Up until a few years ago, the only oil Lebanon was rich in was of the olive variety. That is all about to change as transnational companies fight to vie for the rights for oil and natural explorations—worth potentially billions of dollars to Lebanon’s economy. For the moment, however, everything is put on hold until the country elects a president. (Tick, tock!).

While we wait for our politicians to get their act together, we have time to reflect on five horrible things that have happened from history related to gas and oil.

1. Corruption

Oil and corruption go together like corn and a Charlie’s hog dog. You might not like it, you might not have asked for it, but you’re going to deal with it. Why? Because the alternative of trying to remove the corn once its stuck on the ketchup is an absolute nightmare and will most likely result in everlasting blood-red stains on your t-shirt. While Lebanon has more than its fair share of corruption already, it’s sadly due for some more unless proper committees and laws are constructed. Just look at Nigeria, where corruption is rampant. It was recently revealed that $16 billion in oil revenue just went “missing”.

2. Coup d’etat

In Lebanon whenever talk about coup d’etat, unless we mean the rooftop bar in Gemmayze. But if oil is found, we might actually have to worry about it. Recently, there were talks around the possibility of creating a Lebanese National Oil Company. But look what happened in Iran in 1953, oil was nationalized - the overthrow of the Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in favour of strengthening the monarchical rule of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

3. Dutch Disease

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This is the term that economists use to refer to the phenomenon of high inflow of foreign currency that end up damaging a country’s manufacturing sector and could even bankrupt it. This happened 1977 in the Netherlands when they discovered natural gas.

4. Resource Curse

This refers to the demonstrated phenomena that countries that have resources like minerals in fuel tend to have less democracy and development than countries without resources. Look at present day Saudi Arabia, it is so dependent on oil that it has made very little strides to diversify its economy. When oil eventually runs out, it will be left in a very difficult predicament.

5. Environmental Ruin

Image via huffingtonpost.ca

Canada is in the throes of an oil boom and environmentalists are up in arms over the fact that the planet is being destroyed for financial rewards. In fact, a tiny, tiny town called Fort McKay in Canada is one of the single greatest sources of carbon pollution in the world!

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