Letter to the Editor

Gas price fixing

San Luis ObispoAugust 1, 2013 

Gas prices are once again going through the roof. We hear all kinds of rationalizations and excuses for this: refinery incapacity and breakdowns, transportation snafus and higher costs, a mosquito sneezing in Saudi Arabia, etc.

Almost no one dares say the obvious — a handful of huge oil companies, amounting to a virtual monopoly vertically and horizontally, have colluded to raise prices. They, directly or indirectly and in a hidden way, control drilling, refining, shipping, supplying and marketing, right down to the local gas station level. They stay just inside antitrust laws and make sure a case cannot easily be brought against them, but price raising and fixing are obvious. Meanwhile, “regulators” look the other way and pretend it’s not going on.

Even Adam Smith, the founding father of capitalist economic theory, warned that under conditions of monopoly, supply and demand no longer determine price and quality, etc., and he warned against them.

It’s way past time for big oil, big banks and other huge corporations and industries that control our economic lives to come under transparent, open, democratic public control and ownership, so that the rule of the corporatist plutocratic oligarchy can be broken.

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