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It’s Time To End Our Worship Of Oil

By Trevor Neilson on October 23, 2018


Read the original article on Medium

Walking into his “Davos in the Desert” conference Tuesday, the Saudi Crown Prince was given a standing ovation.

This is the same man who ordered the capture, torture, murder and dismemberment of a Washington Post reporter and US resident.

What brings about this type of adoration for a dictator who has violated all international norms of sovereignty and decency?

The answer is simple: a worship of oil and the wealth it has created.

The investors and business leaders who stood to applaud the Crown Prince are part of a global business community that sees capital as being amoral. They embrace the notion that business and global problems are somehow artificially separated. That an investment in oil which is pushing our climate toward collapse and in a country which executes those who disagree with it is perfectly fine because it is all part of the pursuit of profits.

The capital markets are a great example of how amorality can support immorality. On the day when US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced that he would not visit the conference, the stock market dropped by 400 points due to fears that the Saudi US relationship could be headed for trouble.

The reality is that capital is not amoral. By investing one supports a set of behaviors and by accepting it one aligns oneself with the values of the investor.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest exporter of crude oil. This black liquid from deep inside the earth is poisoning the earth at an alarming rate with global temperatures now 1°C above pre-industrial levels, the warmest in more than 11,000 years.

At the exact same time, the wealth that this liquid creates also creates impunity for heinous crimes around the world.

It’s time we end our worship of oil and the wealth it creates. It is possible for us to align our investments with our values. If we do not, capital and capitalism will create a very dark and dangerous world.

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