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Publisher's Summary

Natural resources empower the world's most coercive men. Autocrats like Putin and the Saudis spend oil money on weapons and repression. ISIS and Congo's militias spend resource money on atrocities and ammunition. For decades resource-fueled authoritarians and extremists have forced endless crises on the West - and the ultimate source of their resource money is us, paying at the gas station and the mall.

In this sweeping new book, one of today's leading political philosophers, Leif Wenar, goes behind the headlines in search of the hidden global rule that thwarts democracy and development - and that puts shoppers into business with some of today's most dangerous men. Listeners discover a rule that once licensed the slave trade and apartheid and genocide, a rule whose abolition has marked some of humanity's greatest triumphs - yet a rule that still enflames tyranny and war and terrorism through today's multitrillion-dollar resource trade. Blood Oil shows how the West can now lead a peaceful revolution by ending its dependence on authoritarian oil and by getting shoppers out of business with the men of blood. The book describes practical strategies for upgrading world trade: for choosing new rules that will make us more secure at home, more trusted abroad, and better able to solve pressing global problems like climate change. This book shows citizens, consumers, and leaders how we can act together today to create a more united human future.

©2016 Oxford University Press (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

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HEAVY but practcal! How western nations are cursed

when buying stolen resources from authoritarian rulers; how & why we must stop. A must Read!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • MD
  • New York, New York
  • 05-17-16

Caveat: Human beings -- Totally untrustworthy

This book is a thorough primer on world affairs. It clarified a lot of things for me with brilliant examples and tidbits, particularly about our relationship with the Saudi Kingdom and other such states.

However, in my jaded view, conflict and war is part of our DNA like water and salt. We humans will never change and will always find something to quarrel about. The book demonstrates this human pitfall in its discussions regarding alternative solutions. ...
Better technology and upheaval because of new technology is most often the driver of social progress and setbacks. For example the abolition of slavery and the American Civil War was an industrial vs agrarian conflict. (And it can be argued that the freeing of the slaves was Lincoln's version of Truman dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.) In the case that the author cited, the abolition of the slave trade by England, it is noted that the TRADE of slaves was abolished but NOT SLAVERY itself. For tactical reasons, the abolitionist in England believed that slavery itself would wither away on its own, which was true enough. Industrialization and the replacement of brute manpower with machine power, however, was the ultimate driver (i.e., better profits).
Likewise, alternative fuels or even lifestyles might ultimately cure our dependency on oil; provided, the powers that be allows us to go forward with these alternative lifestyles. Yes, allow --the forces of commercialism and the constant brainwashing are difficult to overcome even by the fiercest of romantics. ...
Enters shale oil --and its taxing horrors on the eco-systems of the states involved, Pennsylvania, upstate New York and other bucolic scenes throughout the United States and Canada and the Americas-- to carry the day until science, our hero, sneaks one in and breaks the spell. ...

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Thought-provoking, but should include endnotes

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend the book, but I truly believe it should have included endnotes. Books like these, where many sources are used, loose something without this additional information. I realize it can slow the speed of the reader, but I think they should just say "endnote 1", "endnote 2", etc., and then include a pdf with the endnotes.

Any additional comments?

