Control of oil

As your correspondent Ian Johnstone (Letters, 20 December) rightly observes, it is governments that decide oil prices. Normally, Saudi Arabia would have ruled an Opec cut in production to maintain a fairly stable price, but for its own 
political reasons has kept the price down.

This is to impose heavy losses on states it sees as enemies, and imposes heavy losses on the Saudis also. They are able to do this because they have large cash reserves, but these are not infinite. It is likely that in a year or 18 months the Saudis will restore prices to a more normal level.

In response to Richard Allison (Letters, same edition), if Scotland had become independent the Scottish Government would have had the power to reduce the exceptionally high level of tax on oil, and take immediate steps to enable the industry to survive this attack.

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Since control of tax rates remains in UK control, all that the Scottish government can do is to try to awaken Westminster to the need for immediate major tax cuts. The solution lies where the power lies!

John Smart

Kinneddar Street


Correspondence about the price of oil (Letters, 20 December) misses the point. Governments no longer control their own economies, and neither can they act together to control the world economy. Prices are decided by global speculators, and the bankers who finance them. They make money no matter which way the markets move. The fiscal power of this cohort now overwhelms government action.

The price of everyday foodstuffs is largely dictated by these speculators, who make money in markets they can control by the sheer size of their bets. Other essentials, such as oil and raw materials, suffer a similar fate.

The assets of the world have become gambling chips in a casino, and their prices are driven by those who play in that casino.

Malcolm Parkin

Gamekeepers Road

Kinnesswood, Kinross