OPEC...why play games?

I’ve seen it posted in offices all over the country, but why isn’t the “food v oil” battle true?

Don’t mess with us on oil and we won’t mess with you on food. Why are there never debates about keeping wheat prices high for Arab states who are fucking us with oil production?


It isn’t like there’s an international cartel that controls wheat production.

Because causing people to starve is viewed as evil. At the very least it would make the US look petulant. Raising prices on oil is not seen as directly causing people to starve.

Fair or not it is a PR thing and one we’d lose.

How pray tell would you do that without causing starvation in the majority of countries that are (i) not oil producers and (ii) large importers of wheat?

Also it would seem a rather peculiar way to get at OPEC oil price hawk, Venezuela or the other major price hawk, non-Arab Iran, as well as an odd reward for the price moderates in the Arab Gulf…

The problem is OIL is more limited than wheat. So you control wheat, big deal I’ll switch to corn, or potatoes, or rice or rye etc etc

It’s much harder to switch from oil to coal, than it is from wheat to corn or whatever.

Furthermore all you do is create a demand. I won’t sell Oil to America and America won’t sell wheat to Iran. Iran sell oil to, say Poland, who then funnels it to America. And vice versa. People still get it but at much higher prices and the middle man gets a cut.

Eventually people are like, whoa this isn’t working and the middle guy is getting rich. Let’s just quit and sell direct.

Also, given that you can store wheat for only so long we’re going to have to either (a) sell the wheat to a third party who could sell it in turn to OPEC undercutting any boycott or (b) piss off a lot of American farmers when we tell them they can’t sell the stuff they harvested.

I sincerely doubt that any Arab states are currently using their oil production to have sex with us. It’s probably banned in the Koran or something.

If we really cared, we could take a hard line. We decide that we make it a condition of the sale of wheat that they agree to not forward it to an OPEC country (in a boycott situation) If we find out that they are cheating on this, then no more wheat for them.

I admit that it is harsh and potentially unfair, but I can’t believe that we are this impotent to the OPEC cartel. If they were in the U.S., their activities would be considered illegal. Oil is our lifeblood.

I’m not saying to steal it or anything. Just produce it and give it to us at a fair price, like we do to you with wheat.

Have you read the thread? There’s lots of wheat out there, we don’t come anywhere close to cornering the market. They could get corn, or barley, or any number of other staple crops. The countries that produce the most oil don’t need as much grain to feed their population as we need oil. The numbers don’t balance.

Now, who’s fault is that?

You seem unclear on the concept of “fair price”.

Some of us export wheat and oil.

Eh? Who is we? The US? One wheat exporter among many? Did you actually read one single response to your OP?

Oh that is likely to work so very, very well. Never mind you seem to be labouring under the delusion that all of OPEC are the Arab Gulf countries that import your American wheat, (they are not) and the fairly trivial ability to switch to say Ukrainian or Russian wheat. Or an alternative to wheat.

Not only harsh and unfair, utterly catastrophically misconceived. The best case is you merely deprive American wheat exporters of their markets, destroying your wheat exports. The worst case is you pointlessly touch off starvation and impoverishment in non-oil exporting countries.

Nevermind that you’re up in arms about a cartel that does not seem to have real control over pricing either on the way up or on the way down. Again you are labouring under profound misconceptions. There is little sign OPEC triggered the price rises of 2006-2008, and they certainly didn’t want the current price collapse.

And so? Lot’s of things you bloody people do are illegal elsewhere… Welcome to the wider world, not everywhere is America.

Oil is their lifeblood as well, and it is perfectly rational for oil producers, especially ones with little else to export, to maximize the value of their exports to the extent possible. Not that OPEC seems terribly successful at that.

The fair price is the market price. What you want is an unfair subsidy to you, low prices all the time. Oil is a global commodity and desired by lots of different users, of which you people are but one. Now as it happens you have built up, for an advanced economy a rather oil intensive economy. Insofar as oil production has likely reach a plateau relative to growing demand, and future production is just going to get more expensive - that means with or without an OPEC trying to manage demand your “fair price” is going to rise.

Rather than coming up with absurdly naive ideas about using wheat against innocent millions who have fuck all to do with oil production, you should be agitating for research money to go into cost efficient alt. energies, and investing in rendering your economy as energy efficient as possible.

Out of curiosity, what do you think about our nearly-50 year embargo on trade with Cuba? Like, if you were to give it a letter grade, what would it be?

I don’t see how that is relevant. I will admit that it hasn’t worked as intended, but it doesn’t hurt us at all. Unless you count the fact that we have to do without Cuban rum and cigars, and can’t vacation in Havana, then we aren’t affected at all.

And, yes, these Arab countries would survive if we refused to sell them wheat, but it would be a pain in the ass. Just like we survived their embargo in the 1970s. It was tough for a while, but we made it.

It would make them think about being honest in thier efforts to set prices.

You’re flat out wrong about this. The US refusing to sell food to OPEC nations would be completely insignificant. There’s lots enough food exported from places like Argentina, Canada, Ukraine, etc to make up the difference.

Why shouldn’t Arab countries try to get the highest price they can for their products, or a slightly lower price and high volume? e.g they should obviously try to maximize profit… it is not a charity.

Same for wheat producers.

Regardless of either the ethics or practicality of this bizarre suggestion, as a couple of posters have already mentioned OPEC is not currently playing cartel and arbitrarily setting prices, so the idea is just dumb.

So many new oil fields have opened since the mid-1970s that OPEC cannot fix prices and, in fact, it has not been fixing prices over the last couple of years. There is no point to unsuccessfully attempting to hold OPEC food hostage to some arbitrary lower price that we would like to see.

Look at the numbers. Total world wheat production in 2007 was more than 549 million metric tons. U. S. wheat exports are running at about 23 million metric tons. If the U.S. simply shut off ALL its wheat exports to EVERYONE it would cut the world supply by less than 5 percent.

Your country is full of idiots.

Which Arab countries. Veneuzela? The OPEC member that is the price hawk and speaks that odd form of Arabic known as Latin American Spanish? Oh, and is, as I recall the largest OPEC supplier to North America?

Or the non-oil producing Arabs, just because, hey they’re Arab and some folks in the US can’t be bothered to understand “those Arabs” are not the world’s sole oil producers, nor are they setting the prices. Gross ethnic stereotypes are so much easier than actual data and facts, right mate?

In other words, back to your desire for a non-market price for your personal pleasure.

This is a slight tangent I know, but I’d like to buy a few acres of land in south Manhattan (a small island off the cost of north America). The cost of transferring title to me is only a few thousand euros, but the cartel which controls this asset wants millions!

How can we force them to trade at the fair price? I’m thinking maybe 100 euros a hectare?

Back to the original post - it’s not your oil. If you don’t want to pay what the owners want, then don’t buy the oil. And by the way, over in OPECland, it’s illegal to steal or extort it, so I guess that’s ruled out too.