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Academic: US oil companies ‘taking advantage’ of Ukraine war

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The sun sets beyond pumpjacks in the Belridge oil field on November 03, 2021 near McKittrick, California. (File photo by Getty Images)

An American academic and political commentator says US oil companies are “taking advantage of the war in Ukraine (and elsewhere) to recover losses incurred during the first two years of the pandemic when demand for oil was reduced due to economic 'lockdowns’.”

Beau Grosscup, professor emeritus of political science at California State University, said in an interview with Press TV on Saturday that American oil companies control the industry from pumping out of the ground to pumping gas at the station in the name of 'efficiency' they can manipulate the supply/demand 'free' market.”

A recent poll has shown that the majority of Americans believe that their financial situation is worsening amid rising inflation and mounting fears of a looming economic recession.

According to the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey shared exclusively with The Hill on Tuesday, 56 percent of the participants in the poll said that, financially, things were “getting worse” for them.

This is the highest percentage on record for the poll indicating overall anguish in US society.

Grosscup said, “Americans are anxious about their economic future as more citizens realize that the misdistribution of income and wealth (upper 1% owning or controlling a majority of the wealth and income) is likely to be a long-term feature of American capitalism unless a turn away from neo-liberalism is in the near future.”

“Both the Republicans and Democrat establishments know this but seem unable to return to Keynesian Economics. The privatization of the economy and reduced public spending on necessary services has left working class and middle-class citizens without a permanent social safety net to fall back on in hard times. Instead, now American citizens are left with 'one-time government handouts' to deal with their permanent economic problems. With the COVID pandemic economic disruption and the likely future of more viruses, and now the Biden war in Ukraine, all citizens see on the horizon is more uncertainty and government 'crisis-one time handouts' spending. Add in the rise in inflation, the rise of fascist politics on the Right and the total 'American experience' appears to be under threat, creating great political and economic uncertainty/instability,” he stated.

The national average price of gasoline in the United States reached $4.59 per gallon on Tuesday, marking the highest recorded average to date.

When Grosscup was asked what the main reasons behind the price spike are, he said, “The high price of gas reflects two realities. The oligopolistic (monopoly) structure of the energy industry means that US oil companies are now taking advantage of the war in Ukraine (and elsewhere) to recover losses incurred during the first two years of the pandemic when demand for oil was reduced due to economic 'lockdowns.' Because they control the industry from pumping out of the ground to pumping gas at the station in the name of 'efficiency' they can manipulate the supply/demand 'free' market.”

“Secondly, the refusal of Saudi-led OPEC to come to the rescue and the disruption of the Russian invasion of Ukraine (sanctions) has also led to higher prices that even the shift in US policy towards its oil-producing 'enemies' such as Iran and Venezuela can't solve. The future appears bright for the oil industry, as faced with the 'Green Revolution' demanding a world no longer using carbon-producing fuels, the higher prices at the pump have left little sympathy or support for dealing with the climate crisis and more support (especially among politicians) for pumping for oil and natural gas to lessen the shortage and continue the dependence on fossil fuels for energy,” he said.

‘Biden administration wants to start a New Cold War’

“The performance of the Biden administration has been disappointing for those Americans who sought a return to 'normalcy' after Trump,” said Grosscup.

“Domestically its' efforts to deal with major problems like a crumbling infrastructure, climate crisis, and civil rights have been blocked by the Republicans and a few Democrats, especially in the US Senate. It is also dealing with the rise of fascism in state politics and the reality of a judicial system at the highest level in tune with those fascist politics,” he said.

“In foreign policy, the Biden administration is on the way to its goal of starting a New Cold War. It is clear it has abandoned the so-called 'War on Terror' (and outright antagonism toward Iran) and shifted to Big Power conflict both in Euro-Asia (NATO expansion to the borders of Russia) and Asia (China/Taiwan) conflict with the newly formed QUAD institutional US-dominated 'alliance.'  Thus, increasingly the US economy will be more dependent on military spending as it was in the Cold War, needing funds for both fighting proxy wars (Ukraine at the moment) and in the preparation for Global War,” he said.

“Placing the US economy on a permanent Big Power Conflict war footing will help the arms industry and corporate world in general but require more economic sacrifice in all other areas of the economy that serve middle and working-class citizens. Whether it is sustainable or indeed, given nuclear war, is survivable is the big question. Politically, the fascist movement says the answer to both is 'yes' if the US political system abandons its' 'form of democracy' for authoritarianism,” he concluded.


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