Cover image for American hegemony and world oil : the industry, the state system and the world economy
American hegemony and world oil : the industry, the state system and the world economy
Bromley, Simon.
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Publication Information:
University Park : Pennsylvania State University Press, [1991]

Physical Description:
viii, 316 pages ; 24 cm
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HD9560.6 .B68 1991 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This volume provides a new theoretical framework for understanding both the development of the international oil industry and the role played by oil in the emergence of US postwar hegemony. As such, it directly addresses contemporary developments in international relations theory and the recent debates over the character and longevity of United States hegemony.

While providing a narrative account of the oil industry from its origins in the nineteenth century through to the present, the main focus of American Hegemony and World Oil is an analytic treatment of the postwar period. Drawing widely on political economy, international relations and the recent literature on the state, the book offers a comprehensive study of the connections between United States hegemony and the international oil industry. The book begins with a critical discussion of theoretical approaches in political economy, international relations, and state theory which have informed discussions of the oil industry. Bromley goes on to survey the early emergence of the industry and its interwar consolidation, the ordering of the postwar industry under United States leadership, and the crisis of the 1970s. The book ends with an examination of the post-OPEC restructuring and the current strategies of the US, Japan, Europe, OPEC and the USSR.

This book will be of interest to students of political economy, international relations, and political sociology.

Author Notes

Simon Bromley teaches with the Open University and at Sheffield City Polytechnic. He is co-author of Thatcherism (with Kevin Bonnet, Bob Jessop, and Tom Ling).

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Bromley's central argument is that U.S. hegemony has been and remains ``dependent upon a directive role'' in the international oil industry and that stability in the Persian Gulf is a vital basis for U.S. power. In this decidedly academic, virtually unreadable study (``the basic conceptual framework and methodological stance of neorealism is a combination of positivism and Waltzian systems theory'') the author describes how the U.S. established and consolidated control over the oil market. Challenging the theory that the rise of OPEC undermined the U.S.-dominated world oil order (``The decline of U.S. power is routinely exaggerated''), Bromley ( Thatcherism ) shows how the dominance has been ``refashioned'' as radical regimes, such as those in Iran, Libya and Iraq, challenged it. In a postscript written soon after the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, he comments that Western control embodied a number of potentially explosive contradictions, not the least of which was the arming of local clients by the superpowers. Whatever the outcome of the current crisis, he maintains, ``the plain fact remains that the murderous regime crafted by Saddam sits in a cauldron of the West's making.'' (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved