Tell us what it's going to take for you to return to Guyana.

Friday, November 02, 2007

This author read my mind about avoiding the resource curse.

Oil, corruption and the resource curse
Nicholas Shaxson

International Affairs 83: 6, 2007
© 2007 The Author(s). Journal Compilation © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/The Royal Institute of International Affairs

"Changing the transparency relationships will help, but will not be the decisive
step. That will come only with a new relationship based on revenue and taxation .
If citizens had the oil money in the first place, and the state had to bargain with
them to get its cut, it seems likely that would change the game entirely."

Distributing oil revenues directly: an answer?

Another systemic approach to the resource curse has been advocated: distributing
oil revenues directly, and equally, to all citizens in a producer country, then taxing
them directly on their income. In Alaska and Alberta direct distribution of oil
revenues is popular and successful. Could it possibly work in Africa? This approach
has been rejected by many policy analysts—by some, without due consideration,
even simply on the basis that the idea is just too outlandish. This proposal should be
reconsidered, for nearly all the objections are misguided.

(....except for....)

The politicians would never accept it.

This is indeed a serious objection, and probably
the toughest one. One answer is that the very fact that it would be hard to
implement is a good reason to try even harder to push for these changes, and
to resist the hasty dismissals of such schemes that have been widely proffered
in the academic literature. Another answer is that many enlightened politicians
who want to act in their countries' interests are currently dissuaded from doing
so because of the systemic dynamics militating against pan-national, rather than
factional, policy-making. This proposal would give them an opportunity to
change the equation. Indeed, proposing such a scheme might be a powerful
rallying cry for a politician seeking election.

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