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by Ronald R. Cooke


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Will declining oil production plunge our planet into a Depression?


What’s this report about?

If we were to list the most important issues facing humanity, oil depletion has to be in the top three. The economic and cultural destiny of mankind is inexorably tied to the availability of oil. It is impossible to address the problems of famine without petroleum for fertilizer, cultivation, food processing and distribution. Oil provides the feedstock for thousands of products, including medicines, plastics, clothing and heating oil. It is the only practical fuel for motor vehicles.

But the days of surplus oil are coming to an end.

World oil is transitioning from a market driven by consumer demand to one limited by producer capacity. As a result, oil exporting countries are now able to control the price and the availability of an increasingly scarce commodity. Corporate behavior, government action, cultural stability, economics, legal agreements, geography, weather, crude oil transportation, military diplomacy and the always potent combination of religion and politics are now more important than geology in developing oil production forecasts.

We have a new reality. If Islamic fanatics have their way, the oil spigot will be turned off. They believe (correctly) that oil is a weapon of war. So it doesn’t matter how much oil sits under the ground in some pool of reserves. What really matters is how much oil can we actually produce? And that takes us to Saudi Arabia. And Iraq. The world’s economy, it seems, teeters on the political stability of these two countries.

The approaching oil crisis will have a global reach, impacting the economic and cultural health of every region. However, the energy intensive economies of the industrial nations will suffer the greatest deterioration. That includes the United States and Canada, along with the nations of Europe and the Pacific Rim.

We can either try to manage a “soft landing” or let nature take its course. Doing something means encouraging new attitudes about fuel production and consumption as well as the privilege of parenthood on a worldwide basis. If we do nothing, chronic recession is probable. Economic depression is possible.

This research report provides a comprehensive examination of oil reserves and production, reviews the cultural challenges of the Middle East, analyzes the economic impact of four alternative oil depletion scenarios, and outlines a proposed course of action to enable a “soft landing”. World oil production and consumption are evaluated by geographic region. This evaluation, along with a projection of how oil depletion could influence inflation, unemployment, economic growth and the price of gas, is presented in 8 tables and 32 charts.


About the author

Ronald R. Cooke has over 33 years of professional marketing and business development experience. He has an extensive background in market research, industry analysis, and strategic planning. Prior experience includes technology assessment, operations analysis, and the evaluation of corporate financial performance. An economist by training, Ron has pursued the study of Cultural Economics since 1969.

The author may be contacted at author@futurereality.org.


Reader responses

Many people went out of their way to read draft versions of this book. They come from all walks of life and multiple ideologies — environmentalist, skeptic, liberal and conservative. As you can imagine, each reader had a different perspective and this prompted some lively discussion. But one very interesting fact came out of these reviews – all agree this book contains an important message. It is a textbook report that raises all the issues and makes a case for pre-emptive action in order to avoid the economic chaos of oil depletion.

“Reads like a thriller”, “belongs in the college classroom”, “this is the scariest book I have ever read”, and “it draws attention in no uncertain terms to the devastating impact of oil depletion” … are but a few of the comments thus far received from readers.

«This is a pungent book that does not mince its words, and rightly so. It is in fact an urgent wake-up call which we ignore at our peril. It is essential reading for the widest audience because what unfolds will affect everyone from the Cabinet Minister to the Kindergarten teacher; from the Preacher to the Policeman. Above all, it should find a place in the classroom because it is the new generation that faces the transition head on and deserves some guidance. The public desperately needs to be properly informed, first to give their governments the mandate for tough new measures, and second to avoid the risk of over-reaction…»

Colin Campbell
Founder of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO)

«Oil is the Achilles heel of western civilization. The world economy will collapse without great quantities of this black liquid. Although oil extraction and refining operations may be unpleasant, we must remember that oil fueled the Green Revolution that has fed millions of people on our planet. Access to oil frequently determines the well being, national security, and international power for those who possess it. Although the spectacular performance of the U.S. economy is the result of free enterprise optimism, it has been powered by oil, — billions of barrels of oil. As detailed in this book, the consequences of an energy shortage in the United States are draconian and any efforts to lessen its impact are essential.»

Joseph P. Riv
Former advisor on world oil and gas
for the Congressional Research Service

What will be your reaction?

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