Walter E. Williams

You say, "Williams, that's what's wrong with capitalism; greedy speculators rigging the market!" Imagine there were no futures market and speculators. In our scenario, it would surely mean there'd be more oil today at lower prices, but what about the future availability of oil? It would be scarcer and at higher prices without futures market and speculators.

Without futures markets allocating goods over time, there'd easily be feast or famine. By the way, most of us are mini-speculators. If gasoline is $1.60 a gallon this week, and we expect it to be $2 next week, I'm guessing that the average person will fill his tank to the brim this week -- which, by the way, would cause this week's price to rise. Of course, the price might turn out to be $1 a gallon next week; we'd lose, just like our speculator would if the December oil price turned out to be $20 a barrel instead of $50.

Markets are not perfect. After all, markets consist of millions upon millions of imperfect independent decision-makers like you and me. Abundant evidence, not faith, demonstrates that markets are far more reliable and predictable than a bunch of arrogant politicians and bureaucrats.

Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
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