I just saw a BBC interviewer ask Equatorial Guinea dictator Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo what he’s been doing with all the money from the country’s oil – because it certainly wasn’t finding its way to his impoverished people. Mbasogo prevaricated.
That would be a pretty good question to put to the head of BP, too, I thought. Do the English do anywhere near as well as the Norwegians do from their oil rent?
For that matter, Australia has oil, natural gas, iron and coal in abundance, yet we don’t capture anywhere near enough rent from our natural resources either.
When Prime Minister Kevin Rudd tried to make the miners pay a little nearer to the fair rent for their licenses they revolted, got rid of Rudd for even contemplating Ken Henry’s 40% super profits tax, then negotiated the ludicrously small minerals resource rent tax in a back room deal with Rudd’s replacement, Julia Gillard.
They did a job on her.
But her economic ignorance was lost on Australians.
Are we really that thick?
The Norwegians aren’t: let’s take another look at the excellent video to which I put a link on Sunday.