Every time we queue up for petrol we empower the world’s most coercive, oppressive and dangerous regimes. But what can we do about it?
‘It’s all about oil’ may be the clarion cry of undergraduates worldwide, but the reality is deeper and darker than any half-baked conspiracy theories. ISIS, al Qaeda, Putin, Assad, Saddam, Gaddafi, the Ayatollahs - most of our biggest threats and crises come from oil states.
And this is not just our greedy corporations and governments. One of our own laws, left over from the days of the slave trade, is forcing us to send our money to dangerous dictators and violent extremists whenever we go to the shopping mall. Not to mention the catastrophic climate change we cause by withdrawing and burning non-renewable fossil fuels. And don’t natural resources belong to the people in any case?
Chair of Philosophy and Law at KCL, Leif Wenar’s work on petrocrats and ethics has been lauded by Steven Pinker, Michael Ignatieff, Angus Deaton and Rowan Williams, who called his book a ‘a serious and urgent appeal to the conscience of the west’. He visits the RSA to explain why conditions are now exactly right for us to abolish blood oil—and so to create a more secure, peaceful and just future for all.