Thesis Statement Global Economy

Developing Strong Thesis Statements

Summary:

These OWL resources will help you develop and refine the arguments in your writing.

Contributors: Stacy Weida, Karl Stolley
Last Edited: 2018-01-31 03:32:44

The thesis statement or main claim must be debatable

An argumentative or persuasive piece of writing must begin with a debatable thesis or claim. In other words, the thesis must be something that people could reasonably have differing opinions on. If your thesis is something that is generally agreed upon or accepted as fact then there is no reason to try to persuade people.

Example of a non-debatable thesis statement:

Pollution is bad for the environment.

This thesis statement is not debatable. First, the word pollution means that something is bad or negative in some way. Further, all studies agree that pollution is a problem; they simply disagree on the impact it will have or the scope of the problem. No one could reasonably argue that pollution is good.

Example of a debatable thesis statement:

At least 25 percent of the federal budget should be spent on limiting pollution.

This is an example of a debatable thesis because reasonable people could disagree with it. Some people might think that this is how we should spend the nation's money. Others might feel that we should be spending more money on education. Still others could argue that corporations, not the government, should be paying to limit pollution.

Another example of a debatable thesis statement:

America's anti-pollution efforts should focus on privately owned cars.

In this example there is also room for disagreement between rational individuals. Some citizens might think focusing on recycling programs rather than private automobiles is the most effective strategy.

The thesis needs to be narrow

Although the scope of your paper might seem overwhelming at the start, generally the narrower the thesis the more effective your argument will be. Your thesis or claim must be supported by evidence. The broader your claim is, the more evidence you will need to convince readers that your position is right.

Example of a thesis that is too broad:

Drug use is detrimental to society.

There are several reasons this statement is too broad to argue. First, what is included in the category "drugs"? Is the author talking about illegal drug use, recreational drug use (which might include alcohol and cigarettes), or all uses of medication in general? Second, in what ways are drugs detrimental? Is drug use causing deaths (and is the author equating deaths from overdoses and deaths from drug related violence)? Is drug use changing the moral climate or causing the economy to decline? Finally, what does the author mean by "society"? Is the author referring only to America or to the global population? Does the author make any distinction between the effects on children and adults? There are just too many questions that the claim leaves open. The author could not cover all of the topics listed above, yet the generality of the claim leaves all of these possibilities open to debate.

Example of a narrow or focused thesis:

Illegal drug use is detrimental because it encourages gang violence.

In this example the topic of drugs has been narrowed down to illegal drugs and the detriment has been narrowed down to gang violence. This is a much more manageable topic.

We could narrow each debatable thesis from the previous examples in the following way:

Narrowed debatable thesis 1:

At least 25 percent of the federal budget should be spent on helping upgrade business to clean technologies, researching renewable energy sources, and planting more trees in order to control or eliminate pollution.

This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just the amount of money used but also how the money could actually help to control pollution.

Narrowed debatable thesis 2:

America's anti-pollution efforts should focus on privately owned cars because it would allow most citizens to contribute to national efforts and care about the outcome.

This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just what the focus of a national anti-pollution campaign should be but also why this is the appropriate focus.

Qualifiers such as "typically," "generally," "usually," or "on average" also help to limit the scope of your claim by allowing for the almost inevitable exception to the rule.

Types of claims

Claims typically fall into one of four categories. Thinking about how you want to approach your topic, in other words what type of claim you want to make, is one way to focus your thesis on one particular aspect of your broader topic.

Claims of fact or definition: These claims argue about what the definition of something is or whether something is a settled fact. Example:

What some people refer to as global warming is actually nothing more than normal, long-term cycles of climate change.

Claims of cause and effect: These claims argue that one person, thing, or event caused another thing or event to occur. Example:

The popularity of SUVs in America has caused pollution to increase.

Claims about value: These are claims made of what something is worth, whether we value it or not, how we would rate or categorize something. Example:

Global warming is the most pressing challenge facing the world today.

