Darwin and Oil

Some argue that oil revenues interfere with state evolution—the competition for the survival of the fittest country. Most of Europe’s states did not survive because most of them were weak and unorganized; those that still exist today were simply better governed than the others.  Conversely, all of Africa’s modern states have survived since independence, even bad ones.  Natural resource revenues and external influences, e.g. foreign aid, have allowed weak states that should have died out continue on. Soares de Oliveira claims that oil may very well be the single factor allowing weak African nations to survive despite failing to meet Weberian criteria for stateness. He calls these “successful failed states” because they have immense amounts of money and can at times use ample force, yet are barely functional (with functionality defined by their institutionalization, legitimacy, and degree of rentierism). Their failure is a continuation of politics by other means (2007).

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One response to “Darwin and Oil

  1. Pingback: Africa’s Future in the Age of Trump | Niger Delta Politics

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