Oil Curse Essay Introduction
Over the years, people who favor radical changes in the energy sector have argued that oil is a course to humanity. This is, even though it has played a critical role in the industrial revolution by fueling the internal combustion engine and providing other useful petroleum products. It is important to note that oil is one of the most highly demanded natural resources due to its direct impact on the productivity of a given economy by affecting the production and distribution of commodities.
This resource is extracted from petroleum reservoirs found underground deep beneath the earth’s surface under a lot of pressure. The United States, the world’s leading superpower, is a great producer and consumer of oil, with almost seven billion barrels being produced annually.
Despite the short-term benefits to economic development, oil has negative consequences, such as the stability of poor oil producers and the environment. After carefully analyzed the politics surrounding these natural resources, it has been made clear that oil is both a curse and blessing to both the present and future generations of humanity.
Negative Externalities of Crude Oil
One illustration that oils are not a curse involves that their consequences on the natural environment can be offset. The most effective way of offsetting the negative externalities of crude oil is the imposition of the carbon tax. A carbon tax is a tax levied on carbon emissions required to produce a commodity whose aim involves offsetting the hidden social costs of carbon emissions.
The levy also ensures social efficiency in that the cost of using fossil fuels is not left to be paid by future generations (Peters, 2017). Additionally, carbon tax exposes humanity to the importance of making a switch towards green energy. Therefore, it can be argued that the negative effects of consuming oil in the economy are mitigated through a carbon tax. The responsibility to take care of air pollution due to fossil fuels is also removed from the private sector and passed to the government.
Environmental Oil Curse
Thus even though oil can become a curse on our environment, this can be mitigated by ensuring that economies pay for it. This has been proposed and well implemented in some world-leading economies like Canada and the United Kingdom (Motrøen, 2018). The collected revenue is invested in technology that would negate the negative effect of the resource on our natural environment, like carbon extraction technology.
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Over the years, oil scarcity as a natural resource has significantly affected global politics, especially in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This has been one of the most argued points that oil may indeed be a curse to the peace and prosperity of our civilization. This may no longer be the case because the resource is no longer scarce, especially with the rapid development in extraction technology.
The ease of oil production has led to exploring or more oil reservoirs in regions other than the Middle East, with more of the resource being explored within the United States and other countries like Kenya in East Africa (Peters, 2017). Therefore, governments worldwide shall no longer exploit their global influence to redirect the resource to their respective economies.
Global Peace Oil Curse
With this, the negative impact of the resource on global peace will have been offset. The landscape has changed so that the largest oil producers are also the largest consumers of the resource. The reduction of the impact of the resource on economies around the world is evident in the reduction of its price.
Oil could be a curse because it has been a natural resource found in underdeveloped countries over the years. The political instability in the Middle East may have proven that oil and the prosperity of a nation are mutually exclusive. Despite the country having a huge population, a source of labor, and natural resources, they lack the technology to benefit from the natural resourcefully.
The political instability has compromise democracy, effective public institutions, and the transparency on the effective distribution of resources benefiting the people living closes to the resource. Technology has, however, taken the place of oil in the role in the development of the economy (Wang et al., 2018). This resource is more available in well-developed nations, and its benefits tend to trickle down indiscriminately to the less developed countries.
This has eased the need for the developed world to need to influence the less developed nations directly. Thus oil is not as much of a curse in less developed countries, which may have an abundance of natural resources and, more specifically, fossil fuels—the experience in some nations like Botswana, Norway, and Chile and the delivery of public services. Africa as a continent is more likely to benefit from its natural resources.
Technological advancement has stopped oil from being a blessing in any economy with easy access to the resource in abundance. Technology has taken the place of oil as a blessing it has been over the centuries. Technological advancement is also expected to facilitate the replacement of fossil fuels with green energy. The negative consequences of using oil make it an inconvenience that needs to be replaced with green energy (Midtgarden, 2019).
Once the replacement is fully implemented, the negative effects of the resource on our immediate environment can be reversed through carbon extraction from the ecosystem. Technological advancement guarantees that humanity will eventually reverse the adverse effects of fossil fuel in improving humanity’s quality of life. It will have been a course if its impact on the ecosystem is irreversible (Rønneberg, 2017). Therefore oil is not a blessing; and instead, technology is. A cost-benefit analysis on fossil fuel indicated that the resource has private benefits in the short run but a high social cost in the long run.
Oil Curse Essay Conclusion
In conclusion, this oil curse essay has confirmed that oil is both a curse and blessing. This is after considering the private benefits and costs as well as the social benefits and costs. I realized if the social costs cannot be offset by ensuring that the externalities are well paid for through taxes like the carbon tax. Additionally, technological advancement makes our civilization more energy-efficient, thus placing less outside pressure on less developed countries that produce oil.
Midtgarden, T. (2019). Dewey’s conceptualization of the public as polity contextualized: the struggle for democratic control over natural resources and technology. Contemporary Pragmatism, 16(1), 104-131.
Motrøen, M. (2018). Oil income–blessing or curse?. In The Politics of Oil. Edward Elgar Publishing.
Peters, S. (2017). Beyond curse and blessing: Rentier society in Venezuela. In Contested Extractivism, Society and the State (pp. 45-68). Palgrave Macmillan, London.
Rønneberg, T. (2017). Cost-Benefit Analysis of Maintenance Measures for Power Transformers (Master’s thesis, NTNU).
Wang, S., Tao, F., & Shi, Y. (2018). Optimization of inventory routing problem in refined oil logistics with the perspective of carbon tax. Energies, 11(6), 1437.