In an urgent follow-up to his best-selling Why Your World Is About To Get A Whole Lot Smaller, Jeff Rubin argues that the end of cheap oil means the end of growth. What it will be like to live in a world where growth is over?Economist and resource analyst Jeff Rubin is certain that the world's governments are getting it wrong. Instead of moving us toward economic recovery, the measures being taken around the globe right now are digging us into a deeper hole. Both politicians and economists are missing the fact that the real engine of economic growth has always been cheap, abundant fuel and resources. But that era is over. The end of cheap oil, Rubin argues, signals the end of growth--and the end of easy answers to renewing prosperity.With China and India sucking up the lion's share of the world's ever more limited resources, the rest of us will have to make do with less. But is this all bad? Rubin points out that there is no research to show that people living in countries with hard-charging economies are happier, and plenty of research to show that some of the most contented people on the planet live in places with no growth or slow growth. But bad or good, it's the new reality, and Rubin reveals how our day-to-day lives will be drastically changed.
In his thought-provoking and accessible latest, Rubin (Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller), chief economist at the Canadian bank CBIC World Markets for almost 20 years, argues: "The price of oil is the single most important ingredient in the outlook for the world economy." While substitute fuels exist for some functions, oil is indispensable for transportation. The key issue is not absolute supply, but production costs-oil that nobody can afford to extract is useless. With production costs steadily rising, and growing demand in China and India, the juggernaut of world demand seems implacable. Rubin argues that high oil prices encourage exploration and production and force conservation. He also, unusually for an economist, suggests that the advent of a scant- or no-growth economy might offer advantages. Rubin's wide-ranging examination of assorted energy issues, while scarcely cheerful reading, offers acerbic insights. For example, environmental opposition to the Keystone pipeline is likely to send the crude to China, raising the likelihood of another Exxon Valdez supertanker disaster. In this no-nonsense analysis, his grimmest observation is that, with oil and other hydrocarbons as the driver, economic growth is transforming into more of a zero-sum activity, with frightening implications for the poorest nations. Agent: Rick Broadhead, Rick Broadhead Associates. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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October 16, 2012
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