Customer Reviews: Confronting Collapse: The Crisis of Energy and Money in a Post Peak Oil World
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on December 26, 2009
This book is 'A Presidential Energy Policy' re-released under a new title. In it, Mike Ruppert explains the relationships between energy (especially oil) and finance. The book is written in a clear and straight-forward manner that makes it accessible to everyone. If you would like to understand the relationship between oil and finance, and how the present policy arrangements for these vital components of the system we live within have brought the world to the brink of financial, social and cultural collapse, then read this book.

For years Mike Ruppert has been accurately and relentlessly forecasting that unless we changed our understanding of energy and the way money works, the financial collapse we have now been witnessing would take place. His only objective has been to advise any who would listen about the paradigm shifting changes under way, and therefore how to prepare themselves in order to best survive, and even to prosper during and after the crisis.

With that in mind, in this book he explains the current crisis clearly and succinctly before setting out a policy agenda which offers a path forward - not just for shadowy multi-billionaire and multi-trillionaire bankers and their friends but for all citizens of the United States and in fact of the world. The contents of the book cover oil depletion (peak oil), electricity infrastructure, alternative energies, food, localization, money, foreign policy, and of course a twenty five point plan for addressing the most urgent issues.

To date the elected officials of the United States, whichever party they represent, seem to believe that lining the pockets of the financial elites with untold trillions worth of dollars of taxpayers money is the only policy response worth pursuing (Cynthia McKinney and Ron Paul being honourable exceptions).

Yet there is always the possibility that a courageous leader will decide to represent the citizens he or she has been elected to represent, rather than unelected vested interests. By following the advice of 'A Presidential Energy Policy', such a leader has the opportunity at this critical turning point in world history, to reap a rich harvest of gratitude and praise for his or her actions that far outweighs the morally destitute rewards of money and power.

In summary, 'A Presidential Energy Policy' is a book which every person who cares about the future of the United States and the planet we live on should read and pass on to everyone they know. The crisis is well advanced, but perhaps with enough Mike Rupperts in the world sufficient elements of civilization can be salvaged to make life worth living, not just for the elite members of the financial-energy-military-industrial complex, but for all citizens of the world.

As it stands, Mike Ruppert himself stands at a minimum to personally reap a harvest of good karma for selflessly seeking to expose the way financial and energy elites exercise control over government and for explaining it to everyday people. Were the policy agenda he sets out here to be followed, however, he would also stand to achieve fitting recognition for his life's work. May it happen.
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on April 5, 2010
I first learned of Mike Ruppert through a chilling trailer for his then upcoming movie, Collapse. Ruppert has a long history as an investigative journalist that began when he broke away from the mainstream after his excellence in the LA police led him to be actively recruited by the CIA for running cocaine through South-Central LA. Ruppert realized this wasn't the world he'd pledged to serve and tried to break the story only to find that the systems he was working to support were quite different from how we perceive them in the mainstream. I went to the Vancouver International Film Centre with a few friends for a screening of Collapse only to have my tentative notions of civilizational instability confirmed in a tour de force of face melting facts. I quickly got a hold of Ruppert's latest book, A Presidential Energy Policy, which had been re-printed as, Confronting Collapse to draw more attention to the work which had been largely ignored. Explaining bad news is not a route to popular success, as witnessed by the rapid end to careers of any American politician over the last 20 years that tried to curb deficits by cutting spending or raising taxes.

Confronting Collapse is a far better introduction to the topic of Collapse for the lay person than the corresponding movie is. And I say that because it is possibly too easy to write off Ruppert as a crank and a lunatic on-screen when he's talking about governments breaking down and a global population that might face a huge die-off. This is so far outside the mainstream narrative that most people who aren't receptive to it will completely block it out. It is much harder to ignore the case Ruppert makes for industrial civilization's collapse when it is nicely footnoted and indexed. Ruppert's writing style is absolutely clear and accessible to someone that isn't a technically adept reader but might come across as "arrogant" for someone unwilling to look at the evidence. Modern economists counter the claims of the Peak Oil/Collapse theorists by saying that market corrections will solve the problem, Ruppert clearly explains that the only market corrections available will be in the form of tremendous suffering and loss of human life.