Claims about solutions or policies: These are claims that argue for or against a certain solution or policy approach to a problem. Example:

Instead of drilling for oil in Alaska we should be focusing on ways to reduce oil consumption, such as researching renewable energy sources.

Which type of claim is right for your argument? Which type of thesis or claim you use for your argument will depend on your position and knowledge of the topic, your audience, and the context of your paper. You might want to think about where you imagine your audience to be on this topic and pinpoint where you think the biggest difference in viewpoints might be. Even if you start with one type of claim you probably will be using several within the paper. Regardless of the type of claim you choose to utilize it is key to identify the controversy or debate you are addressing and to define your position early on in the paper.

Final Project

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a group of thirteen countries located in the Middle East, Africa, and also South America (those countries can be viewed in figure 1).  The organization was formed in September of 1960 in Baghdad, Iraq.  OPEC has caused major shifts in economy throughout the years due to the power that they hold over their oil.  Between the years 1960 and 1980 the organization of petroleum exporting countries have changed the price and production levels of their oil many times.  This organization has led to those countries along with many other countries’ economies expanding due to the fact that the OPEC nations were in charge of their own oil.  Through the limitations and agreements that the petroleum exporting countries made, led to us seeing shifts in their economies and also shifts in the industrialization of the countries.

This organization was formed primarily because the petroleum exporting countries where being taken advantage of by huge international countries that were referred to as the seven sisters.  The seven sisters where different oil companies like Royal Dutch Shell, Standard Oil of California and Standard Oil of New Jersey along with a few others.  The western oil companies made it so there was no limitation on the price of oil.  In 1960 these western countries (Seven Sisters) began to lose their monopoly and the Middle East started calling the shots [1].  To combat being taken advantage of by the western oil companies OPEC was formed.  One of the first goals of the petroleum producing nations was to gain sovereignty of their oil and then to be able to set taxes on the oil in order to help their nation develop.  The governments of the countries in the Middle East also wanted to make more money of the oil than they were making, so in order to do so they had to band together and impose different limitations [2].  The biggest event to cause this organization being formed was the drop in demand for the non-US oil.   Timothy Mitchell explains that, “In 1960, in response to the drop in demand for non-US oil caused by Eisenhower’s import quotas, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia – together with the other three large Gulf producers, Iraq, Kuwait, and Iran – set up the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)” [3] .  When OPEC was first started they decided that they wanted to maintain a fixed price per barrel on oil in order to keep their income steady and fixed for each barrel of oil sold.  The organization grew over the years and in the year 1969 the number of OPEC nations reached ten and they all shared the common goal of improving their economies and

further developing as a nation [4].

