The World for Sale: Money, Power, and the Traders Who Barter the Earth’s Resources

Physical Copy:


By: Javier Blas

Rating: B+

Prior to reading this my exposure to commodities was the cotton exchange in New York and odd examples of businessmen crashing the potato trade by dumping tons and tons of potatoes into rivers at the turn of the century. 

What do commodity traders do? Commodity traders buy and sell the basic resources that everyone in the world needs: oil, cotton, metals, grain, etc. They put together large lucrative trades as the middlemen between businesses, countries, and the like.

This book was a fun ride. The authors were clearly biased against the profession but the stories of how traders influenced geopolitics were fascinating!

Short Summary:

Trailblazing commodity traders cross national, political, and cultural boundaries to put deals together.

A trader turned oil into a traded commodity.

Sometimes traders make trades that influence the outcomes of wars.

The Soviet Union’s demise was a massive opportunity for commodity traders.

Traders who predicted China’s dramatic growth made vast sums of money.

Commodity traders exploited Africa’s chaos in the early 21st century.

Eventually, the US began to enforce regulations that affected commodity traders and the banks that finance them.

The world has changed, and today’s commodity traders can no longer operate the way they did in the past. But this profession has a massive impact on the global markets.

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