Friday, June 27, 2008

Speculations About Speculation

I originally posted this in the comments section of this post over at Hot Air about Alaska Governor (and rumored McCain VP prospect) Sarah Palin. Cross-posting (with tweaks) here, to solicit feedback from any who might happen by...

Now, I’ll be the very first to admit that when it comes to economics, I’m not even a neophyte…sort of a protophyte, I expect.

So, I'm looking for some gentle reality-checks here: “Speculation” is about trading in risk, buying into the probabilities of some given commodity increasing or decreasing in value over time. Check?

The alarming proximity between the levels of Supply and Demand in the current global oil market is one of the factors which has driven the very brisk “long” (i.e., projected to increase) purchases of oil futures, which in turn amplify the upward drive in prices (albeit less than many anti-capitalist types may shriek about in their on-going quest to distribute earned capital to those who didn't earn it). Demand continues to increase, while supply is subject to a variety of all-too-plausible scenarios for interruption, with very little slack before it is actually outstripped by demand. Seems, then, a safe bet that “up” will outweigh “down,” by a pretty wide margin. Check?

If the US is seen taking active, concrete, and visible steps toward introducing more oil from domestic sources, while simultaneously incentivizing development of alternative energy and fuels, it will basically start a very public clock ticking toward the supply:demand ratio undergoing a not inconsiderable realignment. [False dichotomy to illustrate the ends of what would actually be a spectrum:] Once it becomes available, either domestically produced American oil will be used domestically (and so take a proportion of American demand off-line in the global market, leaving more available supply from foreign sources), or that domestic oil will be sold on that global market, with the same net effect. Check?

Futures traders will see this clock ticking, observe the conservation and alternative energy/fuel efforts underway, take the measure of the American zeitgeist, and may begin to judge that the future of betting on a consistent rise in petro-prices is no longer so bright. Long orders would decrease, and along with them the upward pressure on prices…before a barrel of oil is actually extracted from the ground. Check?

So the issue of what immediate benefit there would be from beginning exploration and exploitation efforts on domestic fields is tending to be interpreted too narrowly if the effects on the market of the efforts themselves are not being taken into account. Check?

Bonus round: Palin is marvelous, but it would be a mistake to decant her before 2012. Check?


Ted said...

"Carpe diem"

Palin now.

Noocyte said...

Tempting, Ted. There's a lot to like there (and I'm not even talking about the obvious...though I might be looking at a spell in the "Special Hell" for some of the thoughts those little glasses put in my head...but I digress).

It's frequently been noted --and I've come to agree-- that bringing young, first-time governor Palin onto the ticket makes it harder for the McCain campaign to focus on Obama's inexperience, which would limit us to his lousy judgment, disastrously radical agenda, and inability to maintain a consistent position in the face of political inconvenience. But why take a really useful tool out of even such a well-stocked case?

She's got a target-rich environment in Alaska, which she is already doing so much to clean up. Give her some more time to gather successes there, keep her periodically in the public eye for what a cracking good job she's doing, and watch her stock rise. Then give her a prominent position toward the end of the first McCain term, and she'll be ready for Veep in '12 (if Mac doesn't run again, or for some reason wants to swap out his Number One), or for sure in '16 (by which time she might even have the mojo to shoot for the Big Chair hot would that be?!)

pastormike said...

YUK crist? You know alot of people think charlie crist is gay. I love speculating about the VP, I found a site that has alot of info on all the veep candidates with videos and petitions you can sign for or against potential vp candidates, I signed a petition to ask McCain not to pick Romney, and I signed one asking McCain to pick Huckabee. I also signed a petition to ask Obama to pick Clark, I might actually vote for Obama if Clark was on the ticket. Sweet site. You can go sign petition at or you can sign it at