Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Is the Dream Possible?

Working with others in a cooperative way to solve our common problems is a dream of many and the reason the coop movement has been so successful in much of the world.  Working for justice and the common good instead of for profit and growth is an ideal we should applaud and support.

However, many of these schemes never see the light of day, and many end up as failures, and yet without these dreams of a better future there would be few successes. The Peace Weekly recently profiled an entrepreneur who had such a dream: to start a citizen's oil company to both lower the price of oil by 20 percent and to put people to work in a healthy environment.

Many saw this venture of competing against the current four oil companies and their lobby as an impossible  task, but Lee Tyae Pok (Daniel) would consider it a David-Goliath scenario. The influence of the four oil refining companies on government and part of the mass media, according to the Peace Weekly, is a serious problem. Some of Daniel's foreign friends see the oil market in Korea as grotesque: Why do the intelligent Koreans allow this to continue? they wonder. Using a citizen's income as the measuring standard, the money Koreans spend on gasoline is one of the highest in the world.

He lists four reasons why it is possible to lower the price of oil about 20 percent: The current oil companies buy crude oil at a high price, they pay unnecessary royalties, they buy and use catalysts, they also, in collusion, raise prices unnecessarily.

Korea has, he says, only four refining companies, while Japan, with about twice our population, has 18 companies, and China has 650, which keeps the price down. He says our oil companies are using mafia tactics to keep the medium-size businesses from entering the oil market.

During the movement for democracy, in1981, he was sentenced to die. With the help, he says, of Cardinal Kim and many others he was pardoned. And last year, after 31 years, he was formally acquitted of any crime. He has worked for the alienated in society, worked also in government, and now wants to spend the rest of his life working to make his dream of providing oil at a cheaper price a reality. He asks for our support. He is a man with a noble goal and his efforts to achieve it deserve our support.

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