For the most part one can contribute “the lions share” of the blame for the Great Recession on the collective human mind; in fact, the entire world enterprise is a product of the human mind and its interface with the world environment. What we humans want, we get, supply does wane, prices do go up – oil is no exception. Oil is the single biggest influencer on the human enterprise, without a doubt, where oil goes we follow. There are replacements, just none that come into play quickly enough to offer a liberating degree of fungiblity for this item, as George Bush said “we are addicted to it”. When oil goes up, economic growth wanes, it is a constant in reviewing the modern economy. The good news is that there has been somewhat of a decoupling of oil and GDP post the 1970’s oil crisis. The move to a more efficient fleet is partly responsible and of course, we have moved to a more “intellectually” based economy – less physical stuff relative to information and services.
Note: In August 2015 this speculation has come true, the price is now half what it was when I wrote this.