Social Scientist. v 7, no. 80-81 (March-April 1979) p. 90.


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BOOK REVIEWS

Review Articles

Oil Companies in the International System

Louis TURNER: OIL COMPANIES IN THE INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM, GEORGE ALLEN Unwin, London 1978, pp 222, 8.50.

THE main conclusion that emerges from this 222 page dicussion of Turner's Oil Companies in the International System is that,

<( . . the majors L have possessed marginal influence, providing a source of pressure which has added to the richness of displomatic history without being a dominant force." (p 20) He also envisages that despite some changes in the world corporate set-up,

" . . the bulk of the progeny of pioneers 2 such as John D Rockefeller, Sir Henri Deterding, and William Knox D'Arcy will survive as recognizable entities well into the twenty-first century.55 (p 222)

To this latter, we could well apply the term "emotive'5, one that Turner appears particularly fond of using when referring to nationalism and other anti-monopoly, anti-Imperialist political currents^ in contradistinction to the "pragmatism" of the companies. As to the purpose of the book, the author finds, "... the present debate [on multinationals] . . . thoroughly unsatisfactory . .. [with the] . . . defenders of multinationals seem[ing] to win their arguments very much by default." (p 20) One finds this statement rather hard to swallow. Traditional writing in economics/political economy in the West, has really no place for any entity except the rational profit maximizing, utility-maximizing producer/consumer axis, all caught up in a nebulae of discrete, unconnected factors. The task of sitting up and taking a look at multinationals was left to those who belonged to the broad



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