The economist Jeff Rubin has a track record of being right. In 2000, he addressed the Petroleum Club in Calgary and told them that oil would shortly reach $50 a barrel. His audience was incredulous to the point of amusement. He was right. Five years later, he returned to the same venue and announced that triple-digit prices were imminent. Again he was laughed down, and again he was right. So, when he tells us that oil prices will keep rising and rising because the stuff is getting scarcer and scarcer, and that this will have a seismic effect on the global economy, we ought to listen.
Rubin's thesis is that rising oil prices will stop globalisation in its tracks. There'll be no more food flown halfway round the world in our supermarkets and no more outsourcing of manufacturing to other continents. We won't be able to afford it. It is bad news in some ways, but good news in others. We are going to consume more local produce, revive old crafts and industries, use fewer air miles, walk more, and develop a stronger sense of community. As Rubin puts it, "In the not-too-distant future, the past will spring back to life."
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