We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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 is spot on, as usual. I spent the first twenty years of my professional life largely in countries that were "blessed with resources" - and they were nearly all places of corruption and tragedy. What is worse, particularly in Latin America, was this wholesale 19th century style geopolitical view of the strategic value of natural resources and of how they almost alone guaranteed national power. It should have been long discredited, but the theory was given new life after the oil crises of the 1970s. I remember the wife of a Central American diplomat at a party telling me that the region was poised to become "the OPEC of bananas."