Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


James T. Jensen

First Page



In the early days of industrialization in the United States, giant combines with great market power developed in a number of industries, such as oil, steel and railroads. Out of that era arose a body of domestic law and regulation that sought to define the limits within which those organizations could function in the economic life of the country. The Sherman and Clayton Acts formed the basis for antitrust law. Regulatory agencies such as the Federal Power Commission, the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Federal Trade Commission were formed to regulate the excesses of the private sector. We may now be witnessing the first development of a "cornered market" in world oil but we lack the international institutional mechanisms to deal with it.

Adelman has suggested that getting the companies out of crude oil marketing will bring about competition and put the lid on prices. If, as I believe, very few countries have the potential to expand producing capacity that significantly or that rapidly, we have an oligopoly of production growth potential now, with the possibility of it becoming a near monopoly in a matter of years.