Economists are still hotly debating whether the oil crash has been a net positive for advanced economies.
Optimists argue that cheap oil is a good thing for consumers and commodity-sensitive businesses, while pessimists point to the hit to energy-related investment and possible spillover into the financial system.
A new note from Francisco Blanch at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, however, puts the oil move into a much bigger perspective, arguing that a sustained price plunge "will push back $3 trillion a year from oil producers to global consumers, setting the stage for one of the largest transfers of wealth in human history."
This transfer of wealth will help accelerate the destabilization of the gulf oil states. You could see the fall of governments in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar, just to name a few. This, in turn, will force the United States to prop up those countries and deal with more and more radicals. Our military should be looking at these trends. How do we structure our military to deal with countries destabilized by the fall of the price of oil?
Oh, and if people drive more, won't that increase the possibility that we're headed towards more climate change and higher sea levels?