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Cyrus Bina 300

Cyrus Bina is the author of the new book, “Oil: A Time Machine—Journey Beyond Fanciful Economics and Frightful Politics.”

Oil as a time machine and mystical force: U of M, Morris economist on the dynamics beyond the gas pump

April 19, 2011

It’s a fact staring every American in the face these days: regular gas is approaching the feared $4 mark. But what does this fear say about us, our lives and our economy? A University of Minnesota, Morris expert who can discuss oil’s power and influence is:

Cyrus Bina, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics and Management

Bina is the author of the new book, “Oil: A Time Machine—Journey Beyond Fanciful Economics and Frightful Politics,” which details the evolution of a commodity that eventually transformed into the pervasive, almost mystical force that it is today.

“More than any other commodity known in recent history, oil is a commodity that has captured the popular imagination,” Bina says. “Petroleum is an embodiment of an industry on the forefront of globalization, a polished mirror on the face of transnationalization of capital and a pertinent measure for gauging the rise and fall of American hegemony.”

Bina likens oil to a time machine capable of driving us to the past and bringing us back to the future. “Yet, there are travelers in the field that are suspended somewhere in the bygone era,” Bina says. “They could not overcome their nostalgia in a one-way journey to the past, and they have neither an ability to come back nor a facility to sense the passage of time.”

For more information about the book, visit

Bina is a member of Economists for Peace and Security. He is the author of “The Economics of the Oil Crisis” and co-editor of “Modern Capitalism and Islamic Ideology in Iran.”

To interview Bina, contact Jeff Falk, University News Service, or (612) 626-1720. He is available for phone interviews only.

Expert Alert is a service provided by the University News Service. Delivered regularly, Expert Alert is designed to connect university experts to today's breaking news and current events. For an archive and other useful media services, visit Views expressed by experts do not represent the views of the University of Minnesota.

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“Oil: A Time Machine—Journey Beyond Fanciful Economics and Frightful Politics” - book info