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Learn the key ideas of the book by Rachel Maddow


The struggle for power between the West, Russia and the Middle East

What is the common thread between world events such as the war in Ukraine, earthquakes in Oklahoma, corruption in Equatorial Guinea, drilling in the Arctic, the winter olympic games in Sochi, and even Russian interference in the US elections in 2016? In her book Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth, Rachel Maddow joins the dots between these events, painting a detailed picture, supported by historical facts, to explain what is happening in Western democracies and in Russia due to the influence of Big Oil.

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Listen in 22 min.

Whether we like it or not, petrol and gas are vital sources of energy all over the world

When we seek to understand the geopolitical events that have taken place over recent decades, we must always bear in mind the pivotal role and heavy influence that the oil and gas industry has on the world economy and, consequently, on our society. A whole range of events, such as the War in Ukraine, the earthquakes in Oklahoma, the corruption in Equatorial Guinea, drilling in the Arctic, the winter Olympic games in Sochi, and even the Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election are all connected, and held together by this single thread.

About 80% of the world’s energy supply comes from fossil fuels, and, unfortunately, this has been the status quo for the past 25 years. Without fossil fuels, most of the world would be in darkness, including the United States and the European Union. The connection between energy, economic growth and development is as clear as day. We all consume the product that this industry produces, whether it is to recharge our smartphone, travel by aeroplane, and many of the other activities we have become so used to and even tend to take for granted.  

The oil and natural gas industry produces both power and money, rarely taking the consequences of its impact into account. If the industry wasn’t properly regulated, it would provide the perfect breeding ground for corruption, extortion, and other criminal activities. Companies that have prospered in this industry have caused unprecedented damage across much of the world, laying the foundations for the current climate crisis, and there’s more… The actions of the oil and gas industry have caused a geopolitical fight for survival, and the clock is ticking fast. Its political impact is in fact responsible for a whole series of events which, over time, have proven to be key components in the current weakening of democracies worldwide, and the state of uncertainty that we are currently experiencing.


The key ideas of "Blowout"

Whether we like it or not, petrol and gas are vital sources of energy all over the world
The oil and gas industry is difficult to regulate
The American petrol industry set the bar for this entire sector, dictating the rules from the outset
The combustible fuel industry has developed over decades due to technological innovation
In the 1990’s, innovations by pioneer George Mitchell led to the widespread use of another controversial extraction method: fracking
The petrol and natural gas industry is at the heart of political instability between the United States and Russia
The Yukos case is a clear demonstration of the way things work in Putin’s Russia
Putin’s ambitions have grown over time, along with petrol prices
The Ukrainian question plays a key role in the struggle between Putin and the West, as do the interests of the oil and natural gas industry
Take-home message
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