North Africa is shaking and rattling in the throes of revolution. In the last few weeks, Egypt's Hosni Mubarak was forced out with his vanishing billions. Yemen is in trouble, and the disease of economic disparity and discontent is spreading rapidly.
The latest and most serious? Libya. Moammar Gadhafi, the seemingly demented and murderous leader of Libya, has been hanging onto power tooth and nail by hiring deadly mercenaries and arming civilians loyal to him. The global community has ordered economic sanctions against Libya as it becomes more apparent that thousands of people may have been murdered in his bid to keep power at any cost. It is evident Gadhafi is neither considered to be a "generous humanitarian" or 'concerned' about his people one whit.
On the other hand, the Sultan of Oman, Sultan Quaboos, who has sat on his golden throne for over 40years in an absolute dictatorship, is apparently more of a gentleman and highly regarded. What do these two men have in common? They are both facing major revolts mounted against them. Why?
The sad fact is, the common root factor happens to be that they are dictators hoarding absolute power, and wealth that belongs rightfully to the people of their respective countries. There seems to be a newly discovered awareness of "disproportionate distribution of wealth" , to say the least.
Why is that not a surprise? The rot of extreme and obscene greed has finally precipitated the questioning of the ultimate form of self-defeating capitalism, the "king", absolute ruler, greedy dictator, and rich despot.
The Sultan of Oman, being an astute man, saw the writing on the wall as revolts took place in Egypt and Libya; he quickly ordered the creation of 50,000 jobs for the starving and unemployed. Each of those jobs will supposedly pay benefits of about $390.00 per month. To a man that has a starving family, it must seem a fortune.
Nice, but does it not still remain a disproportionate distribution of wealth? Are these people totally foolish? No. Do the poor have calculators and the internet? Certainly some must do. Shall we shake our heads in awe as we confirm their calculations?
$390.00 per month x50,000 = $19,500,000 U.S.D. per MONTH. Nineteen and one-half million dollars. That sounds like a big bribe, and a lot of money. WOW, that's $19.5M x12 = $234 Million U.S.D. per year --mere peanuts for a desperate last-minute "job creation" solution to prevent revolution.
That "peace offering" and job creation "strategy" ought to quell the rebellion and keep the starving peasants happy? Should it really, Sultan Quaboos? No disrespect, but think again. Is it realistic? No.
The fact is, normally Sultan Quaboos and his Omani helpers sell off 850,000 barrels of crude oil daily, at a heady payment of $120.00 per barrel, using the "latest" cost figures.
Let us tickle those those calculator buttons one more time: 850,000 barrels x $120.00 U.S.D. ( per bbl ) = $102,000,000 --per DAY.
ONE HUNDRED AND TWO MILLION dollars each day? UNbelievably, it will take only TWO days of oil production to pay for the cost of the entire ANNUAL BRIBE, a.k.a "job creation"...a.k.a. desperate move to retain the Sultan's throne....
Where is the REST of money going, other than into the Sultan's treasury?
Who is kidding who? Oman has been considered the "peaceful kingdom" but it is not surprising the people of Oman are angry. At least SOME of them have calculators. The fact is, oil wealth and other resources belong to the citizens of that country. Resources are no longer the exclusive property of the rich and powerful, or of foreign interests.
Is there a lesson to be learned here? I think so.
Meantime, back in my neck of the woods in Canada during this same crisis, we are paying $1.30/litre for gasoline, the price of which has not even yet peaked. That horrendous price translates to almost $6.00 USD per imperial gallon (4.56 liters) --- which is nothing but gouging and shameful for an oil-producing nation.
At the same time, Canada (a.k.a. Big Oil ) exports 1.3M barrels of dirty crude oil to the USA every day. Let's calculate THAT while we are at it: 1,300,000 x120 = $156,000,000 dollars per DAY. That is One-Hundred and fifty-six MILLION dollars each DAY.
We seriously must question who has the keys to the golden vault THAT huge pile of loot is being hauled to. It sure isn't in MY back yard. It is not in pollution control. It is not in infrastructure, or in tax reduction. Where is it?
The fact IS, in times of international crises, Canadians should be at least partially shielded by Canadian production. Are we, at some time in the future, to inherit ONLY the stripped, contaminated land, water, mutant fish, societal cancers, and dead soil left from the dirty oil extraction from the Athabasca tar sands?
In fact, there is no excuse for gouging at the gasoline pump. Gasoline at $1.30 a liter is made with the same process and equipment that gasoline was made with 40 years ago, back when gasoline was 0.30 per GALLON . Nobody has to work too hard to figure out that was about 6-1/2 cents a liter.
It seems to me there's something seriously wrong with OUR OWN systems of golden thrones and disproportionate distribution of wealth, never mind those of madman Gadhafi or gentlemanly Sultan Quaboos.