Wednesday 1 October 2014

Everybody Wins

I heard on the radio while I was lying in bed this morning that the price of gas was going up today by six or seven cents a litre. That seems like a fairly healthy jump and it’s nice that the oil companies will be able to pay their employees and give their investors a large dividend. It isn’t nice for the rest of us however, because that increase in fuel costs is passed down by everyone that sells a product which needs to be transported or kept warm or cool.

I understand that there are fluctuations in costs of production, but why is it that every gas station in the city raises and lowers there prices on the same day? Surely the fuel they bought when the price was lower can’t all run out at the same time. Can it? I know that they are raising the prices in advance of buying the expensive “new” fuel because in theory they won’t make as much. Bullshit! I should invest in oil stocks and then I wouldn’t worry so much when the price goes up.

I don’t even know why I worry. Up until recently, I owned two cars that had very good gas mileage. If the price of gas went up 10¢ per litre, it would cost the price of a coffee. My buddy had a truck which is an entirely different story, having the fuel tank capacity of close to 100 litres. With that in mind, I went on to see if the prices had gone up everywhere. Luckily, the price hadn’t gone up at our local Co-op gas station, so I called my buddy (got him out of bed) and told him he should go and get some cheap gas.

I imagine that scene was played out across the city this morning, friends with tiny gas tanks calling their friends with huge gas guzzlers. I have heard people say that everyone should drive tiny fuel efficient cars, take the transit, walk or ride bikes. In a lot of cases that is a good solution. Not in all cases though. You can’t pull a trailer with a smart car, you can’t pick up lumber on a bike and unless we want to go back to eating only locally grown produce, we still need large trucks.

Yes, I know, we should be eating locally grown food. That is a fantastic idea if you live in an area that is fertile and has a long growing season. The lotus eaters in BC would get by quite well. Here in Alberta, we would be eating root vegetables, Saskatoon berries and wheat, wheat and more fucking wheat. Some mustard too. We could probably survive if we had to, but as of now we don’t have to.

We really are at the mercy of big business; they dictate pretty much everything about our lives. Where we live, where we work, how we get there, what we eat and for all I know, they might just determine when we die. That is the way of the world I suppose. In the old days, the wealthy and powerful had serfs that did all of the work for them. In return the landowner would provide everything we needed to live from food and clothes to a roof over our heads. We would also have a job for life that is how all of those magnificent castles and cathedrals were built. Life may not have been perfect, but there was a certain amount of stability.

One day, some rich guy realized that if he were to “free” his servants, he would save a fortune. The people would still have to work and live so he would hire them to work for him, doing the same jobs they did before. However, they would have to rent their housing from him and buy their food and clothing from his stores. The best part was that if there were an employee he didn’t like or was getting old or sick, he could let them go. It wasn’t a perfect system, but the landowner got wealthier and had less head aches. Plus, in a few hundred years he could raise the price of gas to suit his financial needs at the moment.

Everybody wins! Well, the rich guys win and really, isn’t that all that matters? 

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