A random sampling of the stupid.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cheap oil is a right

The Ayn Rand institute is very angry, and of course everyone was following 9/11. Nevertheless, some people react more strongly than others:

Fifty years ago, Truman and Eisenhower surrendered the West's property rights in oil, although that oil rightfully belonged to those in the West whose science, technology, and capital made its discovery and use possible. The first country to nationalize Western oil, in 1951, was Iran. The rest, observing our frightened silence, hurried to grab their piece of the newly available loot.
Natural resources are a bit tricky in my mind. Obviously, whoever invests in the infrastructure to harvest the resource deserves some compensation. But who really has the right to Irans oil? The industrial revolution sprung from the west, which made oil a valuable commodity, but does that give the descendants of those inventors the moral right to travel 'round the world taking whatever they need?

This author says yes. I have to say I'm a bit surprised, I would've thought the line of reasoning would be a bit different from the Ayn Rand institute, something more like "whoever has the ability to take it has the right", but I guess I haven't studied their philosophy enough.

A more logical approach would hold that the people of a country deserve the profits derived from their natural resources. The US creates inventions that the world runs on? The profits derived from selling those products is the compensation. Say we can't do that without oil? Well, then it would be in the best interest of OPEC (et. al.) to provide cheap oil. But of course, the market sets the price, and oddly enough people only bemoan the free market when the results turn out against them. People pay a fortune for pharmaceuticals from the US that cost pennies to produce? Well, you've got to let the market set the price, or else we'll have shortages. Oil is expensive? We deserve oil because we provide the world with so much else.

Error Scale: 3. More arrogant and hypocritical, but moral arguments are always debatable


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