Sunday, August 22, 2010

Five best books on the oil industry

Peter Maass is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and has reported from the Middle East, Asia, South America and Africa. He has written as well for The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, the Washington Post and Slate. Maass is the author of Love Thy Neighbor: A Story of War, which chronicled the Bosnian war and won prizes from the Overseas Press Club and the Los Angeles Times.

His latest book is Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil.

For the Wall Street Journal, he named a five best list of books on the oil industry. One title on the list:
The Bottom Billion
by Paul Collier

Oil is an amazing product of nature, though not always in ways we expect. Its discovery, for instance, can do more harm than good to the countries where it is found. In what is known as the resource curse, some countries become poorer, not richer, as the influx of oil revenues deadens other economic growth and encourages corruption. Oil riches also tend to fire the imagination of aspiring dictators. Paul Collier explores the paradox of oil's baleful effects in revelatory detail in "The Bottom Billion." Collier, an Oxford professor and former World Bank official who blessedly writes like neither an academic nor a banker, doesn't restrict his argument to oil—plentiful supplies of gold, iron and other natural resources all can have deleterious effects on national development. Collier proposes a rescue of countries where the "bottom billion" reside, calling on the Group of Eight industrialized nations to institute preferential trade policies, do a better job of policing corruption and even consider military intervention.
Read about the other books on the list.

The Page 99 Test: The Bottom Billion.

Learn more about Crude World and its author at Peter Maass' website and blog.

The Page 99 Test: Crude World.

--Marshal Zeringue