Oil Shock III? Oil Shock III?

September 25, 1990

As if to affirm that "History repeats itself," the third oil shock in seventeen years has been threatening. But history never repeats itself exactly, and important differences exist between this incipient oil shock and the previous two, including differences in the likely magnitude of the shock, in the vulnerability of oil consumers, in the state of the world economy, and in the economic policy options open to governments in the industrial oil-importing countries.

The author finds that all of these differences are favorable, tending to weaken the force of the latest shock. He cautions, however, that some OPEC members may not yet have learned that large, abrupt oil price increases are inimical to their own interests.

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