Bismillahi ir-rahman ir-rahim – In the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful
Much has been said in the media recently about petrol prices, it is an issue that effects us all. If not directly through the ever increasing cost of filling up our cars, it also effects us indirectly through its inflationary effects. The cost of transporting goods has increased and as a result costs are passed on to the consumer.
The question that is always asked is ‘why does the price of petrol continue to reach record highs?’ The main explanation I hear is quite inadequate. The media and government in Australia have chosen to focus on OPEC and Arab countries, demand exceeds supply, they refuse to supply more and so the prices go up. The Arabs deny being at fault saying that it is not a supply issue. Although they do not spell it out, they are drawing on the stereotype of the rich greedy Arab sheikhs, naturally they must be to blame. Arabs are already public enemy #1 with their terrorist tendencies, they are an easy target, a target that the general public are often more than willing to blame. Much easier than trying to actually do something proactive or actually face the truth.
Now I’m no economist, in fact I find economics quite boring, but I don’t think you need to be an expert in the field to realise the bulk of the blame lies. Lets look at some facts, I think they speak for themselves.
- ExxonMobil turned out the largest net profit ever made by a publicly listed US company of US$40.7 billion in 2007
- Shell posted a profit of almost $27.5 billion for 2007, the highest earnings ever made by a British company.
- Looking at the first quarter of 2008, BP reported a 63% surge in net profit, while Shell reported a 25% rise.
- The profits of US oil companies have quadrupled since 2002.
- The five largest US oil companies have earned $36 billion during the first quarter of 2008.
While failing to acknowledge what would appear to be the blatant truth, the US have searched for blame elsewhere, pointing the fingers at countries such as China and India for their increasing oil consumption. Quite ironic coming from the nation that utilises 25% of the worlds oil supplies. On the subject of irony, the war on Iraq which was supposed to help ‘protect’ the oil in the region and result in keeping oil costs down has had quite the opposite effect. Since the US control of the worlds oil become more concentrated we have seen a constant increase in the price of oil. And they thought that ‘Arab sheikhs’ were greedy?
Furthermore, the very same nation pointing the fingers at others for their oil consumption and its apparent subsequent effect on oil prices seem to have no qualms about the 340,000 barrels of oil its military depletes each day. It would seem that increasing oil consumption for the purpose of development and increasing economic prosperity to be unacceptable. However, oil consumption used to wage immoral and unlawful wars, based on lies and false pretenses, resulting in the deaths of over a million people seems to be perfectly acceptable.
Like vultures, the oil companies have benefited tremendously from the war. The link between the Bush administration and these companies is no secret, and to believe it to be mere coincidence is nothing short of foolish naivety. Many now accept that the war on Iraq was for oil, and the knowledge that the world was misled by claims of weapons of mass destruction only serves to strengthen this view.
If the US are seriousabout addressing the oil issue they need to look in their own backyards. Realistically however, there are some very powerful people who are profiting from this all, so I think we need to brace ourselves, its unlikely the situation will be getting any better soon. In the meantime I think we need to stop beating around the ‘Bush’ (excuse the pun) and call a spade a spade. Until we acknowledge the real source of the problem any attempts to address it will be futile.