Oil or Law: Which one matters more for freedom

Authors: Sima Mousavi*, Northeastern University
Topics: Legal Geography, Political Geography
Keywords: Natural resource , law , freedom
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Why do countries such as Venezuela, Nigeria and many more that possess a significant amount of oil suffer from less freedom? Whereas, the most developed countries such as Norway, Canada and others that have enjoyed plenty of natural resources are the most liberal and developed countries in the world? The purpose of this study is to investigate whether the lack of freedom in a country is directly related to the laws that constitute a country or the amount of oil that a country has possesses. This study disagrees with those scholars in the literature where, in general, considered mainly the quantitative aspect of this issue and claiming oil a as curse that impedes freedom. It is irresponsible to call a natural resource such as oil as a curse and being the root cause of a society’s destructive elements such as less freedom, corruption and less economic liberalization, rather than a country’s laws and regulations that shape their behaviors. Overlooking the laws and regulations that govern a nation and just blaming the natural resources as the root cause of lack of freedom is misleading to the policymakers, managers and the people of these countries trying to find the right solutions to their old problems. This study indicates that, though the impact of oil as an external factor on freedom is significant, oil is not the root cause of that problem rather the root cause is embedded in the countries’ legal system.

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