onsdag, december 13, 2006

Kicking the Oil Habit

En udemærket artikel.

Måske bedste afsnit:

Moreover, the main oil exporters are unwilling to subordinate their investment policies to market requirements. Saudi Arabia seeks to run its oil production independently, while Iran scares off potential investors with bureaucratic hurdles and corruption. Iraq suffers from a lack of security, and foreign investors in Russia are thwarted at every turn. Those four states contain half of the world’s proven oil reserves and two-thirds of what could potentially be exported. All this, not production costs, lies at the heart of high oil prices and the scramble for oil contracts in Central Asia and Africa.

To believe that high oil prices are good because they serve the environment ignores some basic facts of international politics. First, in many of the poorest African and Asian countries, oil imports account for a significantly higher share of national expenditure than in industrialized countries, which means that economic growth and social development are being imperiled, while new debt crises loom.

Rents from oil production impede reforms in the major exporting countries. Thanks to their lubricated financial strength, regimes like those in Venezuela and Iran increasingly feel unconstrained by international rules. Latecomers among consuming nations, such as China, mimic the former habits of the industrialized West, with their long record of overlooking human rights abuses in order to secure lucrative deals with authoritarian, oil-rich regimes.