Dr. Sowell ponders oil
Maria sent this article, An oil ‘crisis’?,
Today production is being held back, not by price controls, but by political hysteria whenever anyone suggests actually producing more oil ourselves.
Part 2 ponders costs,
Prices are what pay for costs. The government can impose price controls on gasoline or petroleum tomorrow but that will not have the slightest effect on the cost of oil exploration or the cost of extracting and processing the oil that is found.
When the costs are no longer being fully covered by prices, production is likely to be cut back, whether it is the production of oil or anything else. This is not speculation. This is what has been happening for literally thousands of years, going back to price controls in ancient Rome and Babylon.
Yet price controls have always been popular politically, despite being counterproductive economically. After all, how many votes do economists have and how many voters know economics?
Some people love to believe that prices should be kept down to a “reasonable” level, something that everyone can “afford.” Yet the notion of “reasonable” prices is itself unreasonable. The costs of producing oil don’t depend on what we can afford or consider “reasonable.” Nor does the cost of anything else.
Not that the politicians would pay attention to that . . .