Let the Plunder Continue!

When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”

Frederic Bastiat 1801-1850
French economist, philosopher, local judge, politician

A friend sent me this quote above and I thought him quite the researcher for having unearthed so apt an insight. Then I discovered that the quote had been cited in a very recent Bill Moyers online essay. Well, it is a very appropriate no matter its most recent source. Instead of crediting my friend with his research abilities, I’ll be more appreciative of his getting to Moyers before I can.
In case anyone doubts that plunderers are at it again, take a look at prices at the pump. Prices are rising, if that is any surprise. It seems that each year prices go up but not usually this early in the first quarter. Must be supply driven, right, as in any capitalist system? No, not at all.
An article in today’s Business Week indicates that oil demand in the US is at its lowest since 1997. So if it is not supply driven, what could it be? Well, it is market driven, although not that the market is low in supply. The market driver is futures speculation. When gasoline futures rise because of speculators pouring in money, prices at the pump go up even when there is a surplus of current supply.
Wouldn’t you think that, since when pump prices approach the $4/gallon mark, the economy in general suffers, the SEC could find some way to regulate or even outlaw such speculation? How can it be that the money-making schemes that do harm to the general US economy can go on as though no harm is done so long as such practices are not seen as either illegal or immoral?
Bastiat had it right, did he not. Plunder has become a way of life and those for whom it is such a life make the laws and define the morals.

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