Oil's Silver Lining

The $100 barrel gives us another chance to change our ways

In April 1980, oil prices went stratospheric, peaking at about $100 a barrel, adjusted for inflation. Some of the causes might sound familiar. Constantly rising demand. Political crises in Iran and Iraq. Uncertainty about the extent of future reserves. And, of course, the edgy enthusiasm of commodities buyers, whose fears drive up the price.

A generation later, we've returned to the grim neighborhood of $100 oil, having arrived down the same path. Demand is up more than 60% worldwide since the early 1980s, as China and India lead a wave of nations roaring into modernity. Iraq is a shambles, Iran a menace. Leading...

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