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Peak Oil and the Second Great Depression (2010-2030): A Survival Guide for Investors and Savers After Peak Oil Paperback – June 30, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 90 pages
  • Publisher: Outskirts Press (June 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 143276084X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1432760847
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 9 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,478,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A Most Excellent Book:  Having myself written about both peak oil and the capital finance fiasco, I hugely admired Ken Worth's succinct and clear treatment of these synergizing and escalating problems." --James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency, World Made By Hand and other titles.

"An excellent, pithy treatise on where the United States is heading in the next 20 years ... with a roadmap for how we can protect ourselves from trouble."  -- Hewitt Heisermann, Jr., author It's Earnings That Count (2004).

From the Author

As of this writing in February 2012, global oil production (not including heating propane and ethane--which is used to make plastics) is still stagnant at 2005-08 levels, thus confirming the assertion that Peak Oil would be reached during the 2005 to 2012 time period, as argued in the book.  We have had high oil prices for nearly seven years now, and oil production as not increased at all in response.  Additional production of biofuels, tar sands and propane (all somehow included in common measures of "oil production") have resulted in minimally higher headline production numbers, but nothing like the significant additional quantities needed by a growing global economy.
Furthermore, major projects scheduled to bring additional quantities of crude oil to market in the years 2012-14 are not as significant as in prior years.  2012 may indeed be the year in which depletion of existing resources exceeds new production capacity and global oil production begins its long descent to economically insignificant quantities by the end of the century.  The second major oil price shock of the Peak of Oil has probably already just begun.

The Model Portfolio (published June 30, 2010) invested in equities and commodities including gold and silver has increased in value by 30.2% between July 1, 2010, and February 21, 2012 (not including dividend income of approximately 1.7%.)

A diversified proftolio holding 50% S&P 500 stocks and 50% Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund (VBMFX) increased in value only 17.4% over the same period (not including dividend and interest income of approximately 2%.)  
The outperformance of the Model Portfolio compared to traditional investing methods will continue for reasons outlined in the book.

More About the Author

Author of the book, Peak Oil and the Second Great Depression (2010-2030), A Survival Guide for Investors and Savers After Peak Oil, published June 30, 2010.

Ken has a BA from Stanford University, studied philosophy of religion with John Hick at the Claremont Graduate School and received his law degree from UCLA in 1997.

The book presents a fairly conservative strategy for growing savings in a world of declining conventional crude oil supply, which the world entered in 2005. Additional unconventional crude oil supply from tar sands, shale oil fracking and other seemingly rather desperate measures has not increased global crude oil production by more than .5% per year over the past decade. Meanwhile, the global population increases at a 1.14% annual rate, with another roughly 117,771,000 souls joining Earth's population in 2014 alone, as of this writing in November of that year.

The "Death of Peak Oil" to steal a line from the great Samuel Clemens, has been greatly exaggerated. Oil production per person on the planet is already in decline, and growth rates for crude oil and condensates (i.e. not counting bio-fuels, propane, ethane and the like) is scarcely above the levels of a decade ago.

Strangely, or perhaps not so strangely, the Peak Oil Deniers have declared victory. Those in the Peak Oil camp are left to, apparently, mourn their defeat.

The Model Portfolio presented in the author's first work, Peak Oil and the Second Great Depression (published June 30, 2010), recommending investing in equities and commodities including precious metals, was up 43.69% between July 1, 2010, and September 26, 2014 (not including minimal dividend income.)

Over the same time period, a diversified portfolio holding 40% Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX) and 60% Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund (VBMFX) was up only 17.73% (not including minimal dividend and interest income.)

Customer Reviews

The author seems to believe they will go up with inflation.
Lance B. Sjogren
This book is an excellent primer for people who are just beginning to connect the dots.
James H. Kunstler
Makes you wonder if all the "thick" books are just word wasters.
S. Day

