If you’re a free marketeer, perhaps you’ve let yourself be put on the defensive in conversations where someone is complaining about the high cost or price increases of this or that? Gas is a common example. “Those greedy oil companies,” and then we’re left trying to explain how in “real, inflation-adjusted dollars” (you’ve already lost them) that gas prices aren’t much higher than they’ve ever been. And, also, higher prices mean (typically) shorter supplies which means that combined with those higher prices and higher revenues, investment risk is diminished so capital (like your 401K and IRA dollars) flows into exploration, mining, production and wholesale distribution. This proceeds until those competing investment dollars shave margins (lower prices at the pump) to paper-thin tolerances where the first hiccup starts compromising investor return and capital begins flowing out of oil (probably to one of the other “high-priced” commodities the local news is wringing hands over and trying to scare the bejesus out of you with their interviews of “working people” trying to “make ends meet” at the local supermarket). I have a better idea. Next time, just tell them that if that’s the case, it looks like a good buying opportunity — to…
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