By Cyrus Bina (auth.)

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Additional info for A Prelude to the Foundation of Political Economy: Oil, War, and Global Polity

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Therefore competition is imperfect (Salant 1982, Robinson 1969, among others) for the scholars who invest their model on the illusory and idealized notion of “pure competition” to present a realistic picture, having little grasp of the fact that the reality is what there is—it is neither perfect nor imperfect (see Bina 2013, Weeks 2013). The common denominator of all these views is the quantitative theory of competition and monopoly (see Weeks 1981a: 152–58). The notion of monopoly is perceived to be dependent upon the number of firms within the industry.

First, the significance and the size of the US oil production, both prior to and during the period of 1973–74, should not be underestimated. We know that US oil production has been traditionally the largest among the oil-producing countries. Given the structure of social demand and the existence of shortages, it would seem unlikely that the aging US oil fields could have been forced out of the market during the oil crisis of 1973–74. Second, the productivity of the US oil industry varied substantially from field to field, and from oil well to oil well.

In addition to the above conditions, the average life span of US oil wells was substantially shortened during the period, 1971–74, as compared with the trend of 1965–71 (American Petroleum Institute 1979). This shows that the depletion of existing oil fields increased substantially as further capital investments were applied to the existing oil reservoirs on a massive scale during the period of 1971–74. Likewise, the rate of cumulative abandonment of oil wells during the 36 Fou n dat ion of P ol i t ic a l E c onom y period of 1971–74 declined as well.

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