A stunning and revealing examination of oil's indelible impact on the countries that produce it and the people who possess it.
Every unhappy oil-producing nation is unhappy in its own way, but all are touched by the "resource curse"—the power of oil to exacerbate existing problems and create new ones. In Crude World, Peter Maass presents a vivid portrait of the troubled world oil has created. He takes us to Saudi Arabia, where officials deflect inquiries about the amount of petroleum remaining in the country's largest reservoir; to Equatorial Guinea, where two tennis courts grace an oil-rich dictator's estate but bandages and aspirin are a hospital's only supplies; and to Venezuela, where Hugo Chávez's campaign to redistribute oil wealth creates new economic and political crises.
Maass, a New York Times Magazine writer, also introduces us to Iraqi oilmen trying to rebuild their industry after the invasion of 2003, an American lawyer leading Ecuadorians in an unprecedented lawsuit against Chevron, a Russian oil billionaire imprisoned for his defiance of Vladimir Putin's leadership, and Nigerian villagers whose livelihoods are destroyed by the discovery of oil. Rebels, royalty, middlemen, environmentalists, indigenous activists, CEOs—their stories, deftly and sensitively presented, tell the larger story of oil in our time.
Crude World is a startling and essential account of the consequences of our addiction to oil.
From the Hardcover edition.
Reporter Peter Maass reveals an intricate web of social dilemmas afflicting nations around the world which can all be traced to a single substance--oil. In Saudi Arabia, officials are scrambling to keep up the pretense that they have plenty of oil left, though outside analysis predicts that they have passed their pinnacle of production. In Nigeria, the relatively recent oil-based economy has transformed a promising developing nation into a dysfunctional kleptocracy marked by rampant poverty, pollution, and corruption. In Russia, Vladimir Putin uses funds from ill-gotten oil to tighten his grip on the world's largest nation and widen an appalling gap between the prosperous few and the destitute many. As Maass shows, similar stories are happening in China, Venezuela, Equatorial Guinea, and Angola, which proves that, in countries marked by instability or a high population, a reliance on oil inevitably generates individual wealth at the cost of collective progress.
- Political Science, Business + Money Management
- International Relations / General, Industries / Energy Industries
- August 10, 2010
- August 10, 2010
- Peter Maass