February 3, 2016
Natural resources like oil and minerals are the largest source of unaccountable power in the world. Petrocrats like Putin and the Saudis spend resource money on armies and oppression; militants in Iraq and the Congo spend resource money on bombs and ammunition. Resource-fueled authoritarians and armed groups have given America its most dramatic foreign challenges for a generation—and the source of their power is ultimately ordinary consumers, doing their everyday shopping at the gas station and the mall.
In his sweeping new ‘big picture’ book, Blood Oil: Tyrants, Violence, and the Rules That Run the World, one of today’s leading political philosophers Leif Wenar explores how the “resource curse” impedes democracy and development—and searches for the hidden global rule that puts shoppers into business with some of today’s most dangerous men. He discovers the same rule that historically licensed the slave trade and genocide and apartheid—a rule whose abolition has marked some of humanity’s greatest triumphs, yet that still breeds tyranny and war and extremism through today’s global resource trade.
Leif Wenar holds the Chair of Philosophy and Law at King’s College London. After graduating with honors from Stanford he was briefly Karl Popper’s research assistant, and then went to Harvard to study with John Rawls. At Harvard he wrote his qualifying thesis on Karl Marx’s theory of history, taught on justice for Michael Sandel, and wrote his doctoral dissertation on property rights with Robert Nozick.
Among his many publications are The Meanings of Freedom, The Value of Rights, What We Owe to Distant Others, Accountability in International Development Aid, Reparations for the Future, Fighting the Resource Curse, and Realistic Reform of International Trade in Resources. He is a co-editor of Hayek on Hayek: An Autobiographical Dialogue, and of Giving Well: The Ethics of Philanthropy.
Wenar has been a Fellow of the Program on Justice and the World Economy at the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, a Faculty Fellow at the Center for Ethics and Public Affairs at The Murphy Institute of Political Economy, and a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University School of Philosophy. He has been a Laurance S. Rockefeller Fellow and a Visiting Professor at Princeton’s University Center for Human Values, and also a Visiting Professor at the Princeton Department of Politics. He has been a Visiting Professor at the Stanford Center on Ethics and Society, and in the Spring of 2016 he will return to his alma mater as a Visiting Professor in the Stanford Department of Philosophy.
Free and open to the public.
Sponsored by the Global Voices Lecture Series, the Social Enterprise Initiative at the Booth School of Business, the UChicago Gate, and the Seminary Co-op Bookstore.