they have no souls, cannot be punished in the same way as persons for bad behavior, and are motivated totally by profit, which often is not in the best interest of society or individuals. Variables which negatively impact profit but may be socially beneficial do not get their proper weight in this way.
Some systems are by nature monopolistic and are not good candidates for deregulation, for example, energy delivery. The experiment has failed.
Contrary to what Cheney espoused, conservation and price caps both work and are realistic, not just virtuous. The proof stands on it's own merits.
Enough fodder for discussion?
posted by nofundy at 6:56 AM on June 29, 2001

One more note of interest to this thread. Have you heard that Pat Robertson has teamed up with Wyden (unlikely bedfellows, eh?) because his is one of the refineries that the big energy companies have been trying to keep shut down?
posted by nofundy at 7:03 AM on June 29, 2001

This and the "power crisis" are prime example of the problems of monopolies. Forget Microsoft...
posted by owillis at 7:12 AM on June 29, 2001

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