always all about the oil…

…sigh. There are more forums than ever before for intelligent high-profile debate but quantity doesn’t beget quality. Comment-is-free here (supposedly) […]

…sigh.

There are more forums than ever before for intelligent high-profile debate but quantity doesn’t beget quality. Comment-is-free here (supposedly) or less tribal (but oddly moderated) here, for example. When it comes to the root cause of all the world’s troubles oil, and the West’s supposed rapacity for it provide fuel for glib one-liners and an uncommon ground for lefty trolls and the ridiculous and blinkered ‘newly literate’. ‘Another western misadventure in the name of oil’, goes the generic comment, invariably as a tangential riposte to a piece that had clearly neither been read beyond the headline nor fired a single neural synapse in the correspondent. If you can call him that. There are those commentators who liberally excise Wikipedia and post out-of-context statistics as evidence to show how NATO is presently bombing the bottom out of the economy of a prosperous, well-run sovereign state. ‘Libya is free of debt’, asserted another comment before going on to blindly blame the West for a strategic policy of militarily forcing Libya into hock with IMF bailouts. It may well have no debt but if after three years of front-pages plastered with quantitative easing and collateral debt obligations the reader still can’t grasp the basics of the effects of an embargo on supply and demand then you have to conclude he’s never going to get it. Not knowing o-level economics is one thing, failing to recognise the disconnect between Libya’s high (for Africa) GDP on the one hand and its lack of infrastructure and considerable visible poverty on the other is clear evidence of reader bigotry. The impulsive mindlessness of the original comment is scaled up with the 26 ‘likes’ who lapped up the puerile soundbite. That Gaddafi and his thugs control 90% of the wealth points to who’s siphoning off the oil. And it surely isn’t anyone in Europe. Libya’s infrastructure will need fixing, it’s people will need jobs and this is not going to be achieved in the short term without taking on some debt. High-grade sovereign oil-backed debt, not some subprime magic beans that the correspondent seems unable to differentiate. And I must assume the oil commentators only ever walk and cycle. Probably not a reasonable conclusion.

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