Cursed by Oil

(New York Times) Thomas L. Friedman - Why are the Japanese making robots into humans, while Muslim suicide squads are making humans into robots? The answer has to do in part with the interaction between culture and natural resources. Countries such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and China have relatively few natural resources like oil. As a result, in the modern age, their first instinct is to look inward, assess their weaknesses, try to learn as much as they can from foreigners, and then beat them at their own game. The Arab world, alas, has been cursed with oil. For decades, too many Arab countries have opted to drill a sand dune for economic growth rather than drilling their own people - men and women - in order to tap their energy, creativity, intellect, and entrepreneurship. A week ago we were treated again to absurd Saudi allegations that "Zionists" were behind the latest bombing in Saudi Arabia. Someone ought to tell the Saudis that the only interest Israelis have in Saudi Arabia is flying over it to get to India and China - countries that actually trade and manufacture things other than hatred of "infidels."

2004-05-07 00:00:00

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