Originally Posted by lightknight
Why would not they be? Your question is comparable to asking "why are American companies allowed
to set salaries when they could be set by an international body?" (yeah, that suggest "Indonesian salary-level for everyone except Ballmer-types")
Think again. You do NOT want some opaque ruling machine to decide what is, or is not, a good thing for the world, and what rules countries should follow when it comes to their production.
Especially when such logic leads to other people (usually lazy people) controlling how much you can earn.
Setting rules inside your own countries is good, even though liberalism would dictate "as few of them as possible". Setting rules for others is bad.
Boy you got that one wrong. Liberalism is all about excessive control.
One more thing: it could make sense that OPEC limits the production volume to enable oil use by further generations and prevent excessive pollution-per-year, and evil to try to prevent such a limit. Who decides what's the right behavior? How to prevent your (not you, sleepy3, but you "the person in charge") personal interest from biasing your decision?
The problem crops up when you have domestic companies or decisions break laws in your country. There isn't much one can do with industries based entirely outside of your country.
Example: An American would have most interest to have cheap oil. Anyone else than an American may observe that America is the biggest energy-user/polluter in the world, and think "how is America allowed to do that"?
OPEC is a group of countries that exists to enable those countries to negotiate their resources at the best possible price for them. That's what it's for. It was born from the fact that until 1960, oil companies (mainly British and American) abused their (Western-governements-militarily-backed, see why Persia's now called Iran if you doubt the military part) negotation power.
That is one way to look at it. A more rational way to look at it, especially now that we are more enlightened about the people in the middle east, is that for the most part you are dealing with animals. It could be argued that the world was far better off with heavy and sustained intervention in the middle east than the hands off approach we have now.
Conclusion: That's why OPEC is "allowed" to negotiate prices. Because if they weren't "allowed", then it would mean prices would be set by the Western world. In essence, the powerful, rich and pampered countries of the west would reap the riches of the world, and steal what is rightly Iranese, Saudi, or Venezuelian (etc). Don't you think the West does enough of that already?
As a producer you have certain rights to price your product. Your characterization of theft though is outrageous, the product was being paid for either way. What OPEC exploited was a dependence upon a product and did so from establishments outside the USA, often by stealing capital from the USA. The difference here is that many of the business involved in the LCD panel industry have a legal presence in the US that can be targetted for enforcement of the laws of the land.
In the end a rational person has to ask himself if we took the right route dealing with the OPEC nations when they first formed. It can be rationally argued that military intervention when OPEC formed, would have eliminated much of the trouble currently existing in the world today.