Business persecution is alive and well in America.
Both major party presidential candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain point to high gasoline prices and say, "Let's punish oil companies by stealing some of their profits."
So much for common sense. Oil companies have to make a good percentage of profit in order to afford new drilling or new refining capacity so as to create more supply. Without increased supply, demand will drive prices higher than ever. But then nobody ever accused politicians of exhibiting common sense, wouldn't you say?
In any case, oil companies are not responsible for the rising price of gasoline. Here's how economists without a political agenda tell the story:
Once oil is pumped from the ground, it can be sold on the spot market, a last-minute trading arena where oil companies and distributors buy and sell to each other, or straight to refiners. After it's brewed into gasoline, the product can again be sold on the spot market, or directly to wholesalers, who in turn can supply their own stations or sell it to other retailers.
Each step of the way, buyers and sellers negotiate a price until, finally, drivers pay the ultimate tab at the pump.
Oil companies do not set either the price of oil or the cost of a gallon of gas. Prices are a function of the open market, the result of futures contracts being traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange, or Nymex, and other exchanges around the world.
Buying the current July crude oil futures contract means you're buying oil that will be delivered by the end of July. But most investors who trade futures have no intention of ever accepting the underlying oil: Like stock investors who frequently buy and sell their holdings, they're simply betting that prices will rise or fall.
Of late, on the Nymex, oil futures have been rising.
Why? Blame the falling dollar. Oil is priced in U.S. dollars, and the weaker the dollar gets, the more attractive dollar-denominated oil contracts are to foreign investors — or any investor looking for a safe haven in the turbulent stock market.
The rush of buyers keeps pushing oil futures to a series of new records, and the rest of the energy complex, including gasoline futures, has followed. That pushes up the price of gas that goes into your tank.
Okay, so the culprit is not oil companies, but a weakening U.S. dollar. But who is responsible for a weakening dollar? Politicians! More specifically, Congressmen and Senators (Republican or Democrat) who promise voters spending, spending, and more spending; and any president (Democrat or Republican) who acquiesces in all this spending.
Since government is the ultimate cause of rising gasoline prices, what's it all about - this cry for stealing oil company profits? It's about business persecution.
Profits are a measure of efficiency and wise decisions. Since government does not use profit as a measure, governments have no way of gauging their own efficiency or the wisdom of their own decisions ... and of course most departments of most governments become notoriously inefficient. This reason alone is enough to justify extremely limited (libertarian) government.
Nonetheless politicians and bureaucrats, to live with themselves psychologically, have to justify in their minds what they are doing. Otherwise most of them would feel so much inner conflict they would quit politics or government service altogether. Therefore, government worshippers tend to develop a subconscious hatred for profits.
"Oh, don't get us wrong. We don't hate profits. We just hate obscene profits!"
Who are they kidding? There are no such things as obscene wise decisions or obscene efficiencies. They hate because they are afraid of efficiency and wise decisions ... two realms they are not accustomed to.
But there is another reason why politicians and government bureaucrats often come to hate profits. Profits are spiritual values.
The Holy Spirit uses profit to lead us along our path and show us our progress.
If we are learning to trust the Holy Spirit, we will see profit when we trust.
If we are teaching ourselves honesty, we will experience profit when we are honest.
If we are developing a habit of tolerance, we will recognize profit when we are tolerant.
And so it goes. We learn to listen inside to the Voice of our Holy Spirit, do as told ... and we profit.
"But that's not the same as money profits made by greedy companies!"
That's true. Because greed does not and cannot profit. Greed sabotages.
If you read The Spiritual Basis of Free Markets, which is revelation from the Holy Spirit, you will come to understand that free markets are a mechanism guided by the Holy Spirit to foster hope, honesty, good will, trust, and other spiritual values that are utterly sabotaged by government-manipulated markets. You will grasp that material profits are manifestations of spiritual profits (spiritual profits made into form): the more spiritual values extended by your endeavor, the more material profit will be shown; if very few spiritual values are expressed by your enterprise, material profits will very soon dwindle or disappear.
When government attempts to influence markets, men and women are prevented from following their inner spiritual guidance, spiritual values are not developed as rapidly, and the slowed expansion of spiritual values is reflected by relatively lower material profits.
The Holy Spirit's mission is our salvation. But the Holy Spirit has to "meet us where we are at." So the first stage of the Holy Spirit's task is to lift mankind out of material poverty and fear. To do this, the Holy Spirit gives guidance (sometimes called "discoveries") which become new inventions, new processes, new services, new ways of looking at things ... a continually new and advanced world for mankind. The measure of how efficient men and women are in listening to their Holy Spirit and bringing forth spiritual revelation is called profit.
Only after the first stage, when free men and women producing and trading freely in their world have learned that nothing really works except listening inside and operating with spiritual values as heard inside ... only then are conditions ripe for the final stage of salvation. Because only then are we really ready to understand and feel: 1.) greed doesn't work, 2.) there is really nothing in this world that satisfies, and 3.) beyond anything this world can offer is an ultimate experience we really crave.
Having used worldly profit to prepare us spiritually, Jesus Christ can now "yank the rug out," so to speak, flip-flop our mind, and show us what we couldn't have previously seen: there is no profit whatsoever in this world:
The ego is trying to teach you how to gain the whole world, and lose your own soul. The Holy Spirit teaches that you CANNOT lose your soul and there IS no gain in the world, for OF ITSELF, it profits nothing. To invest in something without profit is surely to impoverish yourself, and the overhead is high. Not only is there no profit in the investment, but the cost to YOU is enormous. For this investment costs you the world's reality, by denying YOURS, and gives you nothing in return. (A Course in Miracles, Chapter 12.)
So wouldn't it be strange if high gasoline prices were teaching you what you really, really, REALLY want. That's about how Jesus Christ works, isn't it? Nothing is as it seems.
This month as you fill your gas tank, or as you pay higher prices for anything because truckers have been forced to raise shipping costs, perhaps you will be tempted to make a commitment to vote for libertarian-leaning candidates who understand economics, but you can also rejoice that the Holy Spirit's "invisible hand" is at work in everything in your world.
thank you that the world I see
holds nothing I want.
Thank you that beyond this world
there is a world I want.
Thank You, Father,
for Your guarantee of only happy outcomes in the end.
Help us not interfere, and so delay the happy endings
You have promised us for every problem that we can perceive;
for every trial we think we still must meet.”
"...nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:21)
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