There’s an article on Salon’s website the rehashes much of the history and cause of rising oil prices. The title points to the day when oil cost past the historic, inflation adjusted high that was reached in 1980 during the Iranian hostage crisis. The author argues that the present turmoil in the oil market that is driving prices to record levels is not a temporary situation but rather a new “normal” state.
The article closes with the following conclusions that will result from sustained rising prices:
“…The only good news may lie in just how bad the news really is. Sooner or later, ever rising energy costs are likely to push the United States and other oil-consuming nations into deep recession, thus depressing demand and possibly beginning to bring energy prices down. But this is hardly a recipe for lower prices that anyone would voluntarily choose.
What, then, will be the lasting consequences of higher energy costs? For the ordinary American consumer the answer is simple, if grim: A diminished quality of life, as discretionary expenses disappear in the face of higher costs for transportation, home heating, and electricity, not to speak of basics like food (for which, from fertilizers to packaging, oil is a necessity). For the poor and elderly, the implications are dire: In some cases, it will undoubtedly mean choosing among heat in winter, adequate nutrition and medicine.
Finally, there are the implications for the United States as a whole. Because the U.S. relies on petroleum for approximately 40 percent of its total energy supply, and because nearly two-thirds of its crude oil must be imported, this country will be forced to devote an ever-increasing share of its national wealth to energy imports. If oil remains at or above the $100 per barrel mark in 2008, and, as expected, the United States imports some 4.75 billion barrels of the stuff, the net outflow of dollars is likely to be in the range of $475 billion. This will constitute the largest single contribution to America’s balance-of-payments deficit and will surely prove a major factor in the continuing erosion of the dollar.”
The rest of the article continues to discuss the geo-political implications.
Not much good news here frankly. But ignoring this and its implications for the our lives and the Church is just going to make it all worse.
Read the rest here.