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Globalization and climate change. AI and VR. Donald Trump and the Flat Earthers. The world is changing so fast that we can't get a grip on how we got here, let alone where we're headed. This is your weekly podcast for a world in flux. Join Ben Charland to peel back the headlines and ask, what are the forces, people and ideas that shape the human story today? Have things always been this nuts, or are they getting crazier by the day? Just what on Earth is going on?

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Dec 7, 2018

Whether it's energy for electricity, gas for cars or ships or militaries, fuel for heating, or plastics pretty much everywhere -- petroleum is the key ingredient for modern society. The politics of oil and gas influence any government or business, yet the headlines only tell part of the story. What's really going on?

Joining Ben is John Foster, an energy economist who spent 40 years with organizations like the World Bank. His new book, Oil and World Politics, attempts to unmask the real forces at play.

About the Guest

John Foster is an international petroleum economist, who has worked on staff of the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and two oil companies (BP and Petro-Canada). His work has taken him to more than thirty countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Born in London England, he graduated from Cambridge University in economics and law. He served in the Royal Navy and went to Suez. He has worked in London, Montreal, Washington DC (twice), and Ottawa. His interests include current affairs, Canadian Club of Kingston, and Kingston Choral Society. He has been writing and talking across Canada on petroleum geopolitics and recent conflicts. His articles have appeared in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and the online magazine Open Canada (Canadian International Council).

For more information about John, visit