World oil is transitioning from a market driven by consumer demand to one limited by producer capacity. The approaching oil crisis will impact the economic and cultural health of every nation. This research report examines oil reserves and production as well as cultural challenges in the Middle East. It explores four alternative oil depletion scenarios and outlines a proposed course of action to enable a «soft landing.»
In his pathbreaking Resource Wars, world security expert Michael Klare alerted us to the role of resources in conflicts in the post-cold-war world. Now, in Blood and Oil, he concentrates on a single precious commodity, petroleum, while issuing a warning to the United States—its most powerful, and most dependent, global consumer.
Since September 11 and the commencement of the «war on terror,» the world’s attention has been focused on the relationship between U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and the oceans of crude oil that lie beneath the region’s soil. Klare traces oil’s impact on international affairs since World War II, revealing its influence on the Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon, and Carter doctrines. He shows how America’s own wells are drying up as our demand increases; by 2010 the United States will need to import 60 percent of its oil. And since most of this supply will have to come from chronically unstable, often violently anti-American zones—the Persian Gulf, the Caspian Sea, Latin America, and Africa—our dependency is bound to lead to recurrent military involvement.
The invasion of Iraq may well be remembered as the first oil currency war. Far from being a response to 9/11 terrorism or Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction, Petrodollar Warfare argues that the invasion was precipitated by two converging phenomena: the imminent peak in global oil production and the ascendance of the euro currency.
Energy analysts agree that world oil supplies are about to peak, after which there will be a steady decline in supplies of oil. Iraq, possessing the world’s second-largest oil reserves, was therefore already a target of US geostrategic interests. Together with the fact that Iraq had switched to paying for oil in euros—rather than US dollars—the Bush administration’s unreported aim was to prevent further OPEC momentum in favor of the euro as an alternative oil transaction currency standard.
Meticulously researched, Petrodollar Warfare examines US dollar hegemony and the unsustainable macroeconomics of ‘petrodollar recycling,’ pointing out that the issues underlying the Iraq war also apply to geostrategic tensions between the United States and other countries, including the member states of the European Union, Iran, Venezuela and Russia. The author warns that without changing course, the American experiment will end the way all empires end—with military overextension and subsequent economic decline. He recommends the multilateral pursuit of both energy and monetary reforms within a UN framework to create a more balanced global energy and monetary system—thereby reducing the possibility of future oil and oil currency-related warfare.
William R. Clark is manager of performance improvement at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His research on oil depletion, oil currency issues and US geostrategy received a 2003 Project Censored Award and was published in Censored 2004. He lives in Columbia, Maryland.
Although Africa has long been known to be rich in oil, extracting it hadn’t seemed worth the effort and risk until recently. But with the price of Middle Eastern crude oil skyrocketing and advancing technology making reserves easier to tap, the region has become the scene of a competition between major powers that recalls the nineteenth-century scramble for colonization there. But what does this giddy new oil boom mean—for America, for the world, for Africans themselves?
John Ghazvinian traveled through twelve African countries—from Sudan to Congo to Angola—talking to warlords, industry executives, bandits, activists, priests, missionaries, oil-rig workers, scientists, and ordinary people whose lives have been transformed—not necessarily for the better—by the riches beneath their feet. The result is a high-octane narrative that reveals the challenges, obstacles, reasons for despair, and reasons for hope emerging from the world’s newest energy hot spot.
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A diferencia del socialismo real, el capitalismo no llegará a ver su final a menos que lo haga a través de la combinación de un “shock externo de extrema violencia” y una “alternativa convincente desde dentro de la sociedad”.
En El fin del capitalismo tal y como lo conocemos, Elmar Altvater sigue al historiador francés Fernand Braudel. La dinámica de las sociedades modernas se debe a la “trinidad” de racionalidad europea de: dominio mundial, formas sociales capitalistas y energías fósiles. Éstas son las bases de la globalización “geoeconómica” y el nuevo imperialismo “geopolítico”, una alianza entre la fe neoliberal en el mercado y la fuerza militar del neoconservadurismo. Pero el capitalismo no es ni mucho menos estable y está lejos de estar libre de toda crisis.
Las crisis financieras de las pasadas décadas son responsables de la creciente desigualdad, pobreza y miseria en el mundo. Que la limitación de las energías fósiles y nuclear puede dar lugar a ese “shock externo de extrema violencia” lo demostraron los huracanes Katrina y Rita: una sociedad capitalista sin petróleo se hunde en el caos. Y desde el seno de las sociedades capitalistas se desarrollan alternativas convincentes: las raíces de una economía solidaria y una sociedad ecológicamente sostenible.
El capitalismo tal y como lo conocemos, está llegando a su fin.