(tldr: read this)
If you’re visiting this page it’s probably because you’ve come here to read my post about the impact of commodity speculation on oil prices.
This post is gone now (although much of it has been mirrored in many places around the Internet, including here). I decided to take it down from my blog because I was no longer satisfied with it. What I thought would be the ending point of a polemic became the starting point of a very helpful discussion in the comments of my site, reddit, different messageboards, etc.
While I am still convinced that the primary reason for the volatility and height of oil prices is speculative, manipulative behavior on Wall Street and not the freedom fighters in the Middle East, I also realized that my post was conceptually incomplete and analytically insufficient.
Fundamentally the point I was trying to make required much more information than I could contain in a blog post. And though the discussion, as I said, has continued in many disparate places, in a way that I find satisfying, all of that information was not contained here, in this space, and I didn’t want to maintain the illusion of completeness here any longer. Put another way, I was very happy with the conversation that had continued, but it had continued in so many disparate places that my post had essentially become only a single outpost of a much larger enterprise.
However, most of my post was simply excerpts from the following articles, so if you read them, you will understand what I was talking about.
- How Goldman Sachs Created the Food Crisis by Frederick Kaufman in Foreign Policy. This is a short article that came out after my post but is functionally very similar; if you came here to read my post, read this one instead.
- The food bubble: How Wall Street starved millions and got away with it by Frederick Kaufman in Harper’s Magazine.
- Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America by Matt Taibbi, specifically chapter 4, which dealt squarely with the commodities bubble in oil and gas.
- JPMorgan Hires Supertanker for Storage, Brokers Say from Bloomberg News.
If you read these articles then I believe you will come to the same conclusions that I did – again, in part because much of my post was simply excerpting and synthesizing the information contained within these works.
I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you – but hopefully, it will encourage you to go read the same things I read and found so helpful and illuminating.
Edit 6/13/2011: Also, this revelation from Wikileaks that the Saudis warned of speculative behavior as well.