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Whatever Happened to the Energy Crisis?

Hendrik S. Houthakkee

Year: 1983
Volume: Volume 4
Number: Number 2
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol4-No2-1
View Abstract

The term energy crisis was apparently first used in the later 1960s, by whom I am not sure. Presumably it means a situation where the available energy supplies are so low as to prevent or even reverse economic growth. The underlying idea is that energy is mostly derived from fossil fuels which will be exhausted within relatively few years. Although since the 1960s there have been one or two episodes that are occasionally interpreted as energy crises, it is by now clear that whatever it is that ails the world economy, it is not a shortage of fossil fuels. In fact, popular discussions have recently turned from the oil "shortage" to the oil "glut."In retrospect, it appears that predictions of an energy crisis were just another example of a resource scare, of which there have been many in the past. As long ago as 1865, the great English economist William Stanley Jevons worried about the consequences of Britain running out of coal. As it happens, Britain is still producing large amounts of coal and has also gone into oil and gas in a big way.

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