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The Oil Follies of 1970-1980 by Robert Sherrill, is a broad account of an important decade for energy law and politics. In a capsule review of the book, I noted that it is a journalistic, rather than an academic, look at the theory of capture as a way of talking about government regulation. Because Sherrill was writing for a predominantly lay audience, he did not undertake a systematic and rigorous analysis of the legal regulations concerning the petroleum industry. Nevertheless, his book does provoke a serious question: Is Big Oil bad, and if so, how should government regulate it? This essay is about the relationship between the government and the oil industry in our political economy.


This article was published in 5 J. Energy L. & Pol'y 227 (1984).