Saturday, 13 October 2007

Let's try to be clever

There was an interesting discussion on another blog, Someone argued that the struggle of influence among Nations for oil and energy resources, "quite inevitably" leads to a dictature in the oil-rich but less-educated countries in favour of the more industrialised and powerful ones. In the case of interest to us, he argued that it is the interest of India and China, the two largest clients of the burmese oil and gaz, to maintain a stupid dictature in Burma so to have easier deals and cheaper bargains.

I agree almost 98% with him (I reserve the missing 2% just for being myself - kidding). Indeed there are many examples even in other continents : Africa, Latin America.... and many companies playing that game (armements, oil, diamonds...). However not all the countries rich in resources are under a dictature. For example Canada is the 7th world oil producer and it seems to be a democracy. Kuwait with its 3 M inhabitants and oil resources is prosperous while Congo-Brazzaville has the same 3 M population and oil resources but the people are living in very poor conditions. Brazil and Nigeria have the same oil production but the former seems today in a much better position than the latter.

Do you agree on these examples ? Have you other constrasting cases ? Maybe by analysing the larger picture we can understand why in some countries the struggle for oil brings to dictature and in others not.

I have found an interesting analysis (Ferraro, 2003) of the perpetual dichotomy between national realism (making money for self without respect for the others) and idealism (non-negotiable demands of human dignity such as speech freedom, equal justice, etc.) which concludes like this :

"The clearest example of a certain continuity between realism and idealism was the Marshall Plan in 1947. The US granted a considerable amount of money to rebuild the European economy after World War II. That the US had a strong self-interest in doing so is incontestable-the US needed a vibrant European economy for its own economic self-interest. Moreover, the US also believed that European recovery was the best defense against possible Soviet expansion into Western Europe. At the same time, however, the people of Western Europe benefited from the policy. It is not impossible to satisfy the national interest while simultaneously satisfying the interests of others."

Can China and the other regional superpowers understand that ?

No comments: