Wealth and Want
... because democracy alone is not enough to produce widely shared prosperity.
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Oil Revenue

To whom should the revenue from oil (and other natural resources) belong?

  • Should it be the property of the corporations that remove it from the earth (Exxon Mobil, BP, Citgo, Lukoil, etc.)
  • Should it be the property of the kings of the oil producing companies, or the royal families?
  • Should it be the property of whomever owns the land from which it is being removed (Jed Clampett, etc)?
  • Or should it belong to all the people who live in the countries which have oil?

Is the answer one thing when we're talking about oil under American soil, and something else when it is under the ocean, and yet a third answer when it is under someone else's soil?

Does the fact that Americans use 1/4 of the world's oil flow, despite being only 6% of the world's population change the answer to the question?

Are we all created equal? Or should we continue with laws and traditions that award the oil revenue to private parties? Should we reinforce governments overseas that treat oil revenue as the kings' or the corporations' private treasure? Is the "we" who are created equal only the American people, or does this equality with respect to natural resources extend to all the world's people?

What sort of royalties do the corporations owe the people of the countries where they are extracting oil or other natural resources? Should it be our affair if someone in a foreign country is permitted by local law or tradition to privatize that economic value? (Is the answer any different if we continue to permit individuals and corporations to privatize our land value and natural resources?) — See also motes and beams ...



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Wealth and Want
... because democracy alone hasn't yet led to a society in which all can prosper