The World for Sale – Commodity Trading in Uncertain Times

The exchange of goods and services has existed since the earliest forms of civilization, from simple barter arrangements at the local town square to Phoenician traders navigating the Mediterranean with goods from Europe and North Africa. Today, however, the scope of exchange is truly massive, with online commerce coming to dominate nearly all segments of retail, and the scale encompassing transoceanic trade routes totaling 11 billion tons in maritime cargoes in 2021. Underpinning all this lies an extremely complex web of producers, shippers, pipelines, warehouses, and commodities traders that include the massive concerns such as Koch Industries in energy and Glencore in metals, with over 100,000 employees each. Billions of dollars have been made and lost in commodities futures, and as volatility continues to disrupt prices of everyday items from gasoline to grain, the trend of ever tighter global trade integration seen since the end of the Cold War may start to unravel as regional blocks choose to have closer and more reliable supply chains.

Myth of the 20th Century – Episode 247 -The World for Sale – Commodity Trading in Uncertain Times

– I, Pencil, Friedman (1980) –

– Trading Places, Landis (1983)

– Commodity Market Integration, 1500-2000, Findlay and O’Rourke (2001) –

– The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron, McLean and Elkind (2003)

– Quantum of Solace, Forster (2008)

– On speculators and hedgers in currency futures markets: who leads whom?, Röthig (2010) –

– The Futures: The Rise of the Speculator and the Origins of the World’s Biggest Markets, Lambert (2012)

– Swiss commodity traders under scrutiny at UNCTAD forum, UCTAD (2015) –

– Hugo Chavez Ruined Venezuela, Papadopoulos (2019) –

– What is a Commodity Super Cycle?, LePan (2019) –

– The most underrated Bond movie on Netflix reveals a real-world crisis, Yarlagadda (2021) –

– The World for Sale, Blas and Farchy (2021)

– Soviet Cybernetics – Red Plenty, Myth of the 20th Century (2021) –

– Cadillac Desert – The American West and Its Disappearing Water, Myth of the 20th Century (2022) –

– Zeihan – After Dark – the Collapse of Globalization, Myth of the 20th Century (2022) –

– Price War$, Russell (2022)

– April 2022 Commodity Market Outlook: The Impact of the War in Ukraine on Commodity Markets, World Bank (2022) –

– Interactive Map: Crude Oil Pipelines and Refineries of the U.S. and Canada, Kostandi (2022) –

– World Top Commodities Trading Companies List by Market Cap as on Jan 7th, 2022 –

– Trends and geography of world seaborne trade in 2021 –

– Understanding the Nasdaq Veles California Water Index, CME Group –

– Visualizing Copper’s Global Supply Chain –

– Futures and Options on Futures –


6 Comments Add yours

  1. David Duke Nukem says:

    Spent the whole episode waiting for Nick to erupt into wholesale condemnation of the whole damn enterprise. Sadly, such catharsis never came.


  2. Mr. FELIX says:

    All this talk of commodities and supply chains…. I’m just hoping for the long awaited pineapple imperialism episode! It’s time to talk about the pineapple Adam!


  3. Alt-fons says:

    Interesting episode, but try to follow a plan more closely before going into the more rambly part.


  4. Eric says:

    Reblogged this on Calculus of Decay .


  5. nah says:

    Will there be no 2022 retrospect episode?


    1. David Duke Nukem says:

      Was thinking the same thing. Seems like this podcast is winding down, sadly. Would love to be wrong.


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