Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Paradox Of Plenty

Nice essay on the paradox of plenty in the context of nations blessed with enormous amounts of natural resources and how they remain in the throes of crippling poverty even as countries with scarce natural wealth flourish. The essay defines the "natural resource curse" thusly :

This phrase refers to the tendency of countries whose wealth is based on gold, oil or other valuable resources to ossify into unproductive and uncreative economies, with low levels of entrepreneurship, and industrial and commercial stagnation. This paradoxical phenomenon has many economic explanations, mostly related to currency valuations, investment levels and income distributions.

What applies for nations, cultures and entire geographic regions seems to translate to the individual level too. You often find early childhood promise (bordering on the prodigious even) dwindle to nothingness by adulthood. These children are endowed with an abundance of gifts and talents from birth which "ossify" over time for want direction (complacent parents expecting them to cruise through school and life because of their inherent genius) or by falling behind in the manner of the hare as the average tortoise plods along. This is a paradox of plenty too.

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