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Over a Barrel: The Costs of U.S. Foreign Oil Dependence (Stanford Law Books) Hardcover – October 18, 2007
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So history once again repeats itself - we live in a time of expensive fuel and lots of gas guzzling vehicles. And like those salad days in the Era of Disco, we find ourselves floating in a sea of complaints, shrill demands for action, and many snake-oil solutions.
Into this murky body steps Dr. Duffield. To his credit, he presents an appropriately comprehensive statement of the current situation and recent history. The section in Chapter 5 about our dealings with the shah of Iran I found particularly enlightening. Not that it was much different from how we now deal with Saudi Arabia, but I think most of us living at the time believed our support for the shah had more to do with fighting the Cold War than keeping the oil cheap and flowing.
He is also quick to say that his book possesses neither a deep economic analysis nor a complete solution space, so those who expect a comparison table of optimal vs. actual outcomes or a neat list of possible alternatives should look elsewhere. In hindsight, it's not reasonable to expect prescription from a descriptive field such as political science.
And though it's unfair to criticize a book for lacking qualities it never aspired to having, I would have liked more imagination in addressing possible solutions. The ones presented by Dr. Duffield sound suspiciously like those parroted by our presidential candidates. I presume they got their ideas from Dr. Duffield.Read more ›
The Professor's analysis goes something like this: Oil is a fungible commodity with its price set on world markets. The U.S. is by far the world's largest oil consumer with the most "oil intense" economy - its transportation sector being the most demanding. Oil Imports are a direct wealth transfer, primarily to the Persian Gulf region. Domestic economic policies rely primarily on 'market forces', with a strategic petroleum reserve maintained to mitigate future oil shocks. Foreign policy with its overall goal to make sure that oil will be reliably available, and the supporting U.S. military responses have both direct and indirect costs, not the least of which is the creation of political instability and the empowering of actors hostile to the U.S. In summary the burden of these policies threaten the very economy they report to support; and a total rethink is required.Read more ›