Monday, August 10, 2009

Following Hillary: Today: Angola.....Texas Tea, Black Gold...but what happens to the hillbillies?

Hillary Clinton has finished up in Angola and is moving on to Nigeria. Do I have that right? Can't say I follow her every move. I just assumed that because of the oil connection. Obama to Ghana=good political move, up with democracy; Hillary to Angola=oil, Hillary to Nigeria=oil. How do they say it? Oh....."enormous economic opportunity"....for whom?

First thing you know old Jeb's a millionaire. Kinfolk say Jeb move away from there. Its the standard problem of any oil-producing nation a lot of money from the crude but how to distribute it? And lets face it, all we want is for the oil to keep coming and we will do some pretty nasty things to keep it so. We are Mr. Drysdale, after all...just keep the hillbillies happy..or maybe, Drysdale's asshole son Milby who tries to screw them out of every last cent while Papa runs after him trying to undo the damage but allowing it to occur from the get go. Guess that makes Hillary the Miss Hathaway in this piece but somehow I just don't see it.

Funny how those pop cultural image resonate. Oil will transform Africa pulling them out of their hillbilly status. But, of course, the story is with those hillbillies back home. The Clampetts "get out" but those back home in unidentified hillbillyland, presumably remain in poverty and the gap widens.

There is a nice summary of the probles in a very simple, very readable book on oil in Africa, entitled Untapped: The Scramble for Africa's Oil, written by John Ghazvinian. The book was released in 2007 and a Time article from that time sums up the issues for those of who don't have the time to become economists and Africanists. I read Ghazvinian's book when it came out and although it wasn't anything new to me, I thought it was a good overview.

For those of you who want more depth Africa Focus has a great new Bulletin just posted today on the situation in Angola; wealth flowing in to the hands of a few and the masses of its population not only marginalized but also displaced to serve the needs of Texas Tea. You can find the beginning of the Africa Focus Angola piece here. Enjoy. And share with your students.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

hmm. well, what actually happens is the hillbillies don't own the subsurface rights to the land, they get kicked off and are forced to live on the margins of their former property drinking poisoned water...

bathmate said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.