Many people say that natural resources like oil and minerals are the way to prosperity. Indeed, in an old cartoon by Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, a professor taught his students, “The nation that controls magnesium controls the universe!” But natural resources have been left out of this chapter completely. Is this a big mistake?
a. Here are the 10 countries in the world that have the highest amounts of hydrocarbons (oil, natural gas, etc.) per person, in rank order:
2. United Arab Emirates (UAE)
3. Saudi Arabia
9. Trinidad and Tobago
Use the CIA World Factbook, a convenient online source of information, to see if most of these countries are prosperous. How many of these 10 countries have a GDP per person that is at least half of the U.S. level? How many are less than 10% of the U.S. level? Are any actually higher than the U.S. level?
b. Now, let’s look at the reverse: Let’s see if the 10 richest countries in GDP per capita have a lot of hydrocarbon wealth:
2. United States
4. Hong Kong
The one country on both lists also makes another list in this chapter. Which one is it?