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The First OPEC Oil Crisis

Contributed by Alex Shrugged

In reaction to the Six Day War with Israel, the Arab oil producing countries used oil as an economic tool to punish countries that supported Israel. It didn't work, but since that time the US dollar has been devalued twice. President Nixon has abandoned the last vestiges of the gold standard. The US dollar is now a free-floating fiat currency. Wage and price freezes have allowed food prices to rise while wages stay the same. Industry in the UK is forced to a three-day work week to conserve power during a coal strike. 1.6 million workers strike in protest of a crippled economy. They want food! (Soylet Green is people! Oh, wait. That's a movie. Never mind.) The London Stock Exchange loses 74% of its value. Then in October, the Yom Kippur War is fought and the Arabs lose big time. Once again, the Arab countries embargo their oil, but this time they are supported by OPEC which includes non-Arab countries. The price of oil quadruples. Shipping costs skyrocket. Consumers have no choice but to cut back on travel, cancel vacations, delay purchases. Many are forced to trade in their Ford Mustang for a Pinto or even... (gasp!)... A TOYOTA! (Oh how the mighty have fallen.) I pull down my copy of Famine-1975! It's really going to happen. Isn't it? [1] [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Nope. Close, though. You might be asking, "But Alex! Don't we have our own oil wells?" Yes we do, but it takes time get production going again, and even after the embargo was lifted, oil prices remained high. The proposed Trans-Alaska Oil pipeline suddenly received overwhelming support. It had been blocked by energetic environmentalists. (FYI, the caribou LOVE the pipeline because it keeps them warm!) OPEC got richer in the short-term, but they lost market share in the long term as people found alternatives to OPEC oil. Higher energy prices make alternative energy economically viable. That is why you see Saudi Arabia pumping as much oil as it can today. Keeping OPEC oil prices low shuts down alternatives like shale oil and hydrogen-fueled cars. So the OPEC oil keeps on flowing, keeping fuel prices low for you and me. Will we ever learn? Maybe. OPEC has recently struck a deal that allows oil shale to remain a viable alternative. That means higher oil prices though. The perfect balance of price vs security is an elusive goal. [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

Tax Evasion Costs Agnew the Presidency

Contributed by Southpaw Ben

This year Spiro Agnew, Vice President of the United States, became the second Vice President to resign from office, and was the only one to do so due to criminal charges. After being investigated by the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland for a variety of charges, including extortion, tax evasion and bribery, he was charged with accepting over $100,000 in bribes while a Baltimore County Executive, the Governor of Maryland, and the Vice President. On the 10th of October, Agnew plead no contest to a single charge, $29,500 of unreported income in 1967, on the condition that he would resign from his post of Vice President of the United States. After various later civil lawsuits, he paid the state of Maryland almost $270,000 over the bribery charges. When one looks at the fall out later this year from Watergate, we see that Agnew's poor decisions cost him the presidency. [11]

My Take by Southpaw Ben
As with Watergate itself, we see how a small decision, or, in this case, series of decisions, can alter the path of world history. Had Agnew paid his taxes and taken his bribes in a legal fashion, we would have had President Agnew, 38th president of the US. Instead, we wind up getting the House Minority Leader Gerald Ford in this role.

The Sexual Suicide of America

Contributed by Alex Shrugged

In contradiction to the trend of free love and the joys of sex, George F. Gilder publishes his jaw-dropping book, "Sexual Suicide". In it, he details what society is doing to destroy the human male's role in society. He answers anthropologist Margaret Mead's question on society, "What do we do with the men?" Apparently the answer is, "Not a darn thing." He predicts that society will be forced to follow the rhythms of the sexually promiscuous male, rather than the more sensible, future-looking female who is looking out for society as a whole. In other words, we are cutting our own throats, and going for the short-term gain. Whatever feels good. But no worries. That is all in the future. It will all work out in the end. Won't it? [12] [13]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Golly... my computer went haywire, and it just came back, so you are getting a first draft right off the top of my head. Gilder's book is amazing, but it is definitely male-oriented. If you are a member of the no-sissies-he-man club, then this is the book for you. It is still in print, re-released and updated under the lack-luster title, "Men and Marriage". (Oh, come on, George!) If you are of the female persuasion, you will probably like a different book that makes the same point, only more congenially. It is entitled, "Why Men Are the Way They Are" by Dr. Warren Farrell. He is a former member of N.O.W., but it seems not to have corrupted his brain. Very sensible book, if a little wimpy for my tastes. I am the "he-man" type.

