The economic and political ramifications of rising oil prices are astounding. It is interesting how far they reach, and also how deeply dependent countries are on this commodity. It shows that the extent to which oil might be considered fundamental is a significant one, given its impact on the most basic human need: food.
The economics of oil demonstrates itself as being perhaps the most intricate of all commodities, as it has the ability to affect not just the economy of its suppliers by also the economy of the entire world. The idea that food (or the lack thereof) can stir national conflict does not appear to be very far-fetched. However, the connection that food has to oil prices certainly places oil (as a commodity) in a much higher place than it perhaps should be.
Oil is usually considered closely connected to such non-essential (yet highly used) commodities as gasoline and by extension motor vehicles. The importance of oil on the world market may for this reason have been considered an enigma. However, this connection that it has to food makes it understandable why the demand for oil is so inexorably high (Whitelaw, 2008).
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Of concern is the realization that the rising food costs have also been affecting the ability of the United Nations’ food aid agency and other philanthropic organizations to provide food for the economically struggling countries. The international aspect of the rising prices may spell doom for certain countries that have benefited from such aid in the past. More frightening is that fact that it may also create further shortages in areas that before had needed no aid, and it has been affecting the chances for relief possessed by refugees fleeing famine in their own countries (Whitelaw, 2008).
These implications make it more exigent that alternative energy sources be sought. It may end up being more economical to spend millions on research that will result in a more sustainable form of energy. The prospect of oil depletion in the coming years is clearly not the only problem humans now face in regard to concentration upon this particular energy source. More immediate effects resulting in economic and political tension are clearly serious consequences of humans’ dependence on oil.
Whitelaw, K. (2008). “The dangers from rising food prices: costlier commodities could trigger unrest in poor countries and may curtail food aid to refugees.” U.S. News World Report. New York. Available
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