Political action committees and the expropriation of the common

Charles H. Cho, Crawford Spence

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter analyzes the dynamics of U.S. political action committees (PACs) in the oil and gas industry. We find that PACs were used strategically in order to try and influence legislators to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to hydrocarbon exploration. Drawing from a revised political economy theory, we contend that PACs are thus employed in order to facilitate an 'expropriation of the common'. Further, in examining the financing of PACs we find that labor constitutes the major donor group. We thus conclude that PACs represent means through which to capture the regulatory process as well as to simultaneously exert subtle forms of employee control. Moreover, the chapter makes a theoretical contribution by arguing that such forms of employee control have become more prevalent due to the advent of immaterial labor and the attendant crisis of accounting that immaterial labor induces.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCapitalism in Business, Politics and Society
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9781611225471
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Crisis of control
  • Exploitation
  • Immaterial labor
  • Political action committees
  • Political economy theory
  • Regulatory capture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Economics,Econometrics and Finance
  • General Social Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Political action committees and the expropriation of the common'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this