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries was directly related to the global energy crisis and was also the cause for price change in oil through this time period.  OPEC has been blamed for the high oil prices during the crisis.  According to Davar Venouss, “The most obvious consequence of high-priced oil is a redistribution of wealth.  While industrial countries sink into recession, oil-producing states are suddenly gorged with money” [5] .    The oil embargo of 1973 placed by OPEC sparked the start of the global energy crisis.  This embargo caused a spike in the price of oil from three dollars a barrel to twelve dollars per barrel.  During this oil embargo the production of oil was cut significantly in retaliation to the United States decision to re-supply the Israeli military and to gain leverage in the post-war peace negotiations [6].  With the prices being increased and the production going down the United States was sent into an economic downturn.  Daniel Yergin explains to us that, “The oil crisis set off an upheaval in global politics and the world economy. It also challenged America’s position in the world, polarized its politics at home and shook the country’s confidence.” [7] .  The embargo caused the economy of the United States to suffer because of how dependent they were on foreign oil. Almost everyone in the US was reliant on Oil from overseas whether it was for powering their cars or heating their homes.  With the huge trouble over price and production of oil the Nixon administration needed to do something in order to stop the embargo so production would get back to the normal level and the economy wouldn’t continue to suffer.  So in March of 1974 the hostility between Israel and Syria was negotiated to end, which then led to OPEC countries lifting their embargoes which also resulted in the leveling out of prices [8].  The embargo that was placed in a way hurt the amount of money that the OPEC nations could have made.  They were hurt because both European countries and North America started to do more exploration in term of finding new places to drill for oil.  Also, because of this event the United States established and enlarged a reserve in order to make sure nothing like this would ever happen again to this extent.  After the embargo was over OPEC nations met once again to discuss further pricing limitations.  It was said that they were looking for a way to link the price of oil to the inflation of the world’s economy in order to maximize the money they could make.  However, in 1976 there was a split amongst OPEC nations in the prices that were to be set.  “Eleven of the 13 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will raise their crude oil prices by 10%. The other two, members, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, will increase 5 %” [9] .  So Saudi Arabia and The United Arab Emirates limited their increase on price by only five percent because they hoped that the United States would help deal with the Arab-Israeli conflict that was gaining prominence during this time period.  The other countries that decided on a bigger increase hoped to further expand their economy.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has had a huge impact on the member countries as well from the 1960’s through the 1980’s.  When OPEC was first created they were able to set their own prices which took the pricing power out of the hands of the western oil companies which in turn helped OPEC nations prosper.  After gaining sovereignty of their oil they could

now do what they wanted with it.  OPEC tried putting restrictions on their oil in order to make more money per barrel of oil.  Without the increase in money that they were getting from the export of petroleum the countries wouldn’t have been able to industrialize as fast resulting in them being even further behind in the world’s economy.  Take Saudi Arabia as an example with the money that they made from the oil they were able to build schools, roads, airports and other forms of infrastructure.  Starting ten years after OPEC was founded Saudi Arabia began various different development projects to help modernize their country and their economy [10].  With the extra money that was made when being a part of OPEC they were able to produce products that they normally would have imported which allowed their economy to grow even more.  Being a part of OPEC along with national oil companies building more facilities and pipelines have helped almost all Petroleum exporting countries flourish.  Growth can also be viewed in the United Arab Emirates just as in Saudi Arabia they developed an infrastructure and worked on long term development projects to further develop the nation. For the majority of the nations in OPEC you can see the same kind of trend in the development of their countries.  Although being a part of OPEC isn’t the main reason these nations have developed it is certainly a major factor.  If these nations would not have gained sovereignty over their own oil who knows what the United States and Europe would have done to these countries or where the countries would be financially in today’s world.

From the beginning of OPEC and on into the energy crisis we have seen the petroleum exporting countries gaining power in the world’s economy.  Without understanding the creation and development of OPEC it is very difficult to see how the economy of the Middle East and many other areas has changed.  If it wasn’t for this organization, the Middle Eastern, African and South American countries would be very behind economically and in regard to both industrialization along with economic power in today’s society.  The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will continue to remain in effect and will continue to set limitations on the oil sold out of their nations.  In the future I think that OPEC will lead to the member states further developing industrially and economically.  OPEC causes many shifts in the economy not just in the member states but also around the world.  The organization will remain in effect and continue to show us shifts in our world’s economy for years to come.

Footnotes:

[1] Salisbury, Peter. “Opec reflects on its history; The organisation has grown to become a major cog in the world economy, a position that is unlikely to change soon.(OPEC AT 50)(Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries).”  MEED Middle East Economic Digest, May 28, 2010, Vol.54(22), p.22

[2]  Vielvoye,Roger Energy Correspondent. “Oil nations fail to agree on production levels and prices at Opec pre-summit meeting.” Times [London, England] 4 Mar. 1975

[3] Mitchel, Timothy. Carbon democracy : political power in the age of oil. London : Verso, 1955 (167)

[4] Rūḥānī, Fuʼād. A history of O.P.E.C. New York: Praeger,1971 (200-210)

