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The Oil Card: Global Economic Warfare in the 21st Century Paperback – July 22, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"James R. Norman says in The Oil Card that the price you pay at the pump is not determined by the free market."  —theepochtimes

About the Author

James R. Norman is a veteran business journalist and energy reporter. He is currently a contributing writer for McGraw-Hill's Platts Oilgram News. He has also written for Forbes, BusinessWeek, and the Ann Arbor News, where he won an award for investigative reporting on an oil and gas scam. He lives in New York City.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Trine Day (July 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097779539X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977795390
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #644,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Richard Perkins on September 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
The Oil Card: Global Economic Warfare in the 21st Century

The author has done an excellent job of researching an incredibly complex subject and committing it to paper...He shows a real depth of knowledge and perception of not only the mechanics of the energy markets, but also the history and politics behind them.

He daylights the government's strategy against Russia starting during the Reagan administration ...He documents and proves beyond doubt the point that the US government and its allies artificially kept oil prices low for years to starve the Soviets of income, an important tactic that was essential to winning the Cold War. The contrarian thesis of this book is that the government is now attempting to do the same to China by weakening China's economy by keeping energy (and other commodity) prices high. Showing the background and illuminating the methods employed in the futures/derivatives markets and by controlling the physical oil market supply itself, the author makes a compelling argument that is entirely believable. He very accurately and completely portrays the genesis and the implementation of the energy price manipulation activities in the futures/OTC markets that many of us firmly believe is exactly what has occurred. For years many of my colleagues and former major players in the energy market have critically discussed the Wall Streeters and hedge funds involvement and tactics of bringing non-oil players into the energy markets. The net result is these players are driving market prices and ignoring traditional market fundamentals, artificially driving oil prices upward based upon self generated bogus risk factors and alleged technical analysis.
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The book makes a well supported case for the probability of the manipulation of the oil market as a foreign policy tool used to reward US allies and punish enemies. It's not comprehensive in researching the big oil, drug, arms, banking, military, intelligence alliances, but it is well worth reading.
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Oil is highly priced. But wait, all goods are priced at the market price. You can't thwart the laws of supply and demand, can you?The Oil Card: Global Economic Warfare in the 21st Century Well I know what the market price means. Suppose you buy fruit, with a $1 margin. This means if you buy fruit for $2, you will charge the customer those $2, plus $1 extra. If the market price is $3. This means if you charge $4, only half as many people will buy your fruit. You will lose money, cause only half as many people bought it. You will notice an inventory of fruit, which is about to go rotten. Therefore you must charge less, to get rid of this fruit before it goes rotten.

So the market price is the price that must be charged, to maximise your sales and your profits. If you charge too high, less sales, and not enough profits. If you charge too little, those who supply you with the fruit, will go to someone else, who pays more.

In this book it explains why oil is not at market price. A report was given to Ronald Reagan on how to destroy the Soviet Union. Their main export was oil. So if the United States could make the price on oil low enough, the Soviet Union would collapse. But how can you make the price of oil less than it should be. In the 70s the price of oil skyrocketed. Therefore their would have been stockpiles of oil.

The U.S. would simply get rid of their stockpiles, making the price of oil, less for the time being. Once the Soviet Union went bankrupt, the price of oil, went way up. So why is it so high now. Because, China's currency is undervalued. Because it is undervalued that's how they can export more than they import.
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Another way to phrase it is, this book's ideas might look great from a distance, but look up close and it's a different story.

Why? The dots Norman uses to connect his story? They can be connected in other ways. And, he ignores or tries to explain away dots that aren't convenient to his position.

First, with more than half the world's proven reserves in the hands of foreign national countries, it's not so easy for the USofA to manipulate oil markets as he claims.

Second, the claim that the invasion of Iraq was about not just oil, but China's attempts to get its claws on Iraqi oil after the likely lifting of U.N. sanctions? Just one problem with that. The French and Russians both had contracts for far more oil exploration in Iraq in 2002 than did China. And, according to Norman's quasi-conspiratorial theme, both of those countries were "on our side" in trying to manipulate oil prices against China.

Third, Norman's casual, even cavalier dismissal of Peak Oil is made without much in the way of evidence to back up such dismissal.

Fourth, the one big piece of empirically examinable support he offers is ... abiotic oil. That's a **definite** minority belief. But, given his quasi-conspiratorial angle, not a surprising belief for him to hold.

Fifth, why is the market, especially for light sweet crude, so "inflexible," in his words, unless we ARE getting closer to Peak Oil?

Finally, he minimizes the role of speculators even while covering in detail how lax Commodity Futures Trading Commission oversight, combined with general economic bubble conditions, have given them such control.
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