OPEC has been getting media attention lately as oil prices are on the rise. These mostly middle-eastern countries supply about 40% of the world's crude oil resources combined and many countries rely on OPEC, including the US. The OPEC website claims the organizational goal is "to bring stability and harmony to the oil market by adjusting [the] oil output to help ensure a balance between supply and demand." From the point of view of a consumer, this is the absolute opposite of what has been happening in the economy. OPEC is taking advantage of the fact that demand for oil is high by minimizing the available supply and raising prices. The balance they speak of surely is not helping Americans balance their checkbooks every month! In contrast, from a managerial point of view, oil is very inelastic and OPEC can afford to stretch the pocket books of Americans. Yes, there are alternatives to fueled cars - hybrid models, bikes, buses, walking - but no substitutes to oil. Unfortunately, we cannot put milk or coke in our engines. Realistically, driving is more convinient and comfortable; OPEC knows Americans are able and willing to pay, so they are making a desirable equilibrium point to maximize their profits. What good business organization wouldn't do this? Does the phrase, "it's not personal, it's business" ring true in this situation?
On a side note, if OPEC supplies 40% of the crude oil resources, where is the other 60%?