When you think about it, oil plays a role in nearly every part of daily life. That computer you’re looking at was made with the help of oil. That beverage you’re drinking was shipped to you in a truck that runs on gasoline. And for that reason, no energy company - or any corporation, for that matter - has more influence than ExxonMobil. The massive - and secretive - company is the subject of a fascinating new book by journalist Steve Coll, titled “Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power.” In it, Coll provides an exhaustive look at a corporation that shapes U.S. energy policy (until recently, it publicly considered global warming a hoax) and wields massive power over the small, impoverished nations where it drills for oil and gas.
To give you an idea of just how powerful ExxonMobil is, consider this excerpt from Coll’s book: “From the day of the Mobil merger closing until the day of the S&P downgrade, the net cash flow of the United States—receipts minus expenditures—was approximately NEGATIVE $5.7 trillion. ExxonMobil’s net cash flow from operations and asset sales during the same period was a POSTIVE $493 billion.”
It’s no wonder that President George W. Bush, when talking about ExxonMobil, once said, “Nobody tells those guys what to do.”
Check out Alex’s interview with Steve Coll right here: