Who Hijacked Our Country

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Natural Resources vs. Resourceful People

It’s official:  There really IS an inverse ratio between a country’s abundance of natural resources (more specifically, that country’s dependence on drilling/mining every last drop of those resources) and the inventiveness, resourcefulness of the people in that country.

At one end of the spectrum you have Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Finland, South Korea, Israel and Hong Kong.  Each one of these countries has few (in some cases, zero) natural resources, a highly educated population and a booming economy.

Qatar and Kazakhstan are at the opposite end of the spectrum:  tons of oil and pisspoor test scores.

As Thomas Friedman says about Taiwan:

“Rather than digging in the ground and mining whatever comes up, Taiwan has mined its 23 million people, their talent, energy and intelligence.”

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has completed a study of sixty-five countries.  They’ve found a solid correlation between each country’s  15-year-old students’ test scores in math, science and reading comprehension — and the percentage of that country’s G.D.P. that comes from natural resource extraction.

According to Andreas Schleicher, who oversaw the study, the results indicate:

“…a significant negative relationship between the money countries extract from natural resources and the knowledge and skills of their high school population…Today’s learning outcomes at school are a powerful predictor for the wealth and social outcomes that countries will reap in the long run.”


“In countries with little in the way of natural resources — Finland, Singapore or Japan — education has strong outcomes and a high status, at least in part because the public at large has understood that the country must live by its knowledge and skills and that these depend on the quality of education. ... Every parent and child in these countries knows that skills will decide the life chances of the child and nothing else is going to rescue them, so they build a whole culture and education system around it.”

Well, let’s be grateful that at least some of the world is on the right track.

Meanwhile, here we are, closing libraries and cutting education funding down to the marrow.

Ready now:  one, two, three…Dril Heer Dril Now.

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Blogger Lisa said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 13, 2012 at 2:40 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

well once we centralize 300 million people then the government can keep a better eye on all of us to make sure education is priority.
Those countries also have strong family values,in other words they are usually 2 parent households who's kids aren't Face booking,banging, and gang-banging all day.
I guess it's easier to mine 23 million people than it is to mine 300 million especially when there are so many diverse areas with different challenges.
Or we can just tax all those greedy rich people so we can not only take care of our huge population's health care, we can give them even more free stuff like college,contraception,food stamps and housing then everyone will be taken care of.
Yes we need to make tough choices,subsidize education or subsidize everything else.
The problem is we give so much away that politically no one is willing to give it up.
Although I will give Gov Cuomo(D) kudos for standing up to the public unions and six figure school administrators with six figure pensions in NY and finally telling the truth that we have finally run out of other people's money.

March 13, 2012 at 2:41 PM  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

Yeah, drill here drill now so the oil companies can sell it overseas to the highest bidder.

March 13, 2012 at 5:36 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 13, 2012 at 5:37 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Lisa: Etc., etc.

J.: Yes! Heck with the rest of us, as long as the oil companies to take advantage of the system and make themselves rich beyond our imaginations, it's OK.

Heck, let's just nationalize our energy resources. It is such a simple solution that we can be guaranteed it will never happen.

Let's nationalize it

March 13, 2012 at 5:40 PM  
Anonymous Jolly Roger said...

Jesus, Lisa, would you PLEASE do what a good broad does, and stay in your kitchen? I don't know how much more stupid I can take.

March 13, 2012 at 6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finland is no surprise. All of Scandinavia takes care of it's citizens, invest in it's families and family values and has a highly valued Educational system (I'm told you have to learn 6 languages to graduate).

Yet they are the favorite whipping boy of Conservatives as Evil Socialist Countries that suck the free will out of it's citizens, telling us we are better off being in a "free enterprise" country like the US where we would have a better chance of being rich.

In reality only .001% of us really are, and they get an Education the closet thing a common guy gets in Finland.


March 13, 2012 at 8:38 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Good comment, Erik!

The Scandinavian countries are not only some of the most non-religious countries in the world, but also, according to some studies, are among the happiest of nations. A coincidence? I think not.

Keeping the religion out of their policy-making is probably a boon to their educational systems and to their social safety nets. It has apparently helped them look after each other and learn to share among themselves.

March 13, 2012 at 9:10 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

That study should be of special interest to folks in states of the old Confederacy and the border states. That's because two of their beloved traditions and economic mainstays were neofeudal agriculture that depends on stoop labor done for coolie wages and extraction of natural resources. They're still devoted to the latter.

John Henry and the black folks picking cotton didn't need an education, just a strong back and the proper attitude.

March 14, 2012 at 2:06 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Maybe we should export some of the millions of poor people we import over there,speaking of taking care of its "citizens"

March 14, 2012 at 8:22 AM  
Blogger David Lambertson said...

More drilling will never solve the problem:


March 14, 2012 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

J: When oil company CEOs make even more money, their wealth will trickle down onto us peons.

Snave: Interesting link. Works for me.


Erik: Pretty ironic. Scandinavia has always embodied the work ethic and pragmatism that American conservatives preach about, and yet they've always been the GOP's favorite whipping boy.

SW: A lot of people could use the information from that study. Unfortunately, the ones who need it the most are probably the exact people who would dismiss it as just a bunch of socialist globalist propaganda.

David: Interesting article; all very good points. The only problem is, how to get this information out to millions of Fox/talk radio listeners who can't grasp anything beyond a 3-word soundbite.

March 14, 2012 at 12:58 PM  

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