Friday, February 25, 2011


This is a good on-the-ground account of what's been happening in Libya.  These revolutions spreading throughout the Middle East are, needless to say, very significant.  However, I cannot say that I'm among the many cheerleaders who are applauding them due to the people finally becoming free.  Historically, revolutions end up going in directions that very few can antipicate, and oftentimes, a regime that is just as oppressive as the one that was just overthrown can end up taking the reins of power.  I think that there are other reasons at play here behind these insurrections, things that have little to do with a sudden, unquenchable yearning for democracy.  As I'd noted previously, food prices are on the rise around the world.  We got a sneak preview of these events in 2008, when the initial wave of commidities spikes led to food riots in several countries.  Now, we are on to the feature presentation, where entire governments in what is called "the developing world" are being overthrown.  Regardless of what kind of government they are replaced with, it is questionable the impact it will have on these runaway food prices.  Democracy and freedom may be grand, but you can't eat it. 

Even more uncertain is the lasting effect the revolution in Libya will have on the world's economy.  Libya's daily oil output has been reduced by 50 to 60 percent since the uprising.  Although Libya's oil production is tiny (1.6 million bpd, compared to the approx. 85 million bpd globally), this has raised fears that similar unrest could spread to more significant oil-producing nations.  Some say that if Libya's oil production were to cease completely, the price of a barrel of oil could pass $200 a barrel.  We may not have to even officially reach peak before the bottom falls out of the global economy.