"The London offices of BP and Shell have been raided by European
regulatorsinvestigating allegations they have 'colluded' to rig oil pricesfor more than a decade. The European commission said its officers carried out 'unannounced inspections' at several oil companies in London, the Netherlands and Norway to investigate claims they may have 'colluded in reporting distorted pricesto a price reporting agency [PRA] to manipulate the published pricesfor a number of oil and biofuel products ... It warned: 'Even small distortions of assessed prices may have a huge impact on the prices of crude oil, refined oil products and biofuels purchases and sales, potentially harming final consumers.'"
Of course, these manipulations of "self-policing" mechanisms for setting prices are endemic across the economic heights commanded by our most illustrious financial and industrial elites, as Matt Taibbi noted last month. And I'm sure the dastardly deeds of the oil companies in fixing prices will be dealt with just as harshly and thoroughly as the recent Libor scandal was: with a few chump-change fines that put not the slightest crimp in the criminals' operations nor impeded their ready access to the inner circles (and outer fundraisers) of government power.
So while continuing a fierce vigilance against the
Of course, the "state" and the "free market" are simply two halves of the same rough beast. The modern "free market' is the result of massive, continual and pervasive state
Or as the old song says: "nobody save you now."
UPDATE: We were remiss in omitting one of the most important benefits (or should that be "entitlements"?) that the state provides to the "free market": protection from the laws of, er, the state. Again,Taibbi points out a recent example.