The OIL CARD: Global Economic Warfare in the 21st Century

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    Challenging the conventional wisdom surrounding high oil prices, author James R. Norman makes a compelling argument and sheds an entirely new light on free-market industry fundamentals.

    By deciphering past, present, and future geopolitical events, he makes the case that oil pricing and availability have a long history of being employed as economic weapons by the United States.

    Far from conspiracy theory, the book notes how the U.S. has previously used the major oil players, the Saudis, and market intervention to move markets— and shows how this is happening again. This compact and unorthodox analysis will appeal to a broad audience— from energy consumers puzzled by intractably high oil prices to producers wondering how long windfall prices can defy gravity.

    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 details the government’s strategy against Russia starting during the Reagan administration. He documents and proves that the U.S. 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. He shows the background and illuminates the methods employed in the futures and derivatives markets that control the physical oil market supply itself.

    For years many major players in the energy market have critically discussed the Wall Streeters and hedge fund involvement in 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. Certainly many will find the chapter on China itself interesting and informative. However, if you want to read a fascinating story of how and why we got to $146 per barrel for crude oil just a short while ago, this is the book for you.

    Softcover, 244 pages

    Excerpt from page 82:

    Another key move by the U.S. governments was passage of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. That would eventually turn the oil futures market from mainly a zero-sum risk-hedging and price-discovery vehicle into a quasi-securities market. The ensuing flood of investment dollars into oil futures quickly swelled the paper demand for crude to many multiples of the physical crude market. But rather than a rising tide lifting all boats with real wealth creation, the torrent of presumably “smart” institutional money and non-industry hedge funds has created what amounts to a massive self-inflating Ponzi situation.

    Jim Norman is a veteran business journalist and energy reporter. He is currently a contributing writer for McGraw­Hill's Platts Oilgram News, where he was a senior writer for 10 years before retiring in mid­-2007. At Platts, Norman has been noted for his coverage of oil industry finance, economics, deal­making and chicanery. His "prophetic press reports," as early as 1998, were cited by Paul Volcker's UN Independent Inquiry Committee for laying bare the likelihood of kickbacks and money laundering involving the Iraq Oil­For­Food program. His critical analysis of Enron accounting and governance in mid­-2001 helped trigger the SEC investigation which led to Enron's downfall.


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