Monday, January 12, 2009

January 12, 2009 question

Yes, it did take me nine days to realize this was 2009. So sue me.

I caught the opening story on 60 Minutes last night about the true reason behind the sudden jump (and subsequent crash) in the price of gasoline at the pump. It was a real good story, but allow me to oversimplify it for us all.

Think of oil as Miley Cyrus concert tickets. Think of the oil companies as TicketMaster. The report alleged that concert venues are getting bigger, there are more dates on the tour schedule, and interest in Miley Cyrus is waning slightly. But there are these people called commodity traders (aka ticket scalpers) who don't even like Hannah Montana, but they still buy up all the tickets they can for the entire tour. They have a real good feeling that Miley's minions will pay a lot more than what TicketMaster is charging, and they're right. But fans can't buy Hannah Montana tickets from the scalpers . . . no, the scalpers have no intention of selling to actual consumers. They don't even want the smell of Hannah Montana tickets on their hands. Instead, they sell the tickets to actual ticketing agents, who then dispense the tickets to the real fans at about 4 times the face value. TicketMaster does pretty well (especially since they realize they can increase their prices now that the scalpers have driven up the market price. Miley Cyrus ain't hurting. The smaller ticketing agents barely make a living. The people who make the most money are the scalpers . . . yeah, the one's who add exactly zero point zero, zero to the well being of the world. And it's all perfectly legal. Yummy.

It's ridiculous, whether you're talking about oil, gas, or actual concert tickets. The answer to today's question is the real kicker, though. Here it is:

According to the story on 60 Minutes, investors from what company became the most sought-after recruits on Wall Street as 2001 came to a close?

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