The Political Economy of World Energy: A Twentieth-Century Perspective

By John G. Clark | Go to book overview

1
A prospectus

To fashion a study of energy in the international economy during the twentieth century requires consideration of myriad complex events and developments from every corner of the globe. During this century people around the world, but first and most intensively in the industrial nations along the Atlantic's rim, experienced an ever widening choice of uses for energy derived from extended and improved access to inorganic sources. It is no coincidence that several nations reached industrial maturity at the close of the nineteenth century simultaneously with the emergence of increasingly sophisticated energy systems of broad application and but partially recognized potential. Alastair Buchan writes that "developments in the use of energy . . . have shaped the course of modern history more than other forms of technological change . . . ."1

As a physicist knows, energy is ubiquitous. The universe is awash with pure and untapped energy. But the energy that I am interested in lights my study and is as intrinsic to each second of my life as air and water and various emotional states. Energy works for humanity but it must also be worked for. It is mined, processed, turned into innumerable useful products, bought and sold, all in extremely large quantities. In these processes and in the final use, the end use, of energy, specific energy forms--wood and other biomass, coal, oil, natural gas, electricity from thermal fuels or nuclear fission--enter societies and cultures and shape them. In places in Africa, once lush ground cover has been stripped so bare that people must walk for hours to find a day's supply of firewood. The lives of these people have been radically altered as they adapt to such scarcity.

Historically, it is important to know the volume and value of energy producing materials that pass from party to party and across national

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The Political Economy of World Energy: A Twentieth-Century Perspective
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables xi
  • Maps xv
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • Preface xix
  • 1 - A Prospectus 1
  • Notes 8
  • 2 - Energy and the Maturation of Industrial Economies in the West, 1900-18 9
  • Notes 44
  • 3 - The Search for Energy During the Interwar Years 51
  • Notes 88
  • 4 - Energy Flows in a Politically Polarized World 95
  • Notes 138
  • 5 - The Owners of the World's Petroleum Resources 146
  • Notes 179
  • 6 - Cheap Energy, Security, and the Industrialized Nations, 1960-73 186
  • Notes 224
  • 7 - The West and the Energy Crisis of 1973-8 230
  • Notes 267
  • 8 - The Lesser Developed Countries and the Oil Boom of the 1970s 274
  • Notes 311
  • 9 - A Second Energy Crisis: the Iranian Revolution and Its Aftermath 319
  • Notes 358
  • 10 - Powering Energy Transitions and Transactions: a Summary and Conclusions 365
  • Notes 376
  • Index 378
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