Harvard Book Store’s virtual event series welcomes acclaimed writer and documentary filmmaker RUPERT RUSSELL for a discussion of his book Price Wars: How the Commodities Markets Made Our Chaotic World.
About Price Wars
For Rupert Russell, the Brexit vote was only the latest shock in a decade full of them: the unstoppable war in Syria, huge migrant flows into Europe, beheadings in Iraq, children placed in cages on the U.S. border. In Price Wars, he sets out on a worldwide journey to investigate what caused the wave of chaos that consumed the world in the 2010s.
Russell travels to Tunisia, Iraq, Venezuela, Ukraine, East Africa, and Central America and discovers that unrest in all these places was triggered by dramatic and mysterious swings in the price of essential commodities. Deregulation of the commodities markets means that food prices can shoot up even in years of abundant harvests, causing hunger and protest. Oil prices and real-estate values can surge even when supplies are normal, enriching and emboldening dictators. It is this instability—fueled by banks and hedge funds in faraway New York and London—that has toppled regimes and unsettled the West.
Price Wars is a fascinating, original, and groundbreaking exposé of the power of the commodities markets to disrupt the world.
Praise for Price Wars
“Price Wars is a totally original and stimulating read, part war zone reportage, part economic history, and buzzing with ideas about the way markets work that will change your understanding of the world we live in.” —Liaquat Ahamed, author of Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World, winner of the Pulitzer Prize
“An illuminating, sobering and endlessly fascinating look at the root causes and hidden connections between financial markets and some of the developing world’s most wrenching crises. Fearlessly reported from conflict zones from separatist Ukrainian provinces to the Middle East, Russell compelling draws a line between commodity manipulation on Wall Street and the chaos that fuels extremism and violence.” —Joby Warrick, author of Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS, winner of the Pulitzer Prize
“In Price Wars, Rupert Russell searches for chaos and finds the butterfly effect of volatile prices operating everywhere. His stories are vivid and his analysis airtight. In his hands, price becomes quantum: we can know its present value or trend, but not both. Is our civilization slowly boiling, or can we simplify our hyper-complexity and tame the chaos we have unleashed through integrated financial markets? This fine book provides compelling answers.” —Dr. Parag Khanna, author of Connectography and Move