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Oil power

An appraisal of the America of our times need not wait upon an historian of the

twenty-first century to look back and note the primacy of oil. Oil has resettled our

population , elected our presidents, swayed our foreign policy, and legislated our morality.

Oil has not only fueled our wars- the two World Wars, Korea and Vietnam - but is equally

the sinew of our might in peacetime: it takes oil to be a superpower.

Of the fossils fuels ripped from the earth by modern industrialism, oil from the first was

thought to be a peculiary American form of wealth. America produced the most and, with

the growing use of the internal combustion engine, consumed the most. Once oil and gas

had ousted coal as the principal source of energy, America was on its way to the zenith of

power. Even when oil was found in other countries, Americans exploited it - almost if by

The fact that oil flows also led, through control of its transportation, to the emergence

first in the oil business of the form of the supercorporation, then known as the trust, on

which all large-scale enterprise in this country has since been patterned. Oil, rewarding

both risk and its avoidance, thus produced the prototypical modern business organization.

Oil, the lifeblood of industry, does not course through pipelines and tankers only to

refiners, power plants, and factories. It also flows through pipes and tank trucks to homes

in every corner of the land to heat, to cool, to generate power for innumerable appliance.

And, of course, it pours through filling stations hoses into automobile gas tanks. Thus oil

sweeps us quite literally off our feet.

If oil runs through the bloodstream of our daily lives, it also permeats America`s public

affairs. The political power packed by oil is commensurate with its economic and social

importance. Oil is embedded in the power arrangements of all government and politics. It

is incalcul

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