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

By John G. Clark | Go to book overview

2
Energy and the maturation of industrial economies in the West, 1900-18

Day and night, coal-laden trains rumbled over the tracks connecting the deep and rich mines of Wales and northeastern England with coastal ports. At the docks men and steam-driven equipment poured coal into the holds and engine rooms of waiting colliers. From Newcastle-upon- Tyne, many colliers nosed eastward toward North Sea or Baltic Sea destinations. At Hamburg, the leading German coal port, importers distributed the coal to buyers in Berlin and other interior cities where British coal was cheaper than coal from Germany's Ruhr fields during the years prior to World War I.

During those years, European-bound vessels from Philadelphia and New York included in their cargoes rising volumes of crude oil and petroleum products. Cans and barrels of kerosene, lubricants, and paraffin wax were off-loaded at London, Le Havre, Rotterdam, and Hamburg. Wholesalers and retailers, some owned by the shippers, then distributed these products to countless consumers who also availed themselves of competitive goods shipped in from Russia, Galicia, and Romania.

In 1907, the value of the UK's coal trade surpassed £52 million while the total value of all petroleum exports from the USA amounted to some £19 million. The UK alone accounted for some sixty percent of the world coal trade so in all likelihood the value of that trade surpassed £100 million. Oil companies in the USA supplied an estimated twenty- five percent of a global traffic in oil valued at £70 million.1

The monetary value of the world coal trade continued to exceed that of the oil trade through World War I. Coal remained the premier industrial fuel into the 1950s and the primary fuel for motive power at least into the 1930s. The application of the coal-burning steam engine to

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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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