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  • Are developing countries with abundant oil resources cursed? Are  their societal, economic, and political structures doomed to be  malformed and detrimental to their own populations?

As Bradshaw M. (2014: pg. 174) stated, it is the greed of the elite  and not so much a curse that hinders the resource rich developing  countries. The political structuring of these countries is designed to  dictate societal well-being and separate their populations via monetary  status. As Taylor, A. (2011) indicates, it is the same type of  systematic monetary upheaval example that caused the 2011 Occupy  Wall-Street (OWS) effort to dissolve financial inequality in the United  States. Bradshaw M. (2014: pg. 174) goes on to explain that the same  systemic behaviors initiated in Oil Rich Nations (ORN’s) serve as  vehicles to promote inequality and do not promote equal monetary  disbursement throughout their societies. Relative to the U.S. one  percent, only a chosen few who advocate capitalistic advancement in  these ORN’s are rewarded in what is politically referred to as “rents”.

Patrick, S (2012) explains that ORN’s like Saudi Arabia can be  referred to as the Poster Child or Blue-Print for exactly what takes  place in countries that are blessed with resources yet operate as the  furthest thing from a democracy. That the authoritarianism which rules  the country has intentionally separated those of royal stature from the  average citizen and left breadcrumbs to be divided amongst them. Any  political aspirations of the average joe designed to undue the status  quo is quickly met with fierce and decisive rebuke by royal regimes who  thrive on income inequality. Yes, this type of treatment of those  unfortunate enough to fall prey to the rich can be referred to as a  curse, however, a curse can work both ways. The rich can also be cursed  with having nothing at all except monetary comfort and being condemned  to eternal isolation with only money to keep them company. The  difference being, the rich get to choose their curse.

  • What role do foreign actors play, if any, in these processes (e.g.,  states like Russia, the US, and Britain, and oil majors like ExxonMobil,  Royal Dutch Shell or China’s CNOOC)?

Because of the oil vested interest that the U.S., Russia and Britain  has in the Exxon Mobil’s of the world, they play specific roles in  driving the economies of oil rich countries. According to Patrick, S.  (2012), they willingly advocate for “Dutch Disease” type outcomes in  many of these Nations. By immediately establishing oil manufacturing  infrastructure, they not only spearhead efforts to suppress local  economic growth but also reinforce political policy that stifles  competitive resources. As is the norm in most economies that lack  diversification, money is a great influence when it comes to political  reform. It appears the “resource curse” and the impact that foreign  actors and oil majors have on ORN’s is best summarized by what is  referred to as a “staple trap” model. This model explains why the  economies of ORN’s struggle to realize true economic growth and why they  are subject to three adverse consequences: 1) economic diversity only  occurs initially in other commodities, 2) it retards urbanization and 3)  results in surplus rural labor, Auty (2001:83).


Bradshaw, M. (2014). Global energy dilemmas: Energy security, globalization, and climate change. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

Occupy Wall Street (Links to an external site.)

Why Natural Resources Are a Curse on Developing Countries and How to Fix It

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