Now, as a potential investor, there are two ways to view the book I have just read by Antonia Juhasz called “The Tyranny of Oil: The World’s Most Powerful Industry – and What We Must Do to Stop It. The book, just published by Harper Collins [ISBN 978-0-06-143450-1], and available at your local library it seems, is a damning indictment of an industry that is under-regulated, secretive, controlled by too few people and which wields excessive power and influence over U.S. elected politicians, all to the detriment of the citizens of the United States and anywhere else it finds itself operating, their economies, and the world’s environment. Don’t let their adverts fool you into thinking they are ‘part of the solution’ – they are no friend to alternative energies, as Antonia’s book reveals.
The ‘here-we-are-again’ history outlined in the book is particularly interesting given the excesses of “Big Oil’s” previous incarnation – John D. Rockerfeller’s Standard Oil Company, which had to be broken up in the early nineteen hundreds because of the dark excesses of its monopolistic hold over American democracy. Now, the spawn of that breakup have, with the anti-reglatory ideology of the Reagan and Bush years, once more merged back together to the point where their unbridled greed and power is once again threatening the very democracy of the United States. Juhasz argues that ‘Big Oil’ must be broken up again – and this time permanently. It is a great and sobering read for anyone interested in the oil industry, and there is further information and interviews with the author about the book to be found on the tyrannyofoil.com website.
What does it mean in terms of investment in the industry? Well, if you are a futures trader then I would advise a career change, probably sometime in the next 6 – 12 months. I think for the smaller investor it will actually open up many more opportunities as the industry is split up into different operating entities, such as production, refining, marketing and so on, and when more independents are encouraged to re-enter the industry again. As for those of you thinking more in terms of some Exxon shares, perhaps you might like to read Antonia’s book before making that decision – there are always two ways of looking at these things.