December 31, 2006
What do you mean, "become"?
(Posted by John.)
Happy New Year all. Der Spiegel has a piece on the drafting of Iraq's new oil law, which is apparently going to lead to privatization. As much as I'm sure that will be wildly popular with the Iraqis - and I'm sure it won't at all be re-nationalized once the dust settles - I have to say the most surreal thing about the article is the headline:
"Will Iraq's Oil Blessing Become a Curse?"
Yes, it's been such a blessing to be an oil-rich Persian Gulf state. Just look at the wondrous societies of Saudi Arabia, or Iran, or Kuwait. Bastions of free expression and social justice, each and every one.
December 31, 2006 | Permalink
"Yes, it's been such a blessing to be an oil-rich Persian Gulf state. Just look at the wondrous societies of Saudi Arabia, or Iran, or Kuwait. Bastions of free expression and social justice, each and every one."
I'd guess in some ways there might be some blessings and not many curses (excluding the gulf war), sure the money helps keeps bad regimes afloat but that doesn't mean they wouldn't survive without it or that their replacements would be likly better. I'm guessing they are talking about something like nigerian scale corruption (which I would guess wouldn't be as strong in Saudi Arabia, or Iran, or Kuwait but might be pretty bad in Iraq) and leading to more ethnic conflict which it will probably do to at least some extent.
Posted by: rtaycher1987 | Jan 1, 2007 12:14:16 AM
This seems like an appropriate place to ask this question and others may want to know the answer as well. Back before the Iraq war started I heard an interview on Fresh Air with a guy named Yousef Ibraham - or something close to that. He is an oil idustry watcher and publisher. He made a statement that there are 27 petro-states in the world and all but one of them are dictatorships. (a quick caveat here is that this is from memory and may be a bit incorrect in specifics) The one exception was Norway. Petro-states are those nations deriving most of their wealth from the single resource - oil. His prediction for Iraq was that we will handily enough overthrow Saddam, but will, in the end, have to accept another strongman government.
The question: does anyone know where to confirm the 27 petro-state dictatorships statement?
Personally, I don't see how democracy could ever spring up in a community or country with a single source of wealth. The sine qua non of both democracy and the free market is a spreading out of power. Just look at the coal towns here in america where the democracy meme was strong... no real freedom there, with a single source of wealth.
Posted by: Ed D. | Jan 1, 2007 10:26:42 AM
Apropos of not much, I recall fiction based on anthropology ( what can I say, I've read really odd stuff ) linking control of essentials - land, water, salt - as the basis of empire. That's as in monopoly control as the linchpin of the state's power. That's why corporate size was restricted for so long : the state didn't want to compete internally with itself. Democracy ? That aberration has always been both misrepresented and honoured more in the breach than the observance ( Makes a good line to suck in the gullible ).
Posted by: opit | Jan 1, 2007 10:42:52 PM
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