In the book, Dr. Colin Campell sets the stage by discussing the short time humanity has had access to energy dense petroleum reserves (only about 150 years). Ruppert uses the first chapter to make the case on why the US Federal government might keep the severity of the energy supply situation confidential and why we might question the status quo on this issue, "if we were lied to about mortgages, 401(k)s, stock portfolios, hedge funds, derivatives, insider trading... the invasion of Iraq and torture... why do so many accept on faith everything we have been sold about energy?"

Ruppert is clear that he views the entire American political and economic system as broken and corrupt and subservient to corporate/financial interests. This is something that neither Barack Obama or John McCain were willing to confront in their naive energy policies and political solutions. Thus the reason no real leadership exists and America/The World might be headed off a very steep and disturbing cliff in the near future. This assumption might lose some readers right away but if you read further, you can see why Ruppert has reached these conclusions.

The case for collapse is made by Ruppert in his connection between the financial system and oil supplies/energy flows. Growth of this economic system is impossible because recent oil reserve discoveries (they are all in hard to reach places like 6 miles under the ocean) do little more than confirm the fact that extraction rates of oil supplies will continue to rapidly decline, leading to a quick and painful dissolution of the mechanisms of modern society. If our infrastructure was able to handle such a decentralization, America would be in better shape, but Ruppert destroys that myth by dissecting and reporting facts regarding global oil and gas infrastructure ($22 trillion in investment needed by 2030 to support the global energy-supply infrastructure), the electric distribution grid (coal supplies need oil for extraction), roads and bridges (a $1.6 trillion investment needed to avoid bridges collapsing), an over-reliance of commuting (asphalt prices and their tie to oil, impact of driving on economic growth in America) and the alternative energy infrastructure (which does not and will not exist).

For Ruppert, Iraq is confirmation that the US government knows what is about to happen to global energy supplies, if we are fighting over the scraps of the remaining global oil fields that isn't good news. Since Obama hasn't even begun to withdraw from Iraq or Afghanistan supports this notion. By the time Mike Ruppert ties together the dependence of our food system on cheap petroleum (10 calories of petroleum for every calorie of food, not counting for transport), the case he's making for a major reshuffling of society is clear... but you are only halfway through the book.

He continues by detailing how we should evaluate alternative energy solutions, that we should focus on how much energy we get out based on how much energy we put in and then completes this point by discussing why none of the available alternatives (solar, wind, tidal, etc...; all ranging from 3 barrels of oil energy equivalent for every one barrel of oil equivalent that we put in or 3:1 net energy) can match the net energy of oil (200:1 in 1900 and now 50:1 in 2009). But there is an alternative that works: localization. When everything requires tremendous energy inputs to bring it to you from far away, the most straightforward response is to make something and use it locally. This is where electricity sources like solar PV panels and mini-wind turbines can help.

Ruppert closes out the book with a realistic assessment of money and how it will respond to oil depletion, our system of fiat currency and fractional reserve banking has only existed since the late 1960s because of rapid oil extraction. This is where Ruppert's book shines as he lays out a 25 point plan for creating stability in the face of oil extraction rate depletion. Hi solutions would build local resilience and quickly reduce oil consumption if implemented on a Federal or even local level. Sadly, none of these solutions are being considered at a national level in the US because the paradigm is still so focused on solutions for growth that it ignores solutions for managed contraction. Only one of these 25 approaches is being considered by California, and that's the legalization of marijuana which could lead to pratical hemp production offsetting the need for many petroleum intensive fabrics and materials.

If Ruppert makes one mistake, it is that he appears to assume the rest of the world will follow the United States down the drain, while collapse for the US appears inevitable, the social fabric in other nations may be able to withstand the challenges of the oil age much better.

