Speeches Articles

Managing the Oil Crisis

Speech delivered during the Development RoundTable Series Forum on Oil and Electric Power held at the Sulo Hotel on 17 June 2008

Our dependency on oil has never been more excruciating than it is today.   The price of fuel has reached unheard of heights.  The price of crude went above $139 a barrel over a week ago, before easing.  At the pump, the price of unleaded gasoline has gone beyond P56 and diesel above P49.  We are now consuming over 120 million barrels a year, and 90 per cent of that is sourced outside the country.

What is causing this unprecedented rise in global oil prices?  The key factor seems to be that the demand for oil is rising much faster than its supply, and this is due fundamentally  to the fact that the few old oilfields on which the world relies for most of its oil are being depleted and no new fields have been discovered that can match their production and reserves.  Peak oil, which was viewed just a few years ago as a outlandish theory, is now being treated as fact.  The second factor pushing up prices is the rush to buy oil futures contracts, a development that is partly determined by the fear that available oil will increasingly become scarce, partly by the desire of investors to park their wealth in oil instead of the declining dollar.

Challenges and Dilemmas of the Public Intellectual

Excerpts from Walden Bello's acceptance speech at the Outstanding Public Scholar Award
Panel, International Studies Association, 49th Annual Convention, San
Francisco, California, March 27, 2008.  Bello was the second recipient
of the award, the first being Dr. Susan George in 2007. Members of the
panel honoring Bello were George; Dr. Richard Falk, professor emeritus
at Princeton University; Dr. Robin Broad, professor at American
University, and Dr.Barry Gills, professor at the University of
Newcastle. 

I would like, first of all, to say that I am very grateful to the
International Political Economy Section of the International Studies
Association for this award.  I am very, very honored by the generous
comments of Barry [Gills], Robin [Broad], Richard [Falk] and Susan
[George].  And it really is an honor to be in the company of Susan, the
first person to be given this award.  Let me just say that, especially
in comparison to Susan, I am not really sure that I am the best person
to be named ISA’s Outstanding Public Scholar for 2008, though I think I
would consider myself a public intellectual or, as the French say,
intellectuel engage—that is, one who marries analysis to action, or at
least tries to.

I have been asked by Barry to share some of the lessons I have learned
in my work as a public intellectual. This is not easy since although my
views about things are very public, I am not used to speaking about my
life in public.

Selected Economic, Political, and Social Trends in Asia in a Global Context

Briefing for 11.11.11, Balay Kalinaw, University of the Philippines, 24 March 2008.


The Global Financial System in Crisis

Speech at the Seminar on "Dismantling Obstacles to Advancing Development Agenda and Accountability," People's Development Forum, Bahay ng Alumni, University of the Philippines, 25 March 2008.

I have been asked to address the issue of the international financial architecture that provides the context for aid flows. 
My response is what architecture?  In fact, we now stand on the brink of what former US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan last week characterized as possibly the worst economic crisis since the Second World War because of the lack of architecture or structure to govern global capital flows.  The so-called subprime mortgage crisis that has resulted so far in losses of some $400 billion and threatens a chain reaction of collapsing financial institutions globally is the end product of a process of deregulation of financial markets that began during the Reagan-Thatcher era.  This is the latest of some 100 financial crises in the last 30 years, according to the count of the Brookings Institution.

Managing the Oil Crisis

We ought not to be completely helpless, however. What is so shocking about the current state of affairs is that our...