Notable Births

  • Monica Lewinsky: White House intern and love interest of President Bill Clinton. (Note: Alex Shrugged has a tenuous connection with the Lewinsky family.) [14] [15]
  • -- Supermodels... Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum. [14]
  • -- In Comedy... Dave Chappelle, Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy), Seth Meyers (SNL), and Kristen Wiig (SNL). [14]
  • -- In TV... Tori Spelling (90210). [14]
  • -- In Sports... Terrell Owens. [14]

This Year in Film

  • The Sting: Con men seek revenge for the murder of their old friend. Ragtime music becomes popular again. [16]
  • The Exorcist: Linda Blair plays a girl possessed by the devil. The music "Tubular Bells" becomes popular. [16]
  • American Graffiti: Young people coming of age. These young actors are future big names: Harrison Ford, Richard Dryfus, Ron Howard and more. [16]
  • -- And the controversial..." Jesus Christ Superstar, Soylent Green and Westworld. [16]

This Year in TV

  • The Six Million Dollar Man: Bionic implants give a former astronaut superhuman strength. [17]
  • Kojak: Actor Telly Savalas becomes the icon for American shoot-em-up TV. [17]
  • Schoolhouse Rock!: A series of educational, animated shorts. (Effective.--alexshrugged) [17]

This Year in Music

  • Angie: The Rolling Stones. [18]
  • Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'round the Old Oak Tree: Tony Orlando & Dawn. [18]
  • Crocodile Rock: Elton John. [18]
  • The OPEC Oil Crisis is depressing record sales: Oil products are used to make plastic records. [18]

This Year in Video Games

  • Pong clones dominate: Jukebox and arcade game companies scramble to take advantage of the video game craze. [19]

In Other News

  • Federal Express delivers: Fred Smith's professor gave him a "C" on his college paper proposing an overnight delivery service by air. (This is why you don't allow professors to run businesses.--alexshrugged) [20]
  • The first cell phone call is made - Motorola's Martin Cooper calls his competitor, Joel Engle, at Bell Labs, "Joel... I'm calling you from a cell phone... a REAL cell phone!" It weighs 2.5 pounds and the battery lasts 20 minutes. It's a start. [21] [22][23]
  • Rowe vs. Wade makes abortion legal! Actually, it was already legal. This ruling forces all states to allow abortion on demand. Years of fighting begin. [24]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1973, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. The Economy: A Gilt-Edged Year for the Stock Market - TIME (January 8, 1973). Retrieved on 30 March 2017. “THE first definitive year-end report card on the economy—the stock market average on the final day of trading —was cause for solid optimism on the part of investors. Last week the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 1020 —up 130 points for the year, a remarkable gain of 15%.”
  2. "PRICE QUADRUPLES FOR IRAN CRUDE OIL - The New York Times", December 12, 1973. Retrieved on 30 March 2017. “You buy our crude oil and sell it hack to us, refined as petrochemicals, at a hundred times the price you've paid us. You make us pay more, scandalously more, for everything, and it's only fair that, from now on, you should pay more for oil. Let's say...10 times more” 
  3. 1973 oil crisis - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  4. Salter's duck - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  5. Salter, Stephen Hugh. Patent US3928967 - Apparatus and method for extracting wave energy (Original Salter Patent), google.com, Filing date: 1974-Nov-6.
  6. Wave power - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  7. Stephen Salter - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  8. Energy Crisis (1970s) - Facts & Summary - HISTORY.com (2017). Retrieved on 30 March 2017. “In addition to causing major problems in the lives of consumers, the energy crisis was a huge blow to the American automotive industry, which had for decades turned out bigger and bigger cars and would now be outpaced by Japanese manufacturers producing smaller and more fuel-efficient models.”
  9. Why U.S. shale producers are the biggest winner from OPEC’s oil deal - MarketWatch (2017). Retrieved on 30 March 2017. “Major oil producers from around the globe managed to strike a deal to help the market find a balance between demand and a glut of supplies that has weighed on prices for more than two years. So far, the oil market has cheered the agreement, but the true winner may be the U.S. shale-oil industry.”
  10. Rising U.S. shale-oil output threatens OPEC’s production pact - MarketWatch (2017). Retrieved on 30 March 2017. “The oil market got a stark reminder Tuesday that rising oil production in the U.S. could upend efforts by major producers to bring global supply and demand for crude back in to balance. Just ahead of the settlement for oil futures prices US:CLG7 on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Tuesday, the Energy Information Administration released a report on drilling productivity—forecasting a monthly rise of 41,000 barrels a day in February oil production to 4.748 million barrels a day.”
  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiro_Agnew
  12. George Gilder - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  13. Geneshaft - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 1973 Births - Wikipedia.
  15. Monica Lewinsky - Wikipedia.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 1973 in film - Wikipedia (1973). Retrieved on 27 January 2017.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 1973 in television - Wikipedia (2017).
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 1973 in music - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 30 January 2017.
  19. 1973 in music - Wikipedia (1973).
  20. FedEx Express - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  21. Laporte, Leo. (interviewer) Triangulation 143: Marty Cooper. YouTube.com. 2014-Mar-17. Time mark: 7 minutes 30 seconds into the interview. (VIDEO)
  22. Martin Cooper (inventor) - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  23. Joel S. Engel - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  24. Roe v. Wade - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]

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