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The first oil empires: the US vs the USSR
So, what did the USA and the USSR have in common? Why did those two nations in particular rise in global prominence so much in the 20th century?
Oil Production: US vs USSR
They were the #1 and #2 producers of crude oil in the world. They were energy-rich and everyone else (generally speaking) valued the abundant fuel that they could supply as well as the products that they would economically manufacture because of abundant local sources of cheap energy, including weapons of mass influence.
Cuba and China and Cambodia all had communist political systems in the 20th century, but none of them thrived like the USSR (or the USA). Likewise, any countries with political systems very similar to the US did not thrive like the US did in the 20th century.
So, if it is obvious that the political systems of the USA and USSR are not what took them from minor roles in international political to being the two dominant (and unrivaled) superpowers, what could it have been? Is it possible that other energy-rich nations like Saudi Arabia will also tend to thrive economically over time simply due to the fact that they have abundant supplies of what is extremely valued throughout the civilized world? I'm not saying that the political system in places like Saudi Arabia have no influence, but even major changes to tax policies would not make energy-poor Arizona in to energy-rich Alaska or oil-poor Greece in to oil-rich Saudi Arabia, right?
Saudi Arabia has recently become the largest net exporter of oil in the world (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Oil by nation
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