So in summary, Ruppert's claim is that the monetary system, supported by ever expanding supplies in oil will collapse bringing down the system of globalization and the failing infrastructure and weak communities of the US will lead to a long period of civil unrest.

Regardless of your preconceived notions, Ruppert's book is filled with clear concise charts, graphs, news articles and summaries which outline the magnitude of our current global predicament. I'm not completely sold on the concept of collapse, I think societies tend to seek out equilibrium in the face of dire circumstances. However, complex civilizations have fallen apart when energy sources were no longer accessible (see Ancient Rome and peak wood supplies). What is inevitable is that business as usual cannot and will not continue in the face of physical constraints imposed by reality. It is truly disappointing to see the citizens of North America, and specifically the leadership of its nations, completely unwilling to acknowledge the magnitude of these problems.
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on February 12, 2010
I started out this review with recommending it for politicians. I live in the Netherlands (Europe) and the coming necessary adaptation to something other than oil is just not on the radar of our politicians. Reading this book, the thought creeps up that the politicians here are discussing how to place the tableware on the tables of the Titanic. The ship IS going down, and people are only willing to jump for rescue only when their own feet are about to get wet.
Michael Ruppert has an eloquent way of writing, harsh as the subject may be. He is also very much to the point, so no long and tedious chapters to work through to get to the important stuff. Anybody with any sense is able to grasp this. i first got 'into' Michael Ruppert in a documentary on 9/11, where he turned up in clips of presentations with old fashioned plastic slides. It immediately struck mne that this person was not in it for his own gain, or his own good, probably. But he had his heart in it. That feeling is conveyed all through this book.
So, to end this short review, to get a quick yet pretty thorough overview of the current state of the world, the greatest challenge ahead for mankind, and maybe some hope, because it's never too late for all of us, I highky recommend this book.

For more info (that is, facts) on 9/11, I also recommend his crossing the rubicon, and all the dvd's by this great human being.
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on February 11, 2011
Let me first start off by saying that it's obvious the author meant well. The initial portion of the book dealing with fossil fuels is an important message. While true causality in the form of exponential growth isn't really addressed, it's nice to see basic economics integrated into the discussion of peak fossil fuels.

The writing is decent, it's on the level of newspaper journalism, so there isn't any problem with things being hard to understand. Grammar and spelling is also well done. There are some disjointed areas where the topic suddenly jumps from one paragraph to another, but it doesn't make the book unreadable.

One major complaint that I have with the book, is that while many areas are factual, I've found a large number of inaccuracies when it comes to environmental science, anthropogenic global warming, nuclear science, and the practical differences between storing energy and generating it. There are also a smaller number of errors in basic science areas including physics, and a general misunderstanding of what makes something commercially infeasible.

An example of a blatant error was the statement that we've already reached "peak uranium", which is complete nonsense akin to saying we've reached "peak oxygen". He then ignores nuclear power in his speculation based on that assumption. (If you want to discount a energy source because it's technically finite, you must also discount things like solar and wind, because they too are also technically finite.)

While these errors don't change the importance of the initial message of problems associated with declining fossil fuels, it causes numerous issues with the last half of the book and its conclusions and/or recommendations. It's hard to accept the validity of that important initial argument when the rest of the book is plagued with problems. That's why I give it two stars, because even though a large portion of the book is speculative, a lot more work should have been put into research of starting facts if they are to be included in the book. This causes some serious confidence issues with the overall message and author, and an informed reader is likely to reject the entire book because of these factual problems. This hurts the process of informing people about the seriousness of our fossil fuel situation.

