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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

IAS Fellow's Seminar

Fellow: Dr Wilf Wilde

Chair: Professor Richard Davies

ELUSIVE REVOLUTIONS AND THE PRICE OF OIL

In 1974 Ruth First then teaching at Durham, published a book called ‘Elusive Revolutions’ on the army coup that brought Colonel Gaddafi to power in Libya in 1969. The idea of ‘Elusive Revolutions’ still seems a useful way into the political economy of North Africa and the Middle East since 2011. I will look in this talk mainly at Egypt, Iraq and Libya.

My main thesis is that the oil price has been driven to new long run equilibrium highs by global geopolitics. As the events of the Arab Spring have shown, this will be as true in the twenty first century, as it was in the twentieth. The oil market has been telling us since 2011 that we are in a new energy era. So what I call the Empire of Capital lies to us and fight wars for its ‘energy security’.