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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

Meet the traders who supply the world with oil, metal and food - no matter how corrupt, war-torn or famine-stricken the source.

The modern world is built on commodities - from the oil that fuels our cars to the metals that power our smartphones. 

We rarely stop to consider where they come from. But we should.

In The World for Sale, two leading journalists lift the lid on one of the least scrutinised corners of the economy: the workings of the billionaire commodity traders who buy, hoard and sell the earth's resources. 

It is the story of how a handful of swashbuckling businessmen became indispensable cogs in global markets: enabling an enormous expansion in international trade and connecting resource-rich countries - no matter how corrupt or war-torn - with the world's financial centres.

And it is the story of how some traders acquired untold political power, right under the noses of Western regulators and politicians - helping Saddam Hussein to sell his oil, fuelling the Libyan rebel army during the Arab Spring and funnelling cash to Vladimir Putin's Kremlin in spite of strict sanctions.

The result is an eye-opening tour through the wildest frontiers of the global economy, as well as a revelatory guide to how capitalism really works. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2021 Javier Blas and Jack Farchy (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"The definitive, eye-opening story of the most powerful and secretive traders in the world." (Bradley Hope, co-author of Billion Dollar Whale)

"Blas and Farchy shine light on what's long been the financial markets' darkest corner - the crucial, yet underappreciated, role commodity traders play in global finance and geopolitics.... The World for Sale is a fascinating, eye-opening read." (Gregory Zuckerman, author of The Man Who Solved the Market)

"Javier Blas and Jack Farchy deftly peel back the curtain on the amoral swashbucklers of capitalism who trade in commodities.... The World for Sale is a gripping account of how they achieved their stranglehold over the world economy, and their troubling influence on global politics." (Brad Stone, author of The Everything Store)

What listeners say about The World for Sale

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Informative

I really enjoyed this book, i found it informative. For me it provides another piece of the jigsaw

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Wonderful

Without a doubt the best book I’ve listened to during this whole covid period. Top marks to the authors.

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Incredible

This is a phenomenal book from two authors who have managed to get incredible access and know how to write and engaging piece of work.

Can’t recommend highly enough. Rip roaring, shocking, funny and educational. Get this now if you are even slightly interested in the topic

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clear and jaw dropping

Great insight into the world of commodity trading. the vast sums of money made and how they have influenced so much power. brilliant

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Brilliant book!

Equal parts history lesson, and thriller with so much information that reveals a secretive world.

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  • 18-04-21

Comprehensive history of commodity trading in the

Very well written, informative account of the commodities trading in the West, detailing the commodities houses in their infancy post WW2 to the present day publicly traded behemoths. Understandably, it's got a heavy lean towards oil, but also details agricultural commodities, metals and precious metals. I would like to learn more about the Chinese trading houses given the power of the Chinese market in recent decades, though it is touched upon in the conclusion.

The narrator is clear and narration is very good.

In sum, highly recommended If you're in the slightest interested in the commodities world

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Excellent

Well written & very insightful
Would recommend to anyone with even the slightest interest in this subject.

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Bit dry in early chapters but interesting

Bit dry in early chapters but interesting. An industry perhaps on its way out but these powerhouses seem to be classing trading as smaller and smaller parts of their business. It's all a 'people planet profit' world these days so they can't risk being left to look like dinosaurs.

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Interesting book on the corrupt part of the trade

Good reading but this is not a book about the commodity trade in general, but rather on just one element of the business.


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Riveting read. Soon to be made into Netflix series

Rich on trader centric anecdotal accounts across decades of world history. Listening to how the traders had a significant role in pretty much every single geopolitical event in the last 50 years is fascinating and frightening at the same time. You shift from contempt to admiration on repeat. Narration was spot on too. Great work Javier and Jack.

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  • jaga
  • 24-03-21

Explains a lot!

Interesting look at the history of the commodity traders, including their nefarious dealings with rogue states and other brushes with the law. Explains a lot about the global economy and how the business has evolved from small-ish independent companies to global behemoths, some of which are publicly traded companies or operations within broader financial institutions. Ties in nicely with many of the geopolitical crises over the years, such as the 1970’s oil embargo, the gulf wars, Russian oligarchs, etc.

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  • rhysleo
  • 07-03-21

outstanding

Very good overview. There are other books that cover similar topics but this one provides more detail in certain subjects. a great read.

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  • Bruce Galbraith
  • 27-02-21

Excellent!

A really insightful perspective on the individuals/firms who shaped the industry—from the early beginnings of rogue traders traveling the globe to secure deals, to the the emergence of industry giants like Glencore and Vitol, It highlights the immense influence these companies wield—and the often unscrupulous ways in which they receive contracts, ensure profit, and navigate through politically sensitive matters, all the while claiming to be apolitical and law-abiding

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-07-21

Very insightful read!

The explanation of the economic power that commodity traders have and how it has been used was insightful.

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  • Helene
  • 22-07-21

narration

the narrator had a little too much drama in his narration his words and breath would trail off at the end of a sentence. a little less rise and fall in his voice would be preferable

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  • David Bogart
  • 15-07-21

A swashbuckling tale of hidden global power brokers

Remarkably well told and incredibly deep insight into the global underpinnings of commodities. A Riveting history and account of the commodity traders influence and power through the decades. Masterfully crafted and brilliant storytelling reveals the true macroeconomic power in global trading - it was impossible to “put down”.

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  • Riad And Rolla Hamade
  • 22-03-21

Essential reading to understand what makes the world go round

Excellent overview of the world of commodity trading. Great anecdotal stories underpinned by interviews with the key players. It reads like a thriller in places