Monday, January 11, 2016

Review: Blood Oil

Blood Oil: Tyrants, Violence, and the Rules That Run the World

Blood Oil
Leif Wenar

Blood Oil seeks to make the reader aware of how purchasing numerous items that we consume without much thought, be they clothes, electronics or food, which were produced with petroleum and its by-products, are potentially propping up authoritarian rulers who have misappropriated revenues by selling their countries resources without any oversight.

Wenar argues that natural resources of a country rightly belong to the sovereign people and not to an individual dictator, authoritarian leader, middle eastern monarch or a militia group. As we cannot know the source of the resources (oil, gas, cobalt, diamonds etc.) which go into the products we consume, our purchases could be funding, enriching and helping these rulers who oppress their own people. We therefore, need to think more about our actions and our responsibility to see that we can be part of a solution, rather than the problem.

Wenar offers solutions in the form of Clean Trade policies, which aim to make those authoritarian leaders with resources more accountable to their own people and in the longer run create a more just society where those people are the ultimate beneficiaries of their resources.

I found this to be an engaging and interesting work. It's a long book and one that should really be studied rather than simply read, as it covers a lot of ground. I think it will be of interest to anyone interested in international affairs and global issues.

I would like to thank Oxford University Press and Goodreads Giveaway program for allowing me to read this book in exchange for a review. I should also note that as a King's College, London graduate, I was pleased to see that the author currently holds the Chair of Philosophy and Law at King's.

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