July 15, 2008 10:25AM

Oil Speculators, Headaches and Brain Tumors

By Indur M. Goklany

Blaming speculators for high oil prices is like blaming a death on headaches rather than the underlying brain tumor. Speculation is a symptom, not the disease. It’s the tight supply‐​demand equation that creates opportunities for speculators to profit, although it’s less clear whether that necessarily increases prices.

So instead of bitching and moaning about speculators, our politicians should attack the fundamental problem by reducing barriers – and transaction costs – to increasing supply and reducing demand. But let’s not do it by increasing subsidies, which ultimately means more money out of the pocket of the taxpayer (who is also the consumer).