How OPEC hurts the world's poor

While many blame multi—national corporations for the ills of the world — despite evidence that foreign trade is the single most important factor in economic growth  for less—developed nations — they always neglect to mention the role in keeping so many nations mired in poverty played by a small handful of nations: the OPEC nations.

Presumably, these oil—producing nations remain immune from criticism because many of them are darlings of the left, as former "Third World" nations or former colonies or nations populated by favored minorities. These OPEC nations, with their control of the world's energy supplies, have caused grievous harm to their brethren in the "Third World," yet so few point that fact out.

Kudos for Senator Richard Lugar for his recent op—ed in the International Herald Tribune, which points out the harm suffered by poor people of the world through the actions of OPEC . 

He notes that spiraling energy prices are

"devastating to developing countries, blunting the effectiveness of foreign aid and the push for democracy. This is more than a humanitarian issue—it is also a global security concern that demands our attention."

He writes that a $10 jump in the world price of a gallon of crude hurts the poorest countries three times as hard as it does the developed nations. In a nutshell and most poignantly he concludes that:

Money that poor—country consumers could spend putting their children in school, taking them to a clinic or investing in a business is instead lost to higher prices for cooking, heating, electricity and transportation. In nations that subsidize fuel prices, government spending gets diverted from social needs, while in all countries soaring energy costs stoke inflation and worsen trade imbalances.

"Yet, the nations most damaged by OPEC nations are the ones that most often join them in condemning the West in international forums. They march in lockstep— resolution after resolution, criticism after criticism, condemnation after condemnation—when attacks against America and capitalism are voiced. Nike and McDonalds are not the problem; Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela are. Time to stop slicing off the nose to spite the face and realize who are truly hurting your nations' people."

Ed Lasky   6 11 06

While many blame multi—national corporations for the ills of the world — despite evidence that foreign trade is the single most important factor in economic growth  for less—developed nations — they always neglect to mention the role in keeping so many nations mired in poverty played by a small handful of nations: the OPEC nations.

Presumably, these oil—producing nations remain immune from criticism because many of them are darlings of the left, as former "Third World" nations or former colonies or nations populated by favored minorities. These OPEC nations, with their control of the world's energy supplies, have caused grievous harm to their brethren in the "Third World," yet so few point that fact out.

Kudos for Senator Richard Lugar for his recent op—ed in the International Herald Tribune, which points out the harm suffered by poor people of the world through the actions of OPEC . 

He notes that spiraling energy prices are

"devastating to developing countries, blunting the effectiveness of foreign aid and the push for democracy. This is more than a humanitarian issue—it is also a global security concern that demands our attention."

He writes that a $10 jump in the world price of a gallon of crude hurts the poorest countries three times as hard as it does the developed nations. In a nutshell and most poignantly he concludes that:

Money that poor—country consumers could spend putting their children in school, taking them to a clinic or investing in a business is instead lost to higher prices for cooking, heating, electricity and transportation. In nations that subsidize fuel prices, government spending gets diverted from social needs, while in all countries soaring energy costs stoke inflation and worsen trade imbalances.

"Yet, the nations most damaged by OPEC nations are the ones that most often join them in condemning the West in international forums. They march in lockstep— resolution after resolution, criticism after criticism, condemnation after condemnation—when attacks against America and capitalism are voiced. Nike and McDonalds are not the problem; Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela are. Time to stop slicing off the nose to spite the face and realize who are truly hurting your nations' people."

Ed Lasky   6 11 06