As you fill your gas tank, you probably don’t think much about the oil industry — where it came from, where your money goes, who it supports, and what it means in the global economy — because all you care about is having enough fuel to get to work, get home, take the kids where they need to be, etc. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially since you can’t do much about the petro-world.
But listen to what Peter Maass has to say about it. Today on KTRS/St. Louis, we talked about his book, “Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil,” which has just been released in paperback. I was surprised to find out that, of the huge amount of money that flows into oil-rich nations, very little of it reaches the people who live there. Even in Saudi Arabia, where the royal family is swimming in the black goo, unemployment is at 30% because the oil industry doesn’t create a lot of jobs for locals. Far too often, US foreign policy props up dictators and other rulers in these nations with virtually no regard for their human rights violations — a problem exacerbated by the role of China, a nation not exactly on Amnesty International’s friends list, where the growing economy will demand more and more oil.