An oil strike could well be the worst thing that can happen to a country. By giving the regime an independent income stream, it breaks the link between taxation and representation. States that do not depend on a single natural resource can develop free economies, in which property rights are adjudicated by independent courts. But states where there is one overwhelming source of wealth tend to become oligarchies, whose leaders squabble to get their hands on fabulous riches.
So, a piece of advice to the Scottish Nationalist Party leader, Alex Salmond, who is about to publish his plans for an independence referendum. Stop droning on about the £200 billion of oil revenue that you think a separate Scottish state should have received. Scotland has suffered enough from subventions.
Scots, like other Britons, are a restless, mercantile, inventive people. They rose by relying on themselves, not by trusting their leaders to sign back-room deals with multinationals.
Friday, 3 August 2007
Very nicely put.
An excellent piece by Daniel Hannan in The Telegraph: