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Monday, August 18, 2008

Justin Raimondo Puts His Finger On Something

This has been percolating for a while in my head, but Justin pins it down:

...the Russophobes have developed an entirely novel theory of political economy, which is an outgrowth of the environmentalist fad and the extreme nationalism of our ruling elites. It is the absurd idea that any and all countries that depend on oil to generate the bulk of their national income are unnatural, inherently flawed, and even intrinsically aggressive and a threat to the security of the West. Oil-producing states are inclined, by their very nature, to authoritarianism, they argue, although somehow I don't think they mean the state of Texas.

The full column is here, and HT2RW.

BTW, in reference to my last LRC article on Russia and Georgia, I got two complimentary emails (meaning they gave compliments, not that they were free) and about 8 accusing me of hating Russia and serving the Elders of Zion. The problem was my line, "I have no doubt that Putin is an evil man who would conquer the world if he had the ability." I would probably say the same of 75% of the mayors in the US. You have to be seriously tightly wound to read my article and come away thinking it was a hit piece on Russia.

5 comments:

  1. Bob, thanks for linking to Raimondo's piece; it's excellent.

    However, surely you can see that he is over-stating his case, at least with respect to what is sometimes known as the "oil curse" or "resource curse"? Clearly there are a number of countries where development (based on rule of law and respect for property) has been skewed because elites have turned the state into a kleptocracy based on revenues from oil (ME, Nigeria), minerals (Africa and SA) and timber (Marcos, Indonesia)? I think that some of the criticism of Russia on these grounds is fair - don't we see the same happening in Russia, as Putin has been nationalizing the oil cos and all foreign JVs?

    Of course the irony is that under the Republicans, the US has taken a sharp turn onto kleptocracy itself - a kleptocracy that the Russophobes attempt to continue by stirring up fear of Russia.

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  2. TT,

    Can you clarify about the US? E.g. are you saying the Repubs are trying to sell off (presumably at below-market rates) mineral deposits to Exxon etc.?

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  3. Bob, in the case of the US I was talking more generally about the abuse of government (and our civic discourse) by Republicans to line the pockets of enormous class of rent-seekers in the defense and intelligence industries, and less about energy/federal resources.

    Obviously the latter is still a problem - i.e., Cheney's secret meetings, a wide expansion of gas leasing in the front range (prompting a big revolt among local ranchers and hunters), a lack of funding to audit and collect underpaid O&G royalties, and the role of coal and Exxon in protecting the incompletely homesteaded "rights" to emit GHGs free, while shifting costs to others.

    Oil and gas leasing royalties are somewhat negotiable, but there are statutory floors that limit giveaways (but Republican administrators have been spanked by the courts for leasing out Indian lands too cheaply). Republicans have never bothered to try to try to fix the ridiculously cheap giveaways on other minerals on federal lands.

    There's lots of problems with federal land management generally, which is why I advocate using ANWR to start a direct pass-through of royalty payments to citizens. There's nothing like giving citizens (and administrators) a direct stake to incentivize them to monitor what bureaucrats do.

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  4. You have "no doubt" that Putin is evil?

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