I am a meteorologist, as well as having a general physics degree and study in environmental science, so I'm not stating that there are inaccuracies simply because I don't like the message. I simply dislike misleading or poorly researched material being clumped in with an otherwise important message, which doesn't help anyone.
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on July 5, 2011
I give credit to the author for raising my awareness of a real and serious issue, but that is where my compliments end. I watched the film Collapse, and then I read the book. The film is short and gets straight to the point. The book is painful and irritating to read for the following reasons:

1. The author repeats the same information several times throughout the book. If you removed the repeats, you could probably slash several pages out of this book. We got the idea the first time, please stop repeating it.
2. The author likes to quote himself from his earlier works several times throughout the book. Irritating.
3. The author likes to make a point by continuously saying, I predicted that way back in 2001. Who cares to hear this over and over again throughout the book? Who does he think he is, some kind of an arrogant prophet?
4. The author comes off as presumptuous in the sense that he is arrogant, cocky, and audacious.
5. The author declares himself to be a great leader and compares himself to the likes of Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson. Wow, did he really print that? Yes he did.
6. The book seemed largely unorganized. It's like he's rambling. It's a real mess.
7. There seems to be a proofreading issue with the book. The spell checker may have selected incorrect words in a few areas in the book.
8. I really have to question some of his sources, charts, and graphs.
9. His 25-point program for action seems to reflect his arrogance, and I think he could find better ways to win support from his audience. He just comes off as a jerk.

Overall, I would have to say that it is better to skip the book altogether and just watch the film. You're not getting much more out of the book. The film will give you the basics of a real problem. For reading, my suggestion is to find another author to expand your knowledge of Peak Oil.
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on April 18, 2011
This is a great book for anyone wanting to know what is behind the curtain and see
how the world really works. Its not overly complicated and is clearly worded to avoid confusion. If what Ruppert says in this book is true, well over half is not disputed by anyone, then every American should be very concerned. I would have liked to see more of the true evidences, however the book would probably 5 times the length had it all been included. Bottom line, if you want to know about oil, money, geopolitics, alternative energy and many other things that you will likely never hear about, this should be on your bookself.
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on January 14, 2010
I really enjoyed this book and it is quite eye opening. I found out about Ruppert via youtube and watched his videos. Every politician, parent, student, scholar and citizen should read this book.
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on September 2, 2011
Picture Jack Nicholson in 'The Shining.' Now picture a man in a dark room saying, "Heeere's your future!" In this video, Michael Ruppert paints a nightmarish vision of the inevitable collapse of our economic, political and social structures. He argues that we are on the downside of peak oil, that the rise in earth's human population is a direct result of oil and that our current way of life cannot be sustained without it. He talks about the looming crash, what has been leading up to it, and a few things we can do to survive the roller coaster ride we're in for, before during and after the final collapse.

We could easily dismiss his ideas as those of a paranoid loon if Ruppert didn't cite statistics so readily. The man has an enviable memory for facts and figures, and he readily tosses them out to illustrate those ideas. Ruppert tells us exactly how many gallons of oil it takes to create one tire on an automobile. He gives us the causes with monetary figures of the predictable 2008 banking collapse. He cites the riots in Poland and Spain and Eastern Europe as a feature presentation coming soon to the streets of America. Note: the recent British riots occurred after the film was made.

One critical review states that the narrator never questions or challenges Ruppert. Not so. The narrator interrupts, for example, to point out mankind's inventiveness. He mentions the alternative sources of energy that man has created. But Ruppert is quick to illustrate the inherent flaws of each. Nuclear reactors, for example, require massive amounts of oil to build, and they need a certain amount to run. Wind energy helps only those people living on the coasts.

Fortunately, a more recent interview of Ruppert is included with the DVD. In it he seems a bit more hopeful.

I highly recommend 'Collapse' as a vision of a possible future, as a lesson in economics, as a cautionary tale, or simply as a horror flick. See it, get all of your friends and relatives to see it, then let the dialogs begin.
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on January 3, 2014
Read this book and watch the documentary on Netflix if you have it. Its a real eye opener. Ruppert will have you considering things you have never thought of before. If he is only partly correct; we are truly screwed. In a world of funny money and peak oil the future is not secure. Read it!
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on January 21, 2010
Few people will read this book let alone embrace its implications even though it be waved under their noses. Do not be one of those people. Having said that be prepared to have your foundation rocked. When you are finished with this book go to [...] and watch his "Crash Course" then thank the Gods for the heads-up.
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