This almost 30 minute interview from In Conversation with Allan Gregg economist Jeffery Rubin talks about his book “The End of Growth”. His basic thesis is that high oil prices (100+ a barrel) will cause economic growth in the developed world to flat line (while China and India will slow to 4-5%) and the world is stuck with high oil prices because the marginal barrels being produced from the Canadian oil sands and the US light tight oil need these high oil prices. Basically it’s a catch 22 situation, to have traditional economic growth rates you need enough cheap oil, but to have enough oil we need to develop expensive sources and for that we need to have high oil prices. It’s basically a continuation of the energy return on energy invested (EROEI) argument.
But Jeff argues that this situation will have many silver linings. The higher transport costs will reverse the trend of globalisation and make local industry more competitive. It will also force us to have better urban planning and higher population densities that is a characteristic of the more livable world cities. The demise of the suburbs and high food prices will provide an economic incentive to turn much of this prime agricultural land back to the purpose they were originally used for – farming.