A few weeks ago, I used the word 'fungible' to describe money. In case some of you don't know what it means, I quote a definition -
(esp. of goods) being of such nature or kind as to be freely exchangeable or replaceable, in whole or in part, for another of like nature or kind.
When I used it before, I was making the point that money received from one source has the same value as money received from another source, even though people often treat them differently.Today I'm reminded of it because I've stumbled on what I consider to be some well-meaning idiocy - a campaign designed to persuade Americans to purchase oil from countries that don't finance terror. I realise how seductive this notion is (though Canada is actually America's largest foreign supplier) because it's painful to think that you're funding jihad when you fill your tank.
But the idea is utterly flawed. Oil is fungible. If the US were to somehow buy all its foreign oil from sources like Nigeria and Brunei, that would merely remove from the market oil that other nations, like China for instance, could buy from them. And since the US would not be buying from terror-sponsors, China and others would switch to buying oil from terror sponsoring states. And everything's back to square one.