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Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; English Language edition (May 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400068509
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400068500
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 5.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #746,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The book is a great read, and one that should be required for anyone with a long-term interest in Canadian energy, transportation, manufacturing or agriculture."
— The Globe and Mail

"Jeff Rubin is not your typical eggheaded senior economist.... And the controversy that has dogged his work is about to hit the boiling point.... So get set. If Jeff Rubin says something is coming, you better listen. Love him or hate him."
— Canadian Business

"Should be mandatory reading for all corporate executives."
National Post


From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Jeff Rubin is the chief economist and chief strategist at CIBC World Markets. He was one of the first economists to accurately predict soaring oil prices back in 2000 and is now one of the world’s most sought-after energy experts. He lives in Toronto.

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Customer Reviews

The research is top drawer, and the way he places the context is also very well done.
harrisja
We have made what we have made and we will not likely retreat from the desire to operate plasma TVs, computers, and a host of electrical labor saving devices.
David A. Wingert
I believe I have read the majority of the books ever written on the past, current, and future economic impact of "peak" oil on the world.
Melvin C. Parker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Robert Ehrlich on July 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I read Jeff Rubin's book because I invest in energy stocks and like to know the broad societal implications of energy issues. I was fascinated by his major premise that high energy costs will end the global marketplace. It is the opposite of Tom Friedman's World is Flat premise. Rubin's basic argument is that high energy prices will trump low labor costs of developing countries. That will mean we will re-industrialize and start making things again in America. That may make us look more like 1950's America. Most economists say globalization is irreversible but Rubin disagrees. Globalization is only possible when cheap energy allows shipping anything at low cost.

There are two other books that have the same end of cheap energy theme. One is Stephen Leeb's Game Over and the other is $20 a Gallon by Chris Steiner. Leeb's book is more of an investment survival guide while Steiner's $20 a Gallon is more of a sociological portrait of America in the age of prohibitive gas prices. Leeb is rather depressing in positing the end of cheap energy and commodities in general. Leeb sees global insecurity as countries fight for resources.

Steiner sees high energy as an opportunity to re-urbanize America with close in dense communities without cars. Steiner does a great job of predicting how escalating gas prices will change our lives. He says we may be happier living a simpler less consumption oriented lifestyle.

Rubin's book is the best all round book for it covers both economics and sociology. If you want to know how to make money from energy shortages, Leeb has some valuable and practical advice. Steiner will leave you hopeful for a simpler, more community minded America. I recommend all three books without hesitation as helpful guides to an America facing a dearth of resources in the next 20 years. They certainly reinforce the need for a national energy policy now while we may be able to extend resources.
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48 of 54 people found the following review helpful By M. W. Pease on June 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Jeff Rubin gets right to it on page 1, declaring that the global financial meltdown of 2008 had as much to do with $150 oil as it did with bad mortgages. I was waiting for somebody to say what I suspected was true. And Rubin delivers, continuing, that we are at a turning point in modern society. In 2008, we passed over the peak of the age of cheap energy. From here on out, energy, especially oil is going to be harder to get out of the ground, and we may never produce much more than we did last year.

Furthermore, he warns that the world has two choices in the next few years. Either transition our society to less energy-intensive, more localized communities; or keep banging our collective heads against the wall of this rapidly depleting resource and face recession after recession each time supply fails to meet demand.

Two years ago, he was right in predicting when $100 oil would happen. And it appears this book may be right just weeks after being published, with the supposed "green shoots" of economic recovery triggering a doubling in the price of oil in the first half of 2009. The book predicts we'll soon be back in the triple digits. Maybe even $200 a barrel and $7/gallon.

I was very impressed with the book because:
A) An economist acknowledged what most economists don't; that resources are limited - and so is economic growth

B) He presents us with hope that a smaller (less energy-intensive) world may actually be a happier world

I'm eager to see what else Rubin may have to say about this in the coming years.
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51 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Arlene on June 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I am neither an economist, politician, oil company employee, nor geologist: I am the average citizen who gained information from this book about how the price and supply of oil could potentially affect my life. Although there are aspects of the book that I've been exposed to previously, Rubin provided me with more detail and with new information that will certainly be new to others also as evidenced by the lack of disussion of these topics by colleagues, neighbours etc. who are also average citizens. There is certainly a population of people who will benefit from reading this. Whether the world evolves as Rubin expects, and to what degree, is obviously unknown; however, the material between the covers is certainly food for thought and gives a better understanding of the intricacies of how the world currently operates and why it may indeed unfold as he suggests.

Rubin presents much diverse information yet manages to tie together all the pieces in cohesive, friendly prose that is not statistically boring and stuffy yet is backed with facts. There are 11 pages of source notes at the back should anyone question the validity or sources of his information or desire to read more. The book is thorough in that it gives good background, demonstrates relationships between various elements of our world and takes into account numerous countries and their roles in all of this. It's a good read if you don't want to live with your head in the sand.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jim Estill on July 20, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
Unlike the many books published on how oil will run out and how we need to stop emitting carbon now, this book takes the approach of "it is happening so what is the impact of it". I like books that help me see the future (regardless of how good or bad that may be). They inspire thought.

When the price of oil rises sharply (which the book suggests it will), we will become less global since the cost to travel and transport products will make it prohibitive to do global business. The high price of oil will create an "oil tax".

Economics is the main driver of purchasing behavior. Some people will pay more to feel good but most will only change if the price is lower. So when oil prices rise, it will be cheaper to buy local products, vacation locally, drive less etc. So in a sense, we go back to the old days. We may even see a resurgence of manufacturing in North America.

I agree with the thesis of the book but would have preferred more data and facts. EG how much more will it cost for an apple from Argentina etc. How much more will what products cost?

My brother, Lyle Estill, wrote a book "Small is Possible" that touts the benefits of the live local lifestyle. The two books mesh nicely in that Lyle says it is the way to go to feels good and be more sustainable and Ruben says economics will force us to act that way.

So this sort of says we might get back to the good old days and there will be a resurgence of local economies. What we do need to realize is that comes with a cost - we will pay more for goods. The reason the world went global was because it was cheaper and the reason it will return to local is for the same reason. Economics drive behavior.
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