Oil is the Current Power Commodity in world politics, but it only the current one and it’s only been the biggie for a little over a hundred years. If you’re American, you may have heard how John D. Rockefeller single-handedly developed the oil industry in the late 1800s, but that is not true.
1. Oil had been dug in Baku for centuries before Rockefeller switched from selling foodstuffs (and making a fortune on Civil War contracts) to monopolizing oil.
There was so much oil in Baku, they just dug a shallow hole and scooped it up in buckets. When a commercial use for the gooey stuff was developed (kerosene for lanterns and later, fuel for internal combustion engines) Europeans, including the Nobel brothers, rushed in and built a big city to exploit the riches.
2. Oil was used for eye salve and healing sores for a long time and thus had limited commercial value.
When they started running out of whales for lantern oil, they figured out how to distill kerosene from oil to replace whale oil and that is how Rockefeller got started in the business. When electric lighting was invented, it could have been the end of John D’s empire, except somebody figured out how to use the “waste’ from kerosene production to fuel the newly-invented internal combustion engines.
- Oil may not be a “fossil fuel.” The idea that oil is the end result of dead dinosaurs and plants may be wrong. Why would the dinosaurs go to specific places to die? “Oh, you’re not looking so good, Joe. You’d better head to Baku.” The opposing theory is that oil is a product of geological processes, and is thus renewable, albeit slowly.
Any theory that messes with the Current Power Commodity is going to find tough sledding. If oil is renewable and probably available more widely than they let on…how will a few power brokers maintain their power? The implications are staggering, and so will probably be largely ignored.