March 17, 2008

Book Review - Oil, Profits, and Peace

Oil, Profits, and Peace: Does Business have a Role in Peacemaking?
Jill Shankleman
HD 9560.5 .S438 2006

The discovery of oil in developing countries presents an interesting quandry. Because of its extensive use around the world, oil has the potential to bring a tremendous influx of wealth into these countries. It is, however, capital intensive to produce, requiring an up-front investment before any oil profits can be realized. Developing countries are often politically unstable and rife with corruption. Not only does this make it difficult for the nation to do business with international oil companies, but it also suggests that profits realized may be diverted to other things, never being used for development programs and not reaching the population. This book focuses on these conflicts. It examines the links between oil and gas resources and political conflict within the producing countries. It considers the role of corporations in the production process, including their social responsibilities and the need to look beyond short term profits to the wider role that natural resources plan in national politics, economic well-being, and international peace. This is a thought-provoking and very timely study.