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Energy tensions: Consumption, dependence, and conflicts

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The development of the nations was always backed by the energy requirements, the discoveries of the techniques available and the needs and the levels of development. Until the 18th century, the evolutions were very slow. Man used his own force, or that of the animals, as well as the force of the wind or water. The industrial revolution was an energy revolution.

The use of coal was seen as an energy source, allowing the economic growth and technique and the exploitation of new energies. Coal was later followed by oil which because of its price, of its facility of use and its energy capacity became the base of nations. It was the gold of our times and was called ?the black gold'.

These two energy sources are today still the energies used by the whole world. Other energies appeared, like the natural gas in particular, which was called ?the white gold'. It constituted with coal and oil and they became the three independent sources of energy. These energies accelerated economic, industrialist development and gave the impulse to formidable economic development with the growth of the West. Economic development is thus based on these three energies.

History has shown that raw materials, offered by nature and which may be exploited, have always been an issue, ensuring their control power and wealth. This reality has taken on an unprecedented scale in the past. Indeed, these resources are not evenly distributed on the surface of the earth: there is no coincidence between producing countries, resource holders and consumer countries, which promoted the early development of trade flows.

In addition, these energy sources are finite, nonrenewable energy are in stock. These two factors now play a decisive role. Previously, energy demand is relatively concentrated: the largest consumption took place in developed countries with high growth, the share consumed by the rest of the world remain very thin. The energy market economic system was then a "banal", operating under the usual laws of economics, supply and demand regulate without too many problems: energy seemed abundant, it was cheap.

Today the politics and economics are subjected to a new problem: the emerging markets like China, India or Brazil who access the horizon for economic power have to catch up with wealthy nations with a growing ever stronger requiring energy consumption ever more important. The new logic of the global economy disrupt the energy market: the need inextinguishable companies find themselves subjected to a finite world with limited resources gradually shrinking and whose prices are rising, especially since the gas producing countries and oil are becoming aware of the richness of their resources.

These issues are geo-economic and geopolitical dimensions, the flow of trade and economic behavior becomes determined by the balance of power, the will to control of resources resulting in power struggles over territories. Resource-producing countries, aware that their production depends on the economy in the world, have more power and raise their prices.

To ensure that supply an absolute necessity, have emerged struggles geostrategic tensions between energy policy strategies (to control areas rich in energy sources), bilateral agreements between producers and consumers, until 'to war: great source of international trade, energy has become a source of international tension.

The issue of energy has become essential in today's world, because of non-renewable nature of fossil fuels that are the foundation for development, posing the question of the further development of the companies according to the model in force, foundations of economic growth. The late twentieth century has seen new logic on the energy market, which are no longer only economic logic but where politics plays an increasing.

Tags: energy; consumption; dependence; conflicts

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