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IndyBuzz provides information about Central Indiana's most stimulating and thought provoking events -- discussions and conferences, art exhibitions, films, music performances. It tells you what's happening … explains why you should be part of what’s happening. More than an events calendar, though, IndyBuzz tries to make events more meaningful for participants by suggesting an article or two to read before the event, recommending books or websites that will be sources of further information after the event, and pointing out related events that are worth attending.

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April 19: "Can Policy Intervention Beat the Resource Curse? Evidence from the Chad-Cameroon Pipeline Project"

A lecture by Dr. Scott Pegg, IUPUI Dept. of Political Science

When: Tuesday, April 19th 12:00 – 1:00 PM

Where: IUPUI Cavanaugh Hall 438

No doubt about it, if you are a country "blessed" with lots of reserves of minerals, oil and gas, you aren't "blessed" at all. You're saddled with a "resource curse." Compared to countries not cursed with "extractive resources," your people are more likely to be poor; your economy will be less stable; your government is more likely to be despotic and corrupt, and you are much likelier to experience a civil war. Yikes! Remember when Administration officials such as Paul Wolfowitz confidently asserted that Iraq would be able to finance its own reconstruction (at little cost to US taxpayers)? Perhaps we would be doing the Iraqis a favor by letting the insurgents destroy the country's petroleum industry. Well, probably not, but we ought to be helping the people of Iraq (and other countries) cope with their resource curses. The folks at the World Bank can look at numbers, they know how poor the record is for developing countries cursed by natural resources. In 2001 the World Bank commissioned an "extractive industry review" to figure out why this is so, and to make recommendations about how to improve the lives of the poor in these countries. Critics of globalization have viewed the study with skeptical optimism, the International Council of Mining and Metals with skeptical pessimism. I personally like the "extractive industry transparency initiative": the problem isn't global capitalism, it's local accountability and democracy.

Scott Pegg of IUPUI has been researching this problem for several years. Both he and the World Bank look carefully at Nigeria ... and I imagine reach different conclusion. In 2000, when researching the plight of the Ogoni people at the hands of the Nigerian government and Shell Oil, Prof. Pegg realized that a Western academic can make a very real difference in the lives of African communities, even apart from writing books and articles. He and his wife Tijen have committed themselves to assisting the rural southeastern Nigerian village of Bodo. Today Prof. Pegg’s project is recognized as a demonstration that globalization provides ordinary people opportunities to help address the problems of the poor around the world, independent of the American government. In organizing and delivering this aid, Prof. Pegg has a unique grassroots perspective on the issues of corruption, democratization, and global civil society. You can learn more about this work at www.bebor.org/.

You can read his Ken Wiwa, an important activist trying to alert the world to the ways that the oil industry has been brutalizing his people in Nigeria. For a bigger picture of global energy politics, you should check out the May 18 symposium on energy security and the talk that same day by Robert Ebel of the CSIS Energy Project.

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