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Old 05-28-2008, 01:13 PM   #81
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Here's an interesting post I found on a political forum a while ago.. I think the analysis is spot on..


Back in the late 1970's, Nelson and William Hunt, commonly and collectively known as the "Hunt Brothers" had an audacious scheme: they wanted to corner the market on the world's silver.

The actual mechanics of the process are confusing to people who don't understand investment strategies, but here's the "For Dummies" version: It was a common practice back then (and to a lesser degree still is now) for speculators to buy futures contracts, agreeing to purchase a commodity on a certain date at a certain price, then sell them to others later on. If the price had gone up, then they could sell the right to buy to someone else for a profit. If the price dropped, they would have to buy at the higher price.

The Hunt Brothers, however, had an idea. Instead of just re-selling the contracts, they decided to actually purchase all the silver that they had contracted for, and demanded delivery. Funny thing: almost none of the people who had written the contracts actually had the silver in their possession; they had just been trading paper back and forth. They had to go onto the open market and buy silver at any price to meet their contractual obligations. Increased demand drove prices higher and higher. Before long, the Hunts actually owned nearly a third of the world's silver supply and prices were at an all time high of almost $50.00 an ounce.

So what happened? It was a combination of things. First, the ridiculously high buy prices for silver brought a lot of the metal out of hiding, letting people sell old silver coins for around 40 times their face value for example. This increased supply started putting pressure on the high prices. Then the markets intervened, changing some of the rules on speculators. Finally, the Fed dumped a lot of silver from government stockpiles onto the market driving the prices through the floor. On Silver Thursday (March 27, 1980) the Hunts were unable to meet a $100 million margin call on their contracts, and were financially ruined. The whole scheme fell apart, and silver finally plunged back to $10.00 an ounce. The speculators who had banked on the price continuing to rise were ruined.

Now, almost thirty years later, the speculators are at it again, but this time the economic effects are much more devastating. When the Hunts drove precious metals through the roof (since gold also skyrocketed to record highs as speculators bought up gold futures in conjunction with silver futures) the hardest hit parts of the economy were mainly the electronics, jewelry, and photography industries. Speculation in petroleum, however, has sent economic spikes into every sector since we are so dependent on oil and gasoline. Food prices are jumping like monkeys because of shipping costs and petroleum based fertilizers. Electricity costs are rising, which will impact all sectors of manufacturing driving all other prices higher. And let's not even dream about what heating oil prices will do this winter.

The time to act is now, and we have a precedent to follow. The Hunt Brothers fiasco showed us the way. Here's how we should smash these speculators once and for all.

1: Give speculators less incentive

The main cause of the speculation spike is the whole question of stability in the oil fields. Our invasion of Iraq and constant threats of invading Iran have disrupted delivery of oil and threaten to make the situation worse. This makes prices more likely to rise in the future, so the speculators are encouraged to buy oil futures at what they hope will be a lower price than the actual price when they are called in. Drastic changes in our foreign policy and stabilizing the situation in Iraq and Iran will reduce the threat of delivery disruptions, lowering the price somewhat.

2: Decrease demand

We're wasting billions of dollars' worth of oil in Iraq right now. Curtailing our military activities, even if we don't pull out completely, will conserve a lot of oil and decrease demand, putting less pressure on prices. At the same time, the government has been buying petroleum at these inflated prices to pump into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). If the Bush Administration carries through on its promise to stop filling the SPR to the brim, that will also help reduce artificial demand and lower prices a little bit.

3: Smash the speculators

In 1980, Paul Volcker and the Fed dumped so much silver on the market that there was way too much out there to meet demand, and prices plunged. We need to do the same thing now. President Bush should go on television and announce that the government will immediately start selling half of the petroleum in the SPR, dumping the oil at the maximum withdrawal rate of 4 million barrels a day for the next 90 days. The sudden guaranteed availability of petroleum will drive prices through the floor as the supply-to-demand ratio is turned upside down, and smart speculators bailing out of the market as fast as they can will further reduce prices. If we're joined by other major nations with large petroleum reserves (like Japan), the effect will be even more widespread. Then we will be able to take the money the government gets from selling at higher rates, and once again rebuild the SPR as prices stabilize back at actual market levels.

Of course, the long term answer is to wean ourselves off of the teat of petroleum through renewable resources and alternative energy sources, but we don't have time to wait. While we need to increase investment and research, we have to stop the damage that speculators are doing to our economy now.
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Old 05-28-2008, 01:15 PM   #82
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You act like it would be nothing for a family to pick up and move just because it is closer to work or closer to mass transit. This is the most rediculous thing I've ever read. I would never move to be closer to a job. Jobs are a dime a dozen these days and nothing is forever anymore. You say people put themselves in these situations, buying big vehicles and too much house, etc... Well I say that if you can't at least afford to purchase gasoline to get to and from work, at least, then you should have either gone to college or picked a more lucrative career. You do have a choice in the matter, after all. I honestly can't believe some of the posts I read on here sometimes. *sigh*
i'll defend that POV...

i left a job 1 mile away from my house, to one that is 18 miles away. why? to MORE THAN double my income. and believe me, no one would want to live in a 5 mile radius of that area!
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Old 05-28-2008, 01:22 PM   #83
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The strategic oil reserves will just keep teh US going for about 58 days (http://www.fossil.energy.gov/program...spr-facts.html) .

