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Energy, Economic Growth, and Geopolitical FuturesEight Long-Range Scenarios$
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Evan Hillebrand and Stacy Closson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262028899

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262028899.001.0001

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A New Bipolarity

A New Bipolarity

Chapter:
(p.97) 6 A New Bipolarity
Source:
Energy, Economic Growth, and Geopolitical Futures
Author(s):

Evan Hillebrand

Stacy Closson

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262028899.003.0006

This fifth scenario is marked by high energy prices, strong growth, and global disharmony. The world economy recovers from the quagmire of 2008, pushing up energy prices sharply. China continues to have very high growth, tempting it to assert its new-found power against its neighbors and its great-power rival, the United States. However, the United States employs trade measures that contain China’s power. Thus, a new bipolarity is one in which there is no superpower, and both the United States and China struggle for influence over states. The disharmony occurs mostly within developing countries who continue to supply the richer countries but whose citizens do not reap the rewards. It gradually becomes apparent that oil reserves in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were vastly overstated and production slides, putting further pressure on prices. Reduced world oil supply has minimal effects on world economic growth; however, as OECD countries and emerging economies have adjusted over several decades to phase in more natural gas supplies, build more nuclear plants, and make renewable sources more cost effective. The United States becomes significantly more energy secure in this scenario as it moves away from oil supplies and into new energy technology markets that it dominates.

Keywords:   High Energy Prices, Strong Growth, Global Disharmony, Bipolarity, Renewables

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