Panning for black gold
Speculators’ gambles are making high oil prices a “classic self-fulfilling prophecy,” says Paul Roberts in the Los Angeles Times. The falling dollar is raising U.S. oil prices by “perhaps as much as $20” a barrel, but “that pales against what speculators may be adding to the price.” Oil is especially susceptible to manipulation by speculators, because the market is volatile and “opaque.” And while the size of the “speculative premium” is “a matter of intense debate,” it’s “up to $45 for each barrel, or about $1 for each gallon of gasoline.” There’s “nothing criminal” in this, but it has costs. “Angry motorists,” for one, but it also gives Iran, for example, an extra $5.5 billion every month.
Christmas at the office
“Navigating your first holiday season in the workplace can be tricky,” says Shelly Banjo in The Wall Street Journal. But there are some things you can do—and shouldn’t do—around the holidays. Go to the holiday party, for example, but rather than “spending too much time at the open bar with your friends,” make new contacts and seek out “top-level executives” you wouldn’t otherwise mingle with. If you give your boss a gift, don’t go overboard and avoid religious themes; also, be gracious if you get a gift, and always send “a handwritten thank you card.” And no, you shouldn’t “do your holiday shopping on company time,” even if the office is quiet.