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The control of oil Paperback – January 1, 1978


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 441 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books (1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394725328
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394725321
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,948,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bert Ruiz on August 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"The Control of Oil," By Dr. John M. Blair is a brilliant look at how the price of crude oil was determined by giant petroleum companies (the seven sisters) and a dozen members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Blair traces the history of these controls and explains how they recklessly triggered the 1970's global energy crisis.
This 1976 publication is a classic. To this end, Blair spent thirty-two years in the federal government. He started in 1938 as an author of monographs for pre-World War II investigations. Early on, he made his name focusing on the sizable concentrations of economic power in the oil industry by the Rockefeller family and family foundation. Afterwards he spent nearly a decade with the Federal Trade Commission as an Assistant Chief Economist and finally Blair spent fourteen years as Chief Economist of the Senate Subcommittee on Anti-trust and Monopoly. What makes this book truly special is the author's enormous access to critical government information.
Blair describes the oil industry's principal tax preferences, which worked to the advantage of the major companies and against smaller nonintegrated companies that could have favorably altered the availability and price of oil to consumers. The author also goes into great detail to reveal how the "Arab Embargo" that set the stage for the massive oil price explosion of October 1973 - January 1974 had little impact on supply and that in reality there was no crude oil shortfall. Ultimately, Blair emphasizes the need for developing alternate energy sources in the future.
This book had its genesis in a special 1973 Ford Foundation Energy Policy Project. The final result is a groundbreaking examination of the dramatic profits of oil companies.
Bert Ruiz
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Javier A. Barrientos-Olivares on March 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
A timeless comprehensive study done by an expert, published by the time of the so-called "oil crisis" of the mid-nineteen-seventies; unmasking the oil industry's politics, economics and technical aspects. Top priority for any well informed person, in order to know, how the "free" market has been circumvented by the best kept secret conspiracy of all times, between major producers and giant distributors at the expense of domestic and foreign consumers. There is no such thing as an oil shortage, that's a lie.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John P. Jones III TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
John M. Blair wrote the seminal account of the methods utilized to explore for, produce, and market one of the world's most important physical resources, petroleum. His account dates from the mid-70's, shortly after the loosely termed "Arab Oil embargo." At the time he was a professor at the University of South Florida, but he drew on his experience, and the data obtained through 32 years of work in the Federal government. In many ways, he was uniquely placed to write such a book. Overall, it is written in textbook-style, with flat prose, and lots of charts and graphs. The account though is sprinkled with acerbic passages that underscore his central thesis that a small group of individuals, working for the major oil companies ("The Seven Sisters"), devote their efforts to determining, as they see it, an orderly manner in which this resource is sold to the general public, on highly lucrative and beneficial terms to the "guys in the backroom." Yes, Virginia, there really is a "free-market," but you see it exists in the minds of these guys, and their PR minions, as the most effective mechanism for diverting a glaring light from their decisions.

Blair starts with the "energy crisis" of 1973, and proves rather convincingly that overall there was no restriction in supply, yet nonetheless, the price quadrupled, and even after the purported boycott was ended, the price remained at these elevated levels. The author devotes two chapters to the evolution of the control mechanism, both in terms of supply and marketing, and the concerted effort to exclude the "outsiders," those not in the club, and who would truly represent an aspect of a "free market." One of his most astonishing assertions concerns the establishment of a predetermined growth rate.
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