Steve Sachs Duke


Wednesday, April 09, 2003


Alaska on the Euphrates. One idea for the reconstruction of Iraq that seems to have gained momentum in the past couple weeks is that of giving the nation's oil wealth to the Iraqi people--literally. In Alaska, part of the revenue from oil production is placed in a permanent rainy-day fund, but another part is divided and doled out each year to every citizen of the state. A similar program in Iraq, according to Michael Barone, could pay an annual dividend as high as $1,000 a year to every man, woman, and child--a small fortune "in a country where Umm Qasr dockworkers make $30 a month." A similar suggestion is made by Steven C. Clemons in an NYT op-ed; putting oil revenues into an independent fund, Clemons writes, would simultaneously reduce suspicion of American motives, prevent the concentration of oil wealth by a corrupt governing elite, and make individual Iraqis stakeholders in the success of their new society.

But there's one more advantage such a plan might have: forcing other Gulf states to do the same. In a region with gross inequalities between rulers and ruled, the example of an Iraq whose people share in its prosperity--who are made quite well-off by regional standards, actually--would be a potent weapon in the hands of reformers.

It's good that this proposal is gaining currency in the press; here's hoping that someone in the administration is listening.




Blog Archives

Front page
XML Feed


© 2011 Stephen E. Sachs


Anglia Regnum