I’m always amazed with the amount of choice we have as consumers in America. There are like 50 types of toothpaste, 10 different types of milk, dozens of types of cars, stereos, etc. This is a good thing, although it’s a bit excessive. One of the least obvious benefits of choice is that we can boycott companies and products by being careful about our purchases. I have a whole list of places I won’t shop and products I won’t buy.
This is a very good thing. This is where my conservative side shows up in spades. The free market is a wonderful tool for the consumer to influence the company (and also the price of products) and the economy and in some cases politics.
So, it should come as a surprise to all of you that there is no way for us to decide as consumers where our oil comes from. If you think about it, we get our gasoline from a number of different places. It comes from the Middle East, Russia, South America, Canada, Alaska, etc. But when we pull up the pump we have no way of telling who we are supporting other than the company selling the gas (and there are a few on our household list that we won’t go to).
But imagine for a moment that you could boycott all oil from the Middle East or perhaps Alaska. Would you pay 1 or 2 cents more per gallon to get your oil from Canada or South America? I would. Why is it that we can have 50 different types of toothpaste, but we can’t choose where our oil comes from?