Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Underbelly of Capitalism American-Style

We have been advised to anticipate huge price increases for home heating oil and gas this coming winter. In addition, we have been informed that the reason for these increases is the damage done by Hurricane Katrina. This additional burden, added to the high price of gasoline, will have a devastating impact upon the many millions of Americans who live on a subsistence income. Many will have to choose between adequate heat and adequate nutrition. We have also been informed that there will be enough gas and heating oil available to last the winter.

If this latter assertion is correct, then one may wonder what is the necessity for raising the price of these commodities. Investors will quickly respond that it is simply in accordance with the law of supply and demand. Is this law immutable like the law of gravity? I suggest that this law can be circumvented. If this economic system was not driven by greed and endless possibilities of making substantial amounts of money without effort, then huge profits could be forsaken for the sake of the public good. This, in my mind, would represent a truly patriotic thing to do.

Those who invest in the manufacture of weapons of war or the tobacco companies, for example, know only too well how much money there is to be made creating and exploiting human suffering. Such is the nature of the beast we refer to as free market capitalism.

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