Syria and the Price of Oil

A blog about business and economics.
Aug. 29 2013 8:23 PM

Syria and the Price of Oil

This guy's got a jar full of Canadian oil. War's good for him.


CNBC reports that oil prices are falling on the news that the UK parliament voted against military action in Syria. That's after several days in which rumors of war had sent oil prices up.

Oil often comes up in Middle Eastern geopolitics, but in a sense I feel like it rarely comes up directly enough. For starters, these market moves are at least decent evidence that observers who are neither "hawks" nor "doves" but who do have money on the line feel that bombing makes the region less stable rather than more stable. More straightforwardly, they're also just a sign that war could have a meaningful deleterious impact on the American economy. Higher oil prices are a negative supply shock to the United States that would slow job growth and reduce real wages.


I'm not going to pretend that cheap oil is some kind of decisive consideration. There's a strong case for not bombing that has nothing to do with oil. But the potential negative impact on the American economy is something hawks should address, and the predictive aspect of the oil futures markets is another thing hawks should address. The Arab League seems to think on a political level that bombing would be destabilizing, and oil markets seem to agree.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.



Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

Even if You Don’t Like Batman, You Might Like Gotham

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Nicolas Sarkozy, Thrice Married, Says Gay Marriage Humiliates the Family

  News & Politics
Over There
Sept. 22 2014 1:29 PM “That’s Called Jim Crow” Philip Gourevitch on America’s hypocritical interventions in Africa.
Sept. 22 2014 1:37 PM Subprime Loans Are Back! And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
Sept. 22 2014 4:06 PM No, Women’s Soccer Does Not Have a Domestic Violence Problem Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 3:16 PM Watch the Best Part of Beyoncé and Jay Z’s On the Run Tour
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 12:14 PM Family Court Rules That You Can Serve Someone With Legal Papers Over Facebook
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.