Petroleum Accidents in the Global South

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Transnational corporation (TNC)-led oil investments have been widely
encouraged as a mechanism for the development of the Global South. Even
though the sector is characterized by major accidents, oil-based developmentalist narratives claim that such accidents are merely isolated incidents that can be administratively addressed, redressed behaviorally through education of certain individuals, or corrected through individually targeted post-event legislation. Adapting Harvey Molotch’s (1970) political economy methodology of “accident research”, this paper argues that such “accidents” are, in fact, routine in the entire value chain of the oil system dominated by, among others, military-backed TNCs which increasingly collaborate with national and local oil companies similarly wedded to the ideology of growth. Based on this analysis, existing policy focus on improving technology, instituting and enforcing more environmental regulations, and the pursuit of economic nationalism in the form of withdrawing from globalization are ineffective. In such a red-hot system, built on rapidly spinning wheels of accumulation, the pursuit of slow growth characterized by breaking the chains of monopoly and oligopoly, putting commonly generated rent to common uses, and freeing labor from regulations that rob it of its produce has more potency to address the enigma of petroleum accidents in the global south.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnvironmental Impacts of Transnational Corporations in the Global South
EditorsPaul Cooney, William Sacher Freslon
Number of pages32
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Limited
Publication date14 Jan 2019
ISBN (Print)978-1-78756-035-2
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-78756-034-5
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2019
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Publication series

NameResearch in Political Economy
PublisherJAI Press
ISSN (Print)0161-7230

Fields of Science

  • 5203 Development Studies
  • petroleum
  • accumulation and rent
  • Africa
  • global south
  • political economy
  • TNCs

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