The Oil-Autocracy Link and Drill, Drill, Drill
The article refers to this 2009 research paper "Oil and Democracy Revisited" by UCLA professor Michael Ross whose findings include:
a) "Oil wealth strongly inhibits democratic transitions in authoritarian states, and b) Oil’s anti-democratic effects seem to vary over time and across regions: they have grown stronger over time, but do not hold in Latin America.
The mechanism that seems to account for the oil-autocracy link is the ‘rentier effect’ – the combination of low taxes and high government spending that seems to dampen support for democratic transitions."
MP: The oil-autocracy link is one of the indirect costs of our "dependence on foreign oil" because we provide support to authoritarian states and inhibit the growth of democracy in those countries. This is one more reason to drill, drill, drill domestically, in places like the Eagle Ford Field in Texas, which is featured in yesterday's NY Times:
"The Texas field, known as the Eagle Ford, is just one of about 20 new onshore oil fields that advocates say could collectively increase the nation’s oil output by 25 percent within a decade — without the dangers of drilling in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico or the delicate coastal areas off Alaska. More than a dozen companies plan to drill up to 3,000 wells there in the next 12 months."
MP: It's all made possible by the technological "miracle" of "fracking," which is not without its critics and controversy, here's more from the NY Times:
The technique, also called fracking, has been widely used in the last decade to unlock vast new fields of natural gas, but drillers only recently figured out how to release large quantities of oil, which flows less easily through rock than gas. As evidence mounts that fracking poses risks to water supplies, the federal government and regulators in various states are considering tighter regulations on it."
“This is very big and it’s coming on very fast,” said Daniel Yergin, the chairman of IHS CERA. “This is like adding another Venezuela or Kuwait by 2020, except these tight oil fields are in the United States.”