The Political Economy of Armament and Oil – A Series of Four Articles

The Political Economy of Armament and Oil – A Series of Four Articles
Bichler, Shimshon and Nitzan, Jonathan and Rowley, Robin. (1989). Working Papers. Department of Economics. McGill University. (Article - Working Paper; English).

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PDF (3. The Armadollar-Petrodollar Coalition and the Middle East)

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Abstract or Brief Description

1. The Political Economy of Armaments. Vol. 89, No. 7 (34 pages)

The interaction of oil exports from the Middle East in the 1970s with arms imports to this region has drawn attention from several researchers. The existing literature, however, is seriously flawed for it ignores the large corporate players whose actions synchronize the two flows of income and, thus fails to identify the significance of these corporations for the political economy of armaments. This present paper is the first of a series of four essays that attempt to relate the dynamics of market structures to the escalation of military sales. Here we briefly asses some neo-Marxist and institutional writings that offer insight into the subject of relevant issues. We find them deficient and perhaps outdated in some respects.

2. Changing Fortunes: Armaments and the U.S. Economy. Vol. 89, No. 8 (27 pages)

The present essay is the second in a series of four papers in which examine the political economy of armaments in recent decades. In this paper we focus on the ‘armament core’ of large military producers which recently emerged as a powerful bloc within the big economy of the United States. The rise of this core was heightened by a gradual shift of large civilian companies toward the armament business. We argue that the decline of large U.S.-based corporations in civilian world markets since the late 1960s was both a stimulus to and a partial consequence of the increasing involvement with better investment opportunities in government-related activity, especially military production. The increasing significance of international developments inhibits the earlier effectiveness of the U.S. government in assisting corporations based in the United States with its own military spending.

3. The Armadollar-Petrodollar Coalition and the Middle East. Vol. 89, No. 10 (54 pages)

This is the third paper in a series of four essays that deal with recent developments affecting the political economy of armaments. It begins by identifying the ‘military bias paradox’ of divergent behaviour, whereby the large armament corporations experienced an almost uninterrupted growth since the peak of the Vietnam War while domestic military spending exhibited a decade-long decline. The resolution of this apparent paradox could be found in the merging institution of arms exports, which supplemented domestic military budgets. The expansion of world markets for weapons coincided with the oil crisis of the 1970s. The Middle East became the focus of these developments. The interaction during the 1970s of rising military exports to this area and growing oil exports from the region provided a bsais for cooperation between major armament and energy corporations in an ‘Armadollar-Petrodollar Coalition’. The consolidation of this coalition removed a major conflict between ‘civilian’ and ‘military’ producers in the United States and affected the course of U.S. domestic and foreign military policies.

4. The Armadollar-Petrodollar Coalition: Demise or New Order? Vol. 89, No. 11 (63 pages)

This is the final paper in a series of four essays that deal with the political economy of armament and oil. Since the 1980s, military imports to the Middle East increased while revenues from oil exports declined substantially. These disparities highlight structural changes which affect the Armadollar-Petrodollar Coalition of large armament and oil companies. Relations between oil producing countries and petroleum companies were restructured and there was a surge in corporate concentration. A ‘military bias’ in Europe and Japan increased the global competition for military orders but also enhances the cohesiveness of an emerging international armament lobby of military contractors. In addition, the domestic influence of the U.S. Armament Core was heightened by corporate concentration and symbiotic relations between contractors and the Pentagon. The two sides of the Armadollar-Petrodollar Coalition have consolidated their positions and may again seek to benefit from renewed cycles of armed conflicts and oil crises in the Middle East.



Publication Type

Article - Working Paper


arms exports arma-core Baran civilian business concentration corporation elite Europe free flow foreign policy institutionalized waste Japan limited flow Middle East Asia Kalecki Macro-Marxism military bias military contractors military spending monopoly capital national security oil OPEC petro-core petrodollars profit distribution ruling class surplus Sweezy Tsuru underconsumption Vietnam War United States


BN State & Government
BN Region - Middle East
BN Industrial Organization
BN Institutions
BN Power
BN International & Global
BN Region - Asia
BN Region - North America
BN Business Enterprise
BN Crisis
BN War & Peace
BN Conflict & Violence
BN Money & Finance
BN Science & Technology
BN Distribution
BN Region - Europe
BN Comparative
BN Capital & Accumulation
BN Policy

Depositing User

Jonathan Nitzan

Date Deposited

11 Feb 2007

Last Modified

29 Mar 2016 19:50


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