Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller Hardcover – May 19 2009
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Quill & Quire
For more than 20 years, Jeff Rubin has been known as one of Canada’s top economists, and a major voice for the energy sector. In Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller, Rubin uses that background to project what our world will look like in the near future, as oil reserves dwindle and global economies suffer. This book is not aimed at economists and money managers, though. It speaks directly to the average reader, and should serve as a dire warning of the severe consequences of oil dependency in our everyday lives. With its central argument that a combination of rapidly dwindling oil supply and ever-increasing oil dependence will cause a continuing cycle of worsening recessions and depressions, this book projects a bleak future. As transportation and environmental costs increase due to high oil prices and carbon regulation, Rubin argues, international trade will dry up and the age of globalization will end. The resulting fallout will force governments and businesses to create and support localized economies, and eschew international trade and transport. In the tradition of writers like George Monbiot and Sir Nicholas Stern, Rubin presents some difficult truths that readers may find intimidating. Dense with statistics pointing to the inevitable collapse of the world as we know it, this book may not be an encouraging read. Unlike Monbiot and Stern, who put forth a plan to slow the collapse, Rubin’s focus remains squarely on preparing readers for the kind of world that is coming, rather than trying to slow that inevitable outcome. In a world where consumption in developed countries shows little sign of slowing and oil usage is skyrocketing, we need someone with Rubin’s background to predict what the likely results will be. Rubin’s perspective clearly falls more into the realm of futurism than economics, but because he excels at taking complex economic data and applying them to the everyday lives of his readers, this book functions successfully as both explanation and warning. Rubin is sure to incite controversy with some of the central ideas in this book, but given that the world he envisions seems increasingly likely to materialize, Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller could turn out to be the exactly the book that readers are looking for, or that they need.
"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
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Top Customer Reviews
After a 20 year stint as chief economist for CIBC World Markets, Rubin is a figure in a position to know. The book is a searing indictment of the flat-earth stupidity that marks today's disciples of popular economic theory. He exposes a painfully obvious oversight: Conventional economic "wisdom", blinded by the dogmatic adherence to supply and demand thinking has overlooked one thing - MORE SUPPLY CAN'T COME ON LINE IN RESPONSE TO INCREASED DEMAND IF NATURE IS LIMITING THE SUPPLY.
Theory falls when facts kick you in the teeth. We have been listening to economists when we should have been listening to petroleum geologists.
With credit to Kunstler, Heinberg and other leaders who paved the way for him, Rubin is someone the suits will take seriously, if for no other reason than he was one of them. There is a lot of shame to go around among our academic, corporate and political leaders. Whether they are malicious, myopic or in denial, this book is going to make holding their noses high at cocktail parties a much sweatier and nerve-racking affair.
In a tight, conversational style with substantial cheek, Rubin embarrasses a civilization with this book and begs them to explore rationality and begin preparing for a harsh dose of reality. The cheap energy binge party is over - we'd better get set for the hangover.
Thanks Mr. Rubin
It may not be the most uplifting book, but its importance is paramount. Rubin first examines the global oil scarcity issue, and the economics of scarce oil and ever increasingly difficult and energy intensive oil production, and then he goes into issue surrounding environmental effects of oil, global trade effects, and transportation effects (which is, of course, tied with trade).
It's a frightening read at parts, but thrilling as well. Rubin has some great ideas surrounding the implementation of a carbon tariff on imported items in order to level the playing field for home companies that are dealing with carbon taxes (in B.C.) and a soon to be carbon cap and trade policy. This would give the comparative advantage back to home companies as the carbon tariff on what was once cheap imported items would increase the price on those imports if they were made using cheap, but dirty energy. Couple that with high transportation costs, and home manufacturing will look a lot more likely. Not to mention better for the environment.
The "Going Local" chapter is Rubin's speculation about the effects peak oil will have on our lifestyles here in the developed nations, looking at our food, coffee, electronics and a host of other items which are assembled globally.Read more ›
The author makes compelling arguments why the supply & demand curves do not apply where one is confronted with a diminishing resource and convincingly shows that oil really is a diminishing resource. As if that were not in itself disquieting enough, he goes on to discuss the added demand pressures from newly developing giants such as India and China as well as the `cannibalization' of significant supplies by OPEC countries through excessive internal subsidies. Jeff Rubin also demonstrates that the West, despite all its efforts in becoming more energy efficient, is actually using more oil than ever before through the rebound effect. Ethanol perhaps, or wind turbines to get us off the oil fix? The author's economic scalpel dissects and finally discards them both for good reasons.
The reader is always led back to oil, and by the time you get that far, it sounds compelling that oil is at the root of everything, from recessions to economic bubbles. Whether it is inflation or deflation, financial derivatives, Wall Street greed or lax bankers and regulators - all is attributable to oil according to Jeff Rubin. I am no economist, but that is where I think the book looses its way and the oil-theme begins to take precedence over every other economic complexity to drive home the point. Yet, almost as a footnote, the author also contradicts his theme on several occasions, not the least by conceding that inflation in the postwar years (Korean War) and later in the aftermath of the Vietnam War was primarily caused by racking up massive deficits from financing these conflicts.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
In order for this book to make sense for whoever like this kind of subjects, it must read the author other book ( The end of growth ). Read morePublished 20 months ago by bissan hazem
This book looks at the world economics after Peak Oil with down-to-earth research. Better than most on this topic. Read morePublished on Nov. 24 2013 by toscane
I know, the sky is falling, the sky is falling. As I write this, three, count 'em, three years after this book was published, oil is languishing at $80 a barrel, and will probably... Read morePublished on June 21 2012 by Pepi
I have always suspected that sustained growth in an oil-based economy was a crazy idea. This book is of the first I have read where an economist with a compelling tale and a real... Read morePublished on June 20 2012 by RotmanStudent
The author's message is that the world is running out of oil. He repeats this message in dozens of different ways and it becomes very boring.Published on Jan. 21 2011 by iceman
Jeff Rubin knows his stuff. As an economist for CIBC world markets for many years, he creates a vision for our future that is based on an extraordinary amount of detail. Read morePublished on Dec 20 2010 by Oothoon13
As a stock market investor, I wanted to learn more about the most traded commodity. The bonus was that I is that I also got to better understand how our entire world... Read morePublished on Nov. 16 2010 by Fred
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