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Oil on Troubled Waters

Theodore Dalrymple's essays have a bracing effect on me. A writer and retired British physician (prison doctor and psychiatrist), Dalrymple has lived in Zimbabwe and Tanzania as well as England, travelled extensively, and thought piercingly about culture, art, politics, freedom, and medicine.

In Oil on Troubled Waters he begins -

Quite often one reads that such-and-such a country - the Congo, for example - is impoverished in spite of its abundant natural resources. The tone is usually pained and a little surprised; the writer seems to think that natural resources ought to develop themselves and benefit populations without human intervention, by jumping out of the ground and distributing themselves equitably, for example.

Dalrymple goes on to explore the wisdom that people have within, as opposed to the resources they have without. Worth thinking about.