Our objectives in preparing this volume are threefold. First, at a time when misconceptions about the impact of Arab oil are current in the West, we seek to provide an empirical and theoretical foundation for objective and reasoned judgments about the implications of growing Arab oil wealth. To judge by accounts in the news media and the popular stereotypes to which they seem to lead, many believe the world economic and political system is seriously threatened by the Arabs. Some also apparently believe that the Arab world itself is being altered beyond recognition. While important transformations are, of course, taking place, these kinds of images are oversimplified, distorted, and, generally, misleading. Taken as a group, the chapters in this volume lay to rest such popular misconceptions and place in their proper perspective the changes being brought about by Arab oil wealth.
Second, this volume is intended to fill a gap in the small but growing body of scholarly literature on Arab oil. A number of excellent studies have appeared in recent years, but most have been written from the perspective of a single discipline and/or ideology. Further, the majority of these works focus on the international consequences of Arab oil and neglect forces operating within the Arab oil-producing countries themselves. In view of the interconnected nature of political and economic behavior and of domestic and international events, we have taken an expressly interdisciplinary and integrative approach to our subject. Contributors include both economists and political scientists, and contributions deal with both domestic and international aspects of Arab oil. We have also assembled the views of both Arabs and Westerners with different backgrounds and ideological tendencies, though all, of course, write in their capacity as professional scholars. In preparing this volume, an objective has thus been to bring together a wide variety of viewpoints in order to present a comprehensive and balanced examination of the impact of Arab oil.
Third, we have sought to assemble a collection of papers sufficiently scholarly for the specialist, yet not too specialized for students and other nonspecialist readers. Accordingly, most of the chapters in the volume do not report on original research but are rather integrative and more broadly theoretical, summarizing research by various scholars, including the contributors themselves, and putting forth generalized formulations. It is hoped that this approach will make the collection of interest to political and economic . . .