Draining them sounds good to increase supply, but we aren't the only world power buying lots of oil and thus I wonder if the price of oil would decrease much at all and we could just be left with empty reserves and no price reduction benefit.
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Old 05-28-2008, 01:33 PM   #84
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The US uses as much oil as the next five countries combined..

A little over one quarter of the world total.

http://www.nationmaster.com/red/pie/...il-consumption
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Old 05-28-2008, 04:32 PM   #85
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Here in Portugal, diesel costs €1.4/L which is about €5.3/gal or $7.95/gal. The effect of rising gas/diesel prices will result in hypermiling more efficiently. Next weekend many people are planning not to fill their tanks on the 3 most important gas stations in Portugal, BP, Galp and Repsol.
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Old 05-28-2008, 05:40 PM   #86
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Here's an interesting post I found on a political forum a while ago.. I think the analysis is spot on..
Nice find. There is one key difference between oil and silver speculation: Consumability of the resources.

While it can be argued that silver supplies, like oil, are finite, silver does not get consumed in a destructive way. Oil speculators on the other hand are relying on the notion that oil will eventually actually be worth the spot price. What they are all gambling on very heavily is that a major source of it will not suddenly provide a glut of supply. A country like Venezuela for instance, assuming it actually has the capacity, could dump oil onto the market at drastically reduced prices, stagnate demand through other domestic channels, and throw the speculation market into complete turmoil.

One might be safer playing the lottery.
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Old 05-28-2008, 06:04 PM   #87
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Oil speculators on the other hand are relying on the notion that oil will eventually actually be worth the spot price. What they are all gambling on very heavily is that a major source of it will not suddenly provide a glut of supply. A country like Venezuela for instance, assuming it actually has the capacity, could dump oil onto the market at drastically reduced prices, stagnate demand through other domestic channels, and throw the speculation market into complete turmoil.
A sudden drop in demand is as useful as a sudden glut in supply for the purposes of disrupting speculative markets. Given that the US is by far the largest single oil consuming entity then it has the most effect on the market, for the purposes of increasing or decreasing the price.

And while silver is not consumed (at least mostly) as oil is, it is nevertheless sequestered from the market in many ways.. Jewelry, photographs, flatware, electronics and a host of other industrial and commercial applications.

Oil speculators are financial vampires, sucking the life blood from our society.. I want to simultaneously drown them in garlic steeped boiling holy water heated at the focus of a solar collector, shoot them with an M-16 full of silver bullets and drive an ironwood stake through their hearts with a forging press.

"The twentieth century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy." -Alex Carey
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Old 05-28-2008, 07:32 PM   #88
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Oil speculators are financial vampires, sucking the life blood from our society.. I want to simultaneously drown them in garlic steeped boiling holy water heated at the focus of a solar collector, shoot them with an M-16 full of silver bullets and drive an ironwood stake through their hearts with a forging press.
Or just boil them in their own pudding. :-)

Just a random thought. Declare war on under inflated tires at community shopping centers.

General idea, approach shopping center with plan to check and inflate tires, plus check fluids for proper levels, and inform if not. Check air filters. Really needs to be done at auto parts store I guess. Maybe obtain coupons, or the right to print coupons from shops to do tune ups, front end alignments, put synthetic transmission fluid and trans axle fluid in cars plus inform about basic hyper milling.

I think this might work in GA with the watering restrictions. The booster clubs need a way to raise funds.

Time to type something up and email it out to the local schools.

Ok, I'll stop, I'm mumbling now.

OM
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Old 05-28-2008, 10:10 PM   #89
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Great idea, but there's a huge liability issue there. Just touching somebody's tire could expose you to ridiculous claims if a tire should later fail. Some people are always looking for somebody else to blame!
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Old 05-29-2008, 06:10 AM   #90
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It's clear that the planners knew Iraq would be in chaos for the forseeable future and that ramping up oil production would be extremely difficult at best. In that scenario the simplest explanation would be that pumping oil was not part of the plan. Ockham's Razor leads us to think that the simplest explanation is the most likely to be correct.

Oil is a fungible commodity, with Iraqi oil essentially out of reach for the present that makes other oil that can be reached more valuable. The results of this strategy are clearly evident, indeed they are at least part of the raison d'etre of this thread. We have an oilman as vice president and an oilman as president and oil prices and oil company profits are at an all time high.

It's a case of the oilmen having their cake and eating it too, the oil that can be reached now becomes more valuable by curtailing Iraqi production and the oil under Iraq will be the property of the American oil companies and its future value is enormous and incalculable.
Ah, I see.

Interesting, I hadn't thought of it that way.
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