Anyone who, in these weeks and months of the "oil crisis," is asked to forecast the future development of international economic relations and who looks for fixed data and reliable trends to support his forecast will soon run into serious difficulties. Even after the mid-February Energy Conference in Washington, the impression, disturbing in many respects, remains that the world economy has entered a phase of extraordinary instability and that its future course is absolutely uncertain; it may bring stability, but also still greater instability. More integration, closer cooperation, an improved division of labor may increase the overall prosperity of nations. But the future course may just as well be characterized by disintegration, national isolation and the search for more self-sufficiency, thereby enhancing the contrasts already existing in the world.