An energy analyst has concluded that the key factor causing the world's economic woes is ”high-priced fuel syndrome“ which induces sluggish growth and range of other ailments.
Peak oil expert Gail Tverberg has written a lengthy report for Our Finite World in which she observes that lofty fuels costs are stymieing the growth of the global economy and industrialized nations in particular.
According to Tverberg's analysis the developed world is worst afflicted by high-priced fuel syndrome due to their copious oil dependence, and the fact that the liquid fossil fuel has been especially expensive over the past several years.
At this point, Europe is hardest-hit by high-priced fuel syndrome. In part this is because Europe is a big importer of both oil and gas, and both are high-priced. European countries have also encouraged the use of high-priced renewables, adding to their difficulties.
Tverberg has dire forecasts for the global economy if dependence upon exhaustible fossil fuels persists. The crux of the issue is not so much their relative abundance as much as their relative cost.
While many people have laughed at the issue of the world “running out of oil” (or natural gas, or some other substitute fuel), it seems to me that they have basically missed the point. There is always lots of fuel in the ground, or available through devices we create that produce “renewable” fuel. The major issue is that the fuel becomes too expensive for the economy to afford.