The world-system of oil. A theoretical and empirical sketch

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This is an attempt at formulating, on a theoretical and empirical basis, construction principles and patterns of change of the "world economy of oil". This term refers to a loose and variable configuration of nation states, multinational corporations, the "Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries" (OPEC) and a set of market regulations related to the production, distribution and consumption of oil on a worldwide scale. The main argument links together four interrelated and partially overlapping functional processes: (1) capitalism as a profit-oriented, innovative and expansive economic principle; (2) incorporation of the external oil deposits by the governments and corporations of the central industrial nations; (3) the emergence of countervailing power within the peripheral, oil-exporting countries in order to gain control over their oil resources and to change the unequal exchange relations with the capitalist centers; (4) change of the integration mode of the "world-economy of oil" based on a new balance of interests between centers and peripheries following severe economical and political crises. The analysis is concluded with a functional-cyclical model of the world economy of oil.
Translated title of the contributionDas Weltsystem des Erdöls: Eine theoretisch-empirische Skizze
Original languageEnglish
JournalKölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)421-446
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 09.2003