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The End of Growth

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  430 ratings  ·  45 reviews
In an urgent follow-up to his best-selling Why Your World Is About To Get A Whole Lot Smaller, Jeff Rubin argues that the end of cheap oil means the end of growth. What it will be like to live in a world where growth is over?
Economist and resource analyst Jeff Rubin is certain that the world's governments are getting it wrong. Instead of moving us toward economic recovery
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by Random House Canada
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Ian Robertson
May 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Former CIBC World Markets Chief Economist Jeff Rubin has followed up his debut bestseller “Why Your World Is About To Get A Whole Lot Smaller” with a solid, similarly themed book. Like most best-selling economists, Rubin weaves together facts, economic theory and his own views to tell a compelling story, though his story is quite different than others’.

Rubin begins with the basics, including a brief overview of fiscal and monetary policy, monetarists and Keynesians, and economic growth. That ou
Andrew Griffith
Oct 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Develops further the theme of how the end of cheap oil will impact our lives, first developed in Why Your World is About to Become a Whole Lot Smaller (see earlier post here). While I am always somewhat sceptical about writings about the future, and how they always seem to over extrapolate trends to reinforce their point, it is hard to see how the current recession or depression will be followed by rapid growth again, given the debt overhang and the economic growth and energy pricing dynamic. Ag ...more
Mike Smith
Nov 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is Jeff Rubin's second book on the topic of peak oil. His first book, Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization , focused more on the causes of peak oil and some of the implications for global trade. The End of Growth focuses more on the overall economic effects of expensive oil.

The key premise here is that economic growth depends on inexpensive energy provided by oil and other fossil fuels. I found he didn't really explain why this linkage exis
Donna Parker
Jun 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A must read for anyone who has to listen ad nauseum to corporations, especially oil companies and governments droning on about the necessity of growth. They don't mean growth, they mean profit, more and more money going into their bloated coffers, filling up their pockets as they stomp on the other 99%. We have been sold a bill of goods, it was a lie, we need to get over it and move on, not keep believing the lies. ...more
Derek Donais
Jun 13, 2012 rated it really liked it

At one time or another, we've all heard—or even said—that things will get better once the economy picks up again. Recessions have happened in the past and the world has always come out of them with increased economic growth, triggered by various events. Author Jeff Rubin doesn't think we've recovered completely from the sub-prime mortgage crisis of 2008 and, what's more, believes that we're on the verge of an even greater recessionary period that will be sparked by the European Union's debt situ

Vern Harrison
Oct 03, 2012 rated it liked it
The basic premise is that economic growth is tied to the cost of energy. I am not convinced it is that simple, there are certainly other factors in play. The author suggests that the economic stimulus that several of the western will not be effective, and there is little option after this for these countries after this, and the fundamental issue is the cost of energy. There was an interesting chapter about Denmark where the cost of energy has reduced the consumption levels. Another interesting c ...more
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A very thought provoking read. While a lot of the concepts in the book have entered my thoughts at times through other avenues, this book has the facts to back them up and connect them all. Ever wondered how our economies can continue to succeed if success is based on growth yet the world's resources are finite? Ever wondered if most wars are really about oil? Ever felt guilty that the wealth of western nations has been built on the backs of the world's poor? If yes, this may be the book for you ...more
Barrett Lafortune
In this excellent book, Rubin explains why we aren't in the middle of an "anemic" economic recovery, but rather, are at the beginning of a static economy. Rubin's thesis is based on the idea that economic growth is based on the consumption of cheap energy, aka $20/barrel oil. After explaining why the era of cheap oil is behind us and why nuclear, coal, gas and renewables will not "become the next oil", we are left with a world with a much slower economic speed limit. The second half of the book ...more
Shrut Patel
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great introduction to fiscal and monetary policy in the last decade. Former economist at CIBC, Rubin outlines multiple theses as to how to combat energy scarcity in the future through the capital markets.
Barrette Plett
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In all of my popular economics reading, the unstated assumption of perpetual growth felt improbable. Rubin's book presents an intuitive, logical explanation of a more likely evolution. ...more
Cyrus Shahriari
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
In hindsight, I downgraded my rating at least in the medium term as I believe that Jeff Rubin's prediction concerning the end of oil is off target. He did not foresee the shale gas revolution as Peter Zeihan covered in the 'Accidental Superpower' as well as efficiency advancements and an overall reduced demand for oil. That is not to say that his predictions will never come true. My original review is included below:

In his second book, Jeff Rubin again makes a strong case that "triple-digit oil
Nov 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Mayan predicted December 21, 2012 to be the end of the world. They were not the first to herald apocalypse. According to wikipedia there are 150 predictions of the end of the world prior to the Mayan's. Some predict a clash of Earth with obscure objects in the milky-way will end it all others predict that there will be a nuclear war. Despite radically different ways each predict the world will end, there is one common theme: life on Earth as we know it today will dramatically change. Thankfully ...more
Jun 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: environment
A cohesive argument for the end of growth due to fossil fuel scarcity, from an economist specializing in natural resources who was once part of the Wall Street investment banking set during his career at CIBC. Rubin is an eloquent writer, no doubt well practiced at writing succinct and to the point summaries of economic trends to well heeled clients of CIBC in his previous job. He must therefore be very convinced to strike out against the mainstream views of the financial world by putting forth ...more
May 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
The End of Growth discusses the idea that availability of oil affects economic growth. It also explains how resources are becoming more limited throughout the world and we will be forced to change how we live to adapt.