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By James H. Kunstler on December 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
Having myself written about both peak oil and the capital finance fiasco, I hugely admired Ken Worth's succinct and clear treatment of these synergizing and escalating problems. His blunt advice about what to do with your own savings was especially pertinent in this moment of gross instability in investment market. We are indeed caught in a very tough place now. Our society is unwinding and it's destination is a much more austere standard of living. The potential for political mischief is very great. This book is an excellent primer for people who are just beginning to connect the dots.
--James Howard Kunstler
Author of "The Long Emergency" and the post-oil novels, "World Made By Hand" and "The Witch of Hebron"
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By SoCalTelecommuter on October 5, 2010
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I have read several books about Peak Oil and can recommend this book as one of the best. If you want a quick and enjoyable read that will get you up to speed on the Peak Oil issue, this is the book you need. As another reviewer remarked, the author wrote the book concisely and to the point (like a lawyer). It doesn't need to be longer. As for the sample investment portfolios, I have mixed feelings. I definitely fall into the doom and gloom camp and believe civilization will collapse to a much lower level of complexity. Nonetheless, I might be wrong and am hedging my bets that Wall Street will continue to exist for some time. So, I do have investments and the model portfolios in this book will certainly affect my investment choices going forward.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By S. Day on September 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Simple, precise, to the point and brilliant! The author states his case, backs it up with model portfolio's and wastes no words.(and he's a lawyer) A very good and easy read, yet not lacking in detail. Only 72 pages in length, not much more than an essay, yet he say's what he needs to say. Makes you wonder if all the "thick" books are just word wasters.
If you are inclined to believe that there is only so much "crude oil" in the world, and the "printing of money" is not without consequences, then you will enjoy this book. The author not only states his case, but backs it up with several portfolios that you can tailor to fit your need. I would say buying and reading this book, and then following through, with some action, could be the best investment decision we could all make over the foreseeable future. Investing in this book, is money and time well spent.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By andre h on February 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
I think my summary captures the main point of my review -- this book is a very brief, concise executive summary of peak oil, how it may affect the economy and how to positions one's financial assets in such a situation. The reason I give 3 stars is I find the book lacking depth around some important issues.

Two Examples where it lacks depth for big issues:
(1) the author forecasts time horizons for various states of the economy that result from peak oil and the bursting of our housing bubble/financial crisis. These are incredibly complex, dynmaic and interrelated issues whereby each 2 year "period" that the author calls for could be a chapter/discussion unto themselves. Whereas in this book they are called out by the author almost as a fact. For complex subjects I prefer to think of them as a hypothesis, understand the underlying arguments and then make my mind up as to the probabilities of these things happening. Again here they are explained as fact quickly and succinctly.

(2) Same thing goes for investments: the author recommends a 'peak oil portfolio.' The work is simplistic and superficial here. (I have been a "professional" investor for some time and NOTHING is absolute nor does one size fit all; investing is complex, risky, varies by liquidity, risk profile etc etc etc)

Positives/Summary: Having done nothing but critique the book for the last few hundred characters I will add that the book is a good overview of the peak oil problem, despite its brevity. For those who dont care to really understand the issues in depth and want an overview of the matter and how to position ones-self this may be a good primer to start with. Its general facts about the problem are accurate and its assessments and predictions reasonable. ..Some of us well-versued in the issue were just left a bit hungry for more.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lance B. Sjogren on August 5, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read a lot of books on peak oil and the coming economic depression, I found this one unique by the fact that it is so brief, and it expresses a point of view widely shared by those who believe peak oil and financial debt will have a powerful adverse influence on human prosperity over the coming decades.

The author paints the picture of peak oil in terms of $300 per barrel oil and $8 per gallon gasoline. One would have to take these as somewhat arbitrary, and, as the author points out, oil and its refined products will be subject to a long term trend of rising prices but with some short term downward movements within that overall trend.

Then the author discusses the problem of "peak debt", the massive debt being built up by the US government.

This is all discussed very much in the context of the United States. Europe suffers the same problems but, as appropriate in a book this short and to the point, the details of those problems as they relate to Europe are not discussed.

The debt chapter ends with the prediction of 10-15% inflation in the United States over the next couple decades.

One thing I like about the book is the assuredness and boldness with which the author makes such predictions, which happen to all pretty well coincide with my own beliefs based on extensive reading on the subject.

With regard to ways out of the debt, there is no beating around the bush. It will be done through inflation. I have become firmly convinced that peak oil and other factors render the prospect of "growing our way out" an impossibility, and to solve the problem through austerity would require Draconian cuts to government programs that are politically impossible.

The author seems to have reached the same conclusion.
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