Why World Oil Monopolization Lowers Oil Prices: A Theory of Involuntary Cartelization
This paper first shows that, in the absence of long-term production commitments, time-consistent monopolistic sellers of a wasting natural resource will underconserve their resource. Since the present values of the profits of these uncommitted monopolists are generally much lower than under competition, the only rational explanation for the persistent recurrence of such monopolies in the oil industry is the high profits to current generations of oil buyers, who unite to establish such a producer monopoly. The victims of such a monopolistic cartel, besides future generations of consumers, are the producers who must involuntarily expand their current productive capacities in order to benefit the cartel leaders, who stand to benefit from the higher future prices. OPEC, rather than being a monopolistic cartel, is an excess-capacity cartel, one that has been induced by current generations of buyers to supply sufficient excess capacity to efficiently accommodate their prospective future emergencies.
Volume (Year): 7 (2000)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
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