PETROLEUM & PROGRESS
Oil, Development, and the American Encounter with Iran, 1941-1965
Oil flows through a vast, interconnected system, linking crude from scattered, isolated oil fields to markets throughout the world, from Europe to Asia and the Americas. The result is energy, economic growth, carbon production--and wealth. But who gets to share in oil's bounty? Where do the rights of companies end and those of the nation-states begin? And when national governments finally wrest control from the hands of private corporations, what then can be done to turn petroleum into progress?
Petroleum & Progress: Oil, Development, and the American Encounter with Iran, 1941-1965 grapples with these questions. The book explores the birth of the Pahlavi "petro-state," and the links connecting the international oil industry, global development movement, U.S. Cold War strategy, and Iranian modernization politics. In the case of Iran, oil was a way for an assertive yet weak central state to implement a transformation of society.
Unlike the deterministic assumptions of the “resource curse,” Iran’s transformation into a petro-state was hardly straightforward. Control of oil, and the transformation of inert crude deposits into oil power dominated a struggle fought over budgets, boardrooms, and blood that engaged a host of actors—development NGOs, foreign oil companies, Pahlavi “developmentalists,” the U.S. government, and the shah himself—each with their own distinct agenda.
Petroleum & Progress tells the untold story of how global oil intersected with local development in Pahlavi Iran, and illustrates how the U.S. desire to “save” Iran from its own apparent economic backwardness set the country on the path towards authoritarian rule.
The book manuscript is complete and currently undergoing clearance review.