Thursday, December 14, 2006

Big government: Like big corporations, but actually bad.

"Progressives" like to rail against big corporations, especially big oil companies as "exploitative". But when I think "exploitative", I don't think ExxonMobil. (Well, not in America, at least. Chad is another story.) I think OPEC - a multinational organization composed of governments - big ones. The governments of the OPEC nations don't just regulate their countries' oil industries, they are their countries' oil industries. Today, OPEC announced that it will make a cut in production. They did this not because they believe that's what's in the best interest of the "global community" (whatever that means), but rather because they "want to balance supply and demand". In other words, they want to maximize profit.

There's nothing expressly wrong with that, if you think of the OPEC governments as corporations. But if you think of them as governments just trying to do what's best for the little guy - which Hugo Chavez, a member, would certainly like you to - then it's reprehensible. And even the overtly for-profit nations spend oil money on weird stuff: financing Sudan's murderous Janjaweed militia (experts in ethnic cleansing and mass rape), funding other Muslim militias in the Sahel, and, in the case of Saudi Arabia, paying a huge annual stipend to tens of thousands of men who do no work but apparently are Saudi princes by birthright.

Either way, government control of the energy industry certainly doesn't help "the people". It helps some people, sure, but those people seem to have a talent for being scumbags.

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Blogger Kris Overstreet said...

If an action is evil for governments to do, it is also evil for corporations to do.

You're basically saying that it's OK for -corporations- to fix prices and coerce customers, but not governments.

I believe it's wrong in both cases, and that both governments and corporations need checks on their power.

10:12 AM  
Blogger Nigel Watt said...

Corporations can be avoided, governments can't.

Besides, removing crony capitalism would be such a blow to large corporations that "fixing prices" and "coercing customers" (however you claim they do that without using government) would be almost completely impossible for them for at least awhile, giving time for competition to come in.

10:13 PM  

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