A survey of events from World War II to the present reveals how the Colombian elite has continued to manipulate energy policies to the detriment of the rest of the population. World War II convinced the ruling class to soften its opposition to economic growth. The export of agricultural products to pay for manufactured imports no longer guaranteed sufficient consumer goods to an upper class facing wartime supply shortages due to disruptions in shipping and foreign production. Colombia could not remain a purely agricultural country but had to attain a minimal industrial base to guarantee a good life for the elite. Scarcities of tires, steel, gasoline, and other items had inconvenienced many who could not understand why these shortages existed when Colombia was stockpiling unusually large foreign exchange reserves during the war.