Book Reviews by Gustavo Coronel

Corruption and Progressive Isolation

At the end of 1959 my wife and I spent our honeymoon on the island of Margarita, off the coast of Venezuela. We were at the beach one morning and I saw a nine or ten year old boy passing … Continue reading

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Strategic Management: Another Name for Common Sense

As commander of the Joint Special Operations Task Force, the Task Force that undertook the fight against Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), General Stanley McChrystal saw his forces in 2006 increase the number of raids against the enemy from ten … Continue reading

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Tragedy and Murder in Putin’s Russia

What starts as an entertaining, almost comical account of the early incursions of Bill Browder into the world of Eastern European finance rapidly develops into a story of unparalleled success as an investor in Russia and, finally, into a drama … Continue reading

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Environmental Fanaticism, Political Corruption and Greed

In early 2009, I received a call from a friend of mine who was working for a Washington DC-based think tank. He told me they had been invited to analyze a legal action started in Ecuador some years before by a group of indigenous people against the Chevron oil company. The plaintiffs claimed that Texaco, later acquired by Chevron, had caused great environmental damage in the Amazon region of South America, where they had operated for about 20 years, between 1972 and 1992. My friend said that they had excused themselves from looking into this because the case had complex political ramifications. He asked me if, as an independent petroleum geologist, I would be interested in taking a look. There would be no compensation involved.

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The Dissipating Influence of the Elites

Big power is crumbling down, in the U.S., in Europe, in Russia. As the Chinese revel in triumphalism, India already challenges its power. In a wonderful insight Naím warns us to “get off the elevator,” that obsession of which country is going up and which down. The 21st century, says Naím, will be no one’s world; the world will be interdependent and will lack a center of gravity.

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Booking Oil Reserves

In the final notes to his book Steve Coll states that he submitted more than one hundred pages of memoranda on its contents to ExxonMobil for fact checking purposes. The corporation, he says, “was the only party of the dozens reached during the fact-checking process that declined to participate.” He also submitted sixteen questions concerning controversies and lawsuits. The corporation “declined to reply to all of these questions except one.”

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