Monday, October 19, 2009

Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet - Part 3 of 3


In closure..
Global warming and climate change in general have implications for energy production, furthermore Klare asserts that "the greatest effect of global warming on the energy equation probably will be to force leaders to place greater emphasis on the development of alternative fuels"(60) . This is an extremely important responsibility for the government to undertake, but one that is possible, if a state government can leverage its resources and remain focused on the goal. Worldwide, there are environmentalists in every country advocating renewable sources of energy, but Klare admits that they have not received the attention that they deserve and so instead of government officials seriously pursuing them as energy alternatives, Klare predicts that they will most likely look to more familiar resources such as natural gas and nuclear power first. They must realize that although natural gas may seem to be an alternative, it is in declining supply and will only lead to another energy race a few decades into the future.

State governments have the power to rally their people behind a cause and the financial resources to jump start concerted efforts to solving a problem. Klare compares the current race to find and secure energy reserves to the arms race of the Soviet Union era, which brings one to the realization that the only way to finitely end the current energy race and prevent nationally debilitating ones in the future, is to find and switch to renewable sources of energy. Resource nationalism is currently focused on oil, gas, and coal, which are not renewable sources of energy. Meanwhile, land, which is inarguably the most important natural resource, is ignored, as the population in some countries reaches inordinate levels. The appropriation of land seems to escape the minds of all, and it poses the question as to whether governments will be willing to focus on the management of resources which do not translate into immense profit as oil and gas do.

Presumably, the primary reason for resource nationalism over privatized resource management is the belief that state governments will manage resources in accordance with democratically arrived- at state interests. Government budgets should allot for research to find methods for producing ethanol; methods which do not require the corn to be planted on farmland, which as Klare points out could be used for farming basic food crops (61). The officials in charge should earn the trust of their citizens by making the management process transparent, allowing the people to speak up when they do not favor certain decisions. Most importantly, resource nationalists must find somewhat equitable methods of sharing national wealth with citizens, whether it is via the availability of merit-based employment at all levels of resource management, or investment in the infrastructure of a country. Resource nationalism could lift the curse from nations that find themselves in the resource curse, but it could also detain them there.

I hope you have enjoyed my review of Michael Klare's Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet and that my review has helped you to further understand the geopolitical implications of resource use in the world today.

To find my other reviews of books such as Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat ,check on the history links to the left.

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