chapter  1
4 Pages


Any poll of academics, business executives, politicians or journalists would identify the ‘oil crisis’ as the economic event of the 1970s. Section 2 will detail the story, but it may be worthwhile reminding the reader of the main facts. Figure 2.1 shows the path of oil prices between 1973 and 1987; not shown is the long preceding period of stability before 1970, and a progressive increase between 1970 and 1973. We observe a large jump around December 1973 and January 1974. A long period of stability is interrupted by a spectacular increase at the change of decade and an even more spectacular decrease from 1982 onwards. The changes in market shares illustrated by Figure 2.2 are nearly as spectacular.