September 21st, 2006

ozarque figure

Uneasily agreeing with Steve Forbes...

Any time I find myself in agreement with Steve Forbes [you remember Steve Forbes], I'm very nervous. My immediate assumption is that I'm overlooking something major or I wouldn't be agreeing with Steve Forbes.

Forbes has a piece on page 21 of the October 2, 2006 issue of Forbes titled "Saving Iraq." In which he says this:

"For starters, U.S. officials should urgently push the Iraqi government to enact something similar to the so-called Alaska model for Iraq's oil riches. Control of the country's oil... is an enormous bone of contention between the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites. Instituting an Alaska model would immediately ameliorate lethal tensions over control.

"About a quarter of Alaska's oil and gas royalties goes into an entity called the Permanent Fund, the assets of which are managed by professionals who invest it in stocks, bonds and the like. About half the revenue stream is distributed to the state's citizens each year; the other half is reinvested. Last year, each man, woman and child residing in Alaska received a check for $845.76 from the fund.

"Imagine what such a fund would do for Iraq, where a typical worker is lucky to earn $150 a month."

It would mean, Forbes goes on to say, that the Iraqis would have "a stake in ensuring that oil production increases." It would pull the rug out from under attacks on the oil infrastructure. It would undermine the insurgents. Things would, he says, get better in Iraq.

What am I missing here?

This sounds so eminently logical and sensible. Not easy to do, necessarily -- consider the history of the U.S. government's administration of the royalties for valuable substances that are owed to the Native Americans who own the land that shelters those valuable substances. But I keep reading it, and it keeps on sounding like something that ought to be done first thing tomorrow morning, even if it's done badly.

Over to you....
ozarque figure

Personal note....

I don't want you to think that I've lost interest in the two current discussions in this journal -- I haven't. I'm still very interested in the question of whether science fiction poetry has a unifying metaphor comparable to the Old West metaphor in Cowboy Poetry. I'm still very interested in the difference between the "Strict Father/Nurturant Parent" metaphors and the "Inherited Obligation/Negotiated Commitment" metaphors and all their related issues and implications. I'm still very interested in the questions you've raised in your comments on these two discussions. I'll be getting back to them.

I'm just up to my eyebrows in work and having trouble getting loose.

In unseemly haste...