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The idea that oil wealth can be a curse is an old one – and it should need no explaining. Every few decades, energy prices rise to the heavens, kicking off a scramble for new sources of oil. The last great oil bust occurred in the 1980s – and it changed the world. As a young man working in the Texas oil patch in the spring of 1980, I watched prices for the U.S. benchmark crude rise as high as $45 a barrel – $138 in today's dollars. The real risk lies in countries that are heavily dependent on oil.As recently as a year ago, Angola, Africa's second largest oil producer, was the darling of global investors.A half-decade of civil war has left an impoverished population fighting over the country's dwindling oil revenues. Food and medicine are in short supply as warlords struggle for the remnants of Libya's national wealth.These countries are not only dependent on oil exports; they also rely heavily on imports.
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