Why Your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization by Jeff Rubin

It’s a Small World After All

Why Your World Is About To Get A Whole Lot Smaller

It seems strange to talk about soaring oil prices with the bottom dropping out of the market, but that’s the starting point for Jeff Rubin’s new book Why Your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization.  Rubin is the former Chief Economist for CIBC, Canada’s 5th largest bank, and – depending who you ask – it was this controversial book that was linked to his jumping (or being pushed) from that plum post.  Rubin suggests that while oil may be cheap now, that’s because we’re in a recession – when the recovery takes hold, process will soar, possibly past the previous peak of $147 a barrel.  That sounds like boom times for energy producing regions again, but Rubin also points to other local economic impacts. What happens when shipping cheaply produced goods from China becomes cost prohibitive?  Local manufacturing goes through a renaissance.  What happens when it’s no longer affordable to truck our food thousands of miles from farm to table?

Local agriculture production and food processing takes off.  And what happens when gasoline hits $4 a litre or $10 a gallon?  Tourism stops dead, car sales plummet and the world gets a whole lot smaller.  It’s likely that Rubin overstates his case – and never fully accounts for the positive impacts of innovation and new technology – but even if he’s only partly right, the changes coming our way are significant.  Published only weeks ago, the book contains a lot of recent data and analysis, and is a must-read for those seeking insights into future local economic development trends and opportunities.  With lots of Canadian content, the book never loses sight of its international target audience, with lots of US, UK and international content and examples.  If you want to really hit the panic button on this issue, try James Kunstler’s The Long Emergency… but for a more balanced look at a possible future economy, Rubin delivers the goods.