From Scarcity to Abundance: The New Geopolitics of Energy


  • Michael Klare Hampshire College



For most of the Petroleum Age, and even as recently as ten years ago, the politics of energy were largely governed by perceptions of scarcity: the assumption that global supplies of most primary fuels were finite and would eventually prove insufficient to satisfy rising worldwide demand, resulting in intense competition over what remained.  The enduring prevalence of this view led many oil-importing nations to establish close ties with their major foreign suppliers and to employ force on occasion to ensure the safety of overseas supply lines.  This outlook guided American foreign policy for over half a century, resulting in several U.S. interventions in the Persian Gulf area.  Recently, however, a combination of technological and political considerations – the introduction of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) to extract oil and natural gas from previously inaccessible shale formations on one hand and rising concern over climate change on the other – has largely extinguished the perception of scarcity, introducing entirely new dynamics into the geopolitics of energy.


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Biografia do Autor

Michael Klare, Hampshire College

professor emeritus of peace and world-security studies at Hampshire College. He is the author of 14 books, including, most recently, The Race for What’s Left






Opinion Paper