I really enjoyed the discussion the author presented on the current world economies and why some countries came out of the last recession in a decent position while others did not. He made it very easy to understand all the complexities and politics that influence economics...inclu
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
SPOILER ALERT: I'm going to give a away some of the biggest points of this book in this review but it is still worthwhile reading even if you know them.

Rubin argues that our economies can only grow on the back of cheap energy and that cheap energy will no longer exist in our world. Energy prices are going up and are not going to come down again. Food prices will be significantly affected around the world, which we've already seen. Disposable income for the middle class and below will shrink sign
Jun 30, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
An informative read that doesn't merely prognose the end of growth in an ethical dimension, but also provides facts & figures aplenty to support that claim. Jeff Rubin also adds lots of in-depth explanations of how the market as we know it evolved, what liberalism means today, how a bubble grows (and bursts) and many more. Basically, this book doesn't just elaborate on why we have reached the end of growth, but also how significantly growth is woven together with structures of everyone's daily l ...more
Zev Paiss
May 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Jeff Rubin's second book is written in a straightforward and easy to follow style. It's focus is economic for sure but his clear writing make even complex concepts easy to understand. The last sentence of the book sums up his premise quite well. "As the boundaries f a finite world continue to close i on us, our challenge is to learn that making do with less is better than always wanting more."

I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in where we are all heading and some excellent sugges
Michael Haack
May 15, 2013 rated it liked it
It's a decent read. The information that the author provides is interesting and helpful for those to better understand the global industrial and energy economies/market. The author poses a lot of questions to the reader, but leaves many of them unanswered. They're well-thought thought experiments, but there's too many and could have been beneficial to expand further on some of his ideas.

It's worth a read, but you won't find anything world changing or anything worthy of a Nobel

PS It's fun to coun
John Supple
Jun 17, 2012 rated it really liked it

Thought it was very similar in many respects to his first book. Rehashed many of the same things but with a bit of a different take on the results. I think there is some validity to his thoughts although I think they could be a bit stretched in how they could pan out. I enjoyed the book even though it's conclusion is pretty scary for all the capitalists out there that will not want to hear any of it.
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: didnt-finish
In this book, Rubin explains how the global financial crisis was caused by high oil prices and why the kind of economic growth we've seen in the past century will probably not come back. Although it is an interesting perspective, I found it adds little to his first book. It's still the same equation: high demand from developing economies + production that may soon diminish = unaffordable energy = end of globalization and growth. ...more
Nov 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Very interesting topic that was well researched. The writing, however, left something to be desired. I think that the message is so important, it was disappointing that it was so difficult to get through the economics of it all. But I suppose at it's roots, "growth" itself is an Economic term. My husband loved this book. He's got a background in Finance and probably understood the concepts better than I did. ...more
Konrad Joseph
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great book. Starts with the downer of how we are destined for the end of growth, ends with the upper of how great it will really be for everyone. Makes you realize that growth in GDP is really only good for a small handful of people and its about time we go back to working to improving our lives, not some statistic. Inspiring in a time chock full of bad news.
Jacqueline Worboys
Mar 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
An update of his previous book, Why Your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller, this book continues Rubin's themes of oil gluttony, American and European debt and China's search for more oil, resulting in a big environmental mess. Worth reading and learning about the big ideas that are running our world.
Jan 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Rubin is Rubin, If you've heard his theories on cyclical boom and bust cycles based on raising fuel prices and his misguided belief that high prices will stave off the worst impacts of climate change, then you've get the gist of most of this book. Glad I returned the purchased copy I got for Xmas and just borrowed it from the Library ...more
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
interesting take on what could happen as oil prices continue to climb...will they climb fast enough to force us all to stop being so wasteful due to the sheer cost of it? Written by the previous Chief Economist of CIBC.
Al Lopez
Aug 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Good premise - interesting consequences of the rise in the price of oil.

Remains to be seen whether this will play out as he predicts or whether some other factors come into play that yield a different result.

Time for the western world to wake up though and consider the economic consequences.
Sep 02, 2012 added it
This was a bit too dense for me right now. I read about a quarter and then gave in as the amount of money talk wore me down pretty good. If I had more time to focus on it I think that it would have been good though.
Oct 30, 2012 rated it liked it
An interesting read, as was "world getting smaller". He expands further, updates the information and touches on the environmental impact. This is a good read but one that necessitates having read the first on to fully appreciate and that can be seen as a complement to it more than a separate work. ...more
Keith Rispin
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: world-today
Very cool book. While Mr. Rubin's predictions are a little unnerving, it definitely leaves you with some hope that we might return to a more locally focused economy and along with it a sense of community as we had in the bad old days.

Well worth a read.
Dean Ray
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
An engaging look at what the future may or may not look like written in a very simple and insightful manner by a man who clearly has knowledge to share. Written for a mass audience so might be a little too simple for advanced political economy readers. Nonetheless you will learn something.
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