Rhodes Today. Who Tomorrow?
By Professor Jonathan Clark
Friday 22nd January:This week students at the Oxford Union voted to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes, though not by a large majority (245-212).
At a Price?
Oil and the Economic Future
Friday 15th January: This week’s oil price tumble to $30 a barrel may confirm the gloomy picture of the global economy. But it should also serve as a warning that geo political stability may also take a hit, explains Professor Harold James.
The oil price is often regarded as a sort of thermometer to measure the health of the world economy. It surged in the financial crisis, and the dramatic fall to under USD 30 a barrel (from almost USD 150 in June 2008) is now being interpreted as a sign of a new impending meltdown.
It is worth thinking about how the lines of causation work. Expensive oil produces increased costs for most rich industrial economies, and so a surge of oil prices will slow economic growth. Spikes in the oil price were associated with global recessions in the1973-74 and 1979-80 (the oil price shocks), but also in 2000 and 2008. A slowing of economic growth might be expected – other things being equal – to lead to a price decline. That is roughly the story of today’s situation. Oil prices plummeted in the immediate aftermath of the September 2008 Lehman shock, but then recovered substantially, as the vigour of emerging market growth stopped a repetition of the interwar Great Depression. Today, the weakness in all major emerging markets – with the possible exception of India – is depressing the demand for oil. It is not surprising that petroleum problems are now regarded as proof of global economic fragility.