[5] Davar Venouss, C. K. Walter and A. Frank Thompson. OPEC’s Goal and Strategies International Journal of Middle East StudiesVol. 16, No. 2 (May, 1984) (199)

[6]  Roger Vielvoye. “Split in Opec brings two-tier oil price rises of 5% and 10%.” Times [London, England] 17 Dec. 1976: 1. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 2 Oct. 2015

[7] Yergin, Daniel. The prize : the epic quest for oil, money, and power. New York : Simon & Schuster, 1992

[8]  Davar Venouss, C. K. Walter and A. Frank Thompson. OPEC’s Goal and Strategies International Journal of Middle East StudiesVol. 16, No. 2 (May, 1984) (199)

[9] Roger Vielvoye. “Split in Opec brings two-tier oil price rises of 5% and 10%.” Times [London, England] 17 Dec. 1976: 1. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 2 Oct. 2015.

[10] Salisbury, Peter. “Opec reflects on its history; The organisation has grown to become a major cog in the world economy, a position that is unlikely to change soon.(OPEC AT 50)(Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries).”  MEED Middle East Economic Digest, May 28, 2010, Vol.54(22), p.22

 

Bibliography:

Secondary:

Davar Venouss, C. K. Walter and A. Frank Thompson. OPEC’s Goal and Strategies International Journal of Middle East StudiesVol. 16, No. 2 (May, 1984), pp. 199-206. http://www.jstor.org/stable/163099

 

Mitchel, Timothy. Carbon democracy : political power in the age of oil. London : Verso, 1955   http://searchit.libraries.wsu.edu/primo_library/libweb/action/basket.do?fn=display&doc=dedupmrg440020112&vid=WSU

 

 

Rūḥānī, Fuʼād. A history of O.P.E.C. New York: Praeger,1971    http://searchit.libraries.wsu.edu/primo_library/libweb/action/basket.do?fn=display&doc=CP71121886740001451&vid=WSU

 

Salisbury, Peter. “Opec reflects on its history; The organisation has grown to become a major cog in the world economy, a position that is unlikely to change soon.(OPEC AT 50)(Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries).”  MEED Middle East Economic Digest, May 28, 2010, Vol.54(22), p.22(1) http://searchit.libraries.wsu.edu/primo_library/libweb/action/basket.do?fn=display&doc=TN_gale_ofa229531667&vid=WSU

 

Yergin, Daniel. The prize : the epic quest for oil, money, and power. New York : Simon & Schuster, 1992

 

Primary:

Roger Vielvoye Energy Correspondent. “Oil nations fail to agree on production levels and prices at Opec pre-summit meeting.” Times [London, England] 4 Mar. 1975: 6.The Times Digital Archive. Web. 1 Oct. 2015  http://find.galegroup.com/ttda/infomark.do &source=gale&prodId=TTDA&userGroupName=pull21986&tabID=T003&docPage=article&searchType=AdvancedSearchForm&docId=CS101940324&type=multipage&contentSet=LTO&version=1.0

 

Roger Vielvoye. “Split in Opec brings two-tier oil price rises of 5% and 10%.” Times [London, England] 17 Dec. 1976: 1. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 2 Oct. 2015.  http://find.galegroup.com/ttda/infomark.do?&source=gale&prodId=TTDA&userGroupName=pull21986&tabID=T003&docPage=article&searchType=AdvancedSearchForm&docId=CS17006481&type=multipage&contentSet=LTO&version=1.0

 

Illustrations:

Figure 1: Modern day countries that are a part of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, http://www.ianswer4u.com/2015/01/beginners-guide-to-opec-and-faqs.html#axzz3qk24G8gp

Figure 2: Refiner Acquisition Cost of Crude Oil  from 1974 to 1980, http://www.wtrg.com/prices.htm

Figure 3: Political cartoon of the price increase due to OPEC, http://www.philstockworld.com/2011/05/19/thursday-thought-dont-tax-oil-companies-nationalize-them/

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