After twenty years as Chief Economist for a North American investment bank, it was time for me to seek a larger audience for the story I needed to tell.
My predictions of steadily rising oil prices over the last decade, including my call for $100-per-barrel oil by 2007, had flown in the face of conventional wisdom.
Among other things, my track record on predicting rising oil prices demonstrated that the traditional laws of supply and demand were no longer working for one of the economy’s most basic and essential commodities. And when they stopped working, the consequences for the economy would be severe.
It wasn’t subprime mortgages but triple-digit oil prices that brought down the world economy.
And unless that economy started to wean itself off an ever-depleting supply of affordable oil, there would be other recessions to follow as economic recoveries would simply push oil prices right back into triple-digit range. But weaning our economy off oil meant, at the same time, making fundamental changes in the way we live.
This is not the kind of message investment banks want their chief economists delivering these days, to either governments or investors. But the urgency of this message grows with every passing day.
On March 31, 2009, I resigned my position as Chief Economist and Managing Director of CIBC World Markets to deliver this message in my book, Why Your World Is About To Get A Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization.