Business: Here Comes the New Optimism

Wealth means power, and the sharp rise in oil prices promises to bring a great deal more of that to the producers' cartel. Last May the World Bank startled the international community with a grim forecast that oil country surpluses would reach $653 billion by 1980, and an incredible $1.2 trillion by 1985. Surpluses on this scale would mean deep deficits and an era of unprecedented political and economic strains among the consuming countries.

Lately, however, a kind of new optimism about the future size and strain-causing potential of OPEC surpluses has been gaining vogue. Several revisionist studies suggest that the OPEC...

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