Corradi, Alberto Quirós
June 1979
Foreign Affairs;Summer79, Vol. 57 Issue 5, p1144
This article examines factors that affect the exercise of energy-related power. Energy remains a sensitive focus of power interaction. There are, regrettably, few signs of long-term stabilization of the energy situation. The Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries (OPEC) are still essentially developing countries and they have yet to understand fully how to use their power effectively. As long as the consumers are content to remain dependent rather than interdependent, they remain vulnerable and diminish their power. The present competition involving consumers, OPEC and the non-oil developing countries is destructive to all. What has to be understood is that there is no balance between the current energy requirements of the developed nations and the need, in social, political or economic terms, to produce these same requirements by the underdeveloped world. If the industrialized world were to reduce consumption of natural resources in order to keep pace with the long-term resource extraction policies by the underdeveloped producer nations, then world growth would come to a standstill and stagnation would result. If the underdeveloped world were to produce its resources at the rate required by the developed nations, it would exhaust its one element of power, natural resources, and would still sit at the tail end of the growth line in the future. So it seems that the time frame against which these fundamental social and political decisions are being made is wrong. Whatever the oil price, it is a symptom, not a cause, of differing needs. The producers need the understanding of the consumers, for whatever short-term benefits can be obtained will be short-lived, as has been demonstrated by recent events.


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