Several years ago a lot of Smart Guys discovered how to get rich(er).
They looked at interest rates, energy prices and technology, and borrowed a bunch of money (and/or bought or leased land, equipment and facilities, hired people, and issued stocks or bonds) and set about to find, develop, pump and refine copious amounts of oil- and gas-related energy products.
The catch: they hadn’t figured on so many other Smart Guys doing exactly the same thing.
Instead of getting rich, they created an over-supply of said energy products resulting in a halving of oil and gas prices. Even though interest rates were next to zero, they soon found themselves unable to re-pay all the money they’d borrowed (or committed).
Result? A whole bunch of Smart Guys are losing their shirts and looking for someone to blame. They can’t blame themselves; they weren’t stupid; they were Smart.
What should they have done? Develop it slowly. Leave it in the ground until it was needed. But the Smart Guys are also greedy and short-sighted. So, they’re still pumping oil we don’t need out of the ground at half the price it was. After all, they have bills to pay.
And they’re Smart Guys.
(You and I can figure this out, why can’t the Smart Guys in business, in Washington and the Nobel Economics laureates? It’s not some right-, left-wing, Saudi, Iranian or capitalistic conspiracy. It’s a bunch of Smart Guys who aren’t.)