3.5 stars. This is a difficult book to review or sum up. It looks at the various research-rich countries in the world where the resource wealth has abetted sub-par, violent, and/or non-existent government. It is part history, part economics lesson, part psychology, part political science primer, and part philosophy. On the pro side, the author's view is clearly rooted in an ethical hope for and vision of the world; sometimes it seems a bit Pollyanna-ish, but the sentiment is welcome where many find only cynicism. The author is sympathetic to the plight of those who are resource cursed (the term of art used to describe the majority of resource-rich countries for whom the bounty ended up being a bane), and lays all the necessary groundwork to explain how resource-rich countries can end up with impoverished people and illiberal policies. The author also discusses the oil trade at length (with additional attention given to other extractive resources, from metals to gems), which can be eye-opening to those who never really think about the intricacies of this economy. The author also provides an impressive (if somewhat fulsome) account of political power, laying groundwork for the reader to understand how the relationship between leaders and the populace have morphed over time, the pitfalls in these relationships, and what aspects allowed for governments structured on leaders serving the people rather than people serving the leaders. This all leads up to some grand policy suggestions (on par with the kind of broad policies necessary to oppose the international slave trade). These suggestions, though daunting and unlikely to come about soon, are not entirely unworkable. They are creative and interesting. Even if the reader thinks they have a long shot at being enacted in the near future, the still offer much to ponder and many tools that could be deployed against unjust states who live off of their resources at the expense of their people. <br/><br/>The book also has some shortcomings. The tone sometimes feels a bit too philosophical and it occasionally plays a little loosely with facts. (Glaringly, in the introduction, the author states that the Great Wall of China and an oil platform off of Norway can be seen from the moon -- but this is just plain wrong. The Great Wall can only occasionally be seen from low earth orbit, and certainly not from the moon. Whether inadvertent or not, errors like these, which should be easily caught with the most rudimentary fact checking, makes one wonder what else might be exaggerated, obscured, or just plain false.) That said, the book is sufficiently end-noted to allow a reader to check sources. The extensive space used discussing political history and economics might turn off a reader who expected a more concise book focused on oil alone (and modern oil at that). In the end, these aspects of the book did not diminish the scope and ethical heart of the whole. I felt it was worth my time and enlightening in a number of ways.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Thought Provoking

I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in global justice. I think I'll be buying it for some people...

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Informative, repetitive

The book had the longest intro ever. Once through the 4 hours of introduction, the book moved along repeating itself regularly and quickly lost my intetest. I powered through anyway, fast forwarding to the best of my ability when recovering the same topic. Again and again.

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  • Andrew
  • FAIR OAKS, CA, United States
  • 05-20-17

Excellent

This is a great philosophical exploration of one of the greatest problems of our time, resource exploitation.

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  • Magnus
  • Arendal, Norway Norway
  • 03-21-17

A solution to intransigence in human rights

This is a thorough philosophical road map for native ownership of resources, which is argued to be the cause of much remaining global strife. Support the roadmap, let's see just democracy materialise!

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blood oil: (a virtue of unification)

Great book overall, opened my eyes up to a whole new world. performance was great overall. the author constructed a definitive argument about the corruption within the global supply chain. the book oothes with prothos to convince thr reader about the epidemic in the global supply chain; however, I felt there wasn't so much devotion to the political and economic ties to how to recomprimise corruption in the supply chain. I believe to make his argument more definitive would be to tie in more the corruption. of slavery and common goods people traded such as sugar cane, spices, coffee, and cotton in the 1600-1800s. he does make a more definitive argument for unification of man globally, but doesn't dive into the political and economic stricture. Still good though!

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Very good book, can be depressing at times though

This is a very insightful book that sheds light on how backwards the whole oil industry is. I had to listen to the book in chucks, as it was a little to "real" to listen to for long durations. Great book over all.

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Interesting Concepts

The author makes good points about resource ownership and the issues that come along with being involved in their purchase. The principle of might vs. right was well supported. On a personal level, I don't know how I feel about the last few chapters that delve into counter-power. I think these trends swing back and forth and it was a bit on the optimistic and unrealistic side. The end of the book was weird and sounded like a Miss America contestants answer about world peace. Overall, not too bad. If you are into social justice, global socialism, et cetera, this is your book and how to guide.

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  • Newty1977
  • 09-15-17

A Dose of Reality

An excellent, absorbing and well written book. Wenar does a very good job of threading together the multiple aspects of what is a complex issue. Exploring history, religion, culture, power and politics to frame the issues, the author provides a refreshingly honest view of our dependence upon oil, the conflicting values of western societies, and makes some practical suggestions for improving the world.