Magazine article Newsweek International

The Coming Oil Crisis

Magazine article Newsweek International

The Coming Oil Crisis

Article excerpt

Byline: Mohammed J. Herzallah

Canadian economist Jeff Rubin has a somewhat oracular reputation. Since 2000, he has predicted a massive oil-price spike, and he was among the first in 2007 to prophesy that oil would soar over $100 per barrel (a few months later, he said $150 a barrel and was basically proved right again). Now, even though oil has dropped considerably from its peak, Rubin warns that it's bound to skyrocket once more and cause another, even greater economic crisis. In his new book, Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller, he lays out how this energy crunch will occur--and why it will spell the end of globalization.

The scenario goes something like this: the ongoing depletion of the world's oil resources, coupled with soaring demand from emerging economies like India and China, will send the price of crude through the roof, Rubin says. This will seriously escalate transportation costs, which in turn will cripple international trade, reverse commercial interdependence and disable the global economy. The resulting age will be one in which nations are isolated, technological progress is sluggish and travel is infrequent. The Middle East will be less relevant than it is today, and food scarcity will emerge as the foremost international problem. Countries with a shortage of arable land will scramble and compete to buy agricultural real estate from other nations (for example, as Saudi Arabia is already now doing in Sudan) to alleviate their ever-worsening food crises. …

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