Jason's Reviews > The Coming Economic Collapse: How You Can Thrive When Oil Costs $200 a Barrel

The Coming Economic Collapse by Stephen Leeb
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's review
Mar 13, 08

really liked it
Read in March, 2008

This book was written in Feb 2006 and I am just now reading it. Had I read it (and believed it) then, I would have made a lot of money over the past few years on his recommendations. Question now is whether there is still any validity to the strategies given where we have come in last 24 months. (Gold $400->$1000, Oil $60->$110, etc.)

I personally agree with many of his general thoeries:
1.) We are at a supply limit on crude oil. Growth in this environment is going to be down right impossible.
2.) Consequently, serious inflation (ala the 1970's) is coming our way.
3.) The Fed will lack the ability and wherewithal to affect monetary policy to fight the inflation. Because the limited supply of the products we need to sustain, monetary policy alont can't correct it, without a serious economic downturn. Fed's January actions indicate that they care much less about inflation than growth any way.

Leeb plays all of it to the extreme and comes up with some dire consequences of our ways. We will all end up farming our back 40 acres to survive?

Things I strongly disagree with him is that governments should allow market conditions to take full hold even if that means paying $12 a gallon for gasoline. What Leeb calls tax breaks for oil companies are ridiculous misunderstandings of the business and why those tax benefits are in the code.
1.) Depeletion -> No other industry is producing from reservoirs (cash streams) that are 10-35% less every year.
2.) Deduction of Drilling Costs -> You CAN NOT treat drilling costs like normal equipment. They are sunk costs. Wihtout the abilility to deduct that as an expense would absolutely KILL drilling in this country.

He supports using these taxes to develop alternative energy sources, his biggest pet project being wind. LEEB wake up! The wind does not blow all the time. The sun does not shine all of the time. These are ineffcient methods for energy. Fossil fuel use is here to stay and must be a part of a reliable energy poilcy going forward. Besides how hypocritical to state on one hand that we should not be "subsidizing" fossil fuel usage while at the same time knowing full well that wind turbines simple don't make economic sense without federal tax breaks and subsidies. Why? Because electrical generation plants can't depend on them. They HAVE to have a coal/natural gas back up.

All said, this is an eye opening book and he nailed a lot of precictions (a big whiff on real estate) and they probably came true a lot earlier than even he thought. I will most likely change my personal portfolio based on a lot of his thoughts.
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