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This is a working paper on Nigeria. It touches on some issues that Kossacks and liberals everywhere should care about such as uneven development, the interaction between global financial forces and "Geopolitics" (which is itself a combination of corporate oil interests and national security concerns), and the effects of these two forces combined on the Petro-State. The larger questions it brings up are at the root of contemporary liberal theory, and help to question what a coherent democratic position towards a state such as, say, Libya (likely to go straight down the same path as the Niger Delta in its Oil Rich areas), as well as in general in dealing with the problem of the double edged sword that is the multinational corporation in the developing world. If these topics are of concern to you, please post your thoughts, which I will be sure to respond to. Constructive criticism is highly encouraged, this is still a rough draft!

    When scholars and practitioners of human rights and ethical philosophy question what role a sovereign state should play in any achievable ideal world, one has to wonder whether it is cognitive dissonance that prevents them from placing their focus squarely upon the many challenges plaguing sub-Saharan Africa, generally, and Nigeria in particular. This paper aims in part to redress the shortfall, by looking at the issue of state sovereignty and international intervention in the Niger Delta, and asking whether communitarian and/or cosmopolitan theories of distributive justice offer any practical approach to the current problems there. Its finding is quite simple: the international community, especially the IMF and the major powers who shape its policies, should either exercise greater regulatory control over the conduct of multinational corporations, or use its resources to strengthen the sovereignty of developing nation states through transparency programs aimed at providing electorates with greater autonomy over their resource extraction revenue. Ideally, the international community would do all it can on both fronts. In reality, it is doing almost nothing on either one, and the results in Nigeria are almost universally applicable to the developing world, as long as there are vital resources to be exploited.

     In a broader sense, by selecting arguably the most complicating case for either theory as a sample, any positive results should be generalizable, pointing eventually toward a pragmatic utopian solution. In light of recent events, the case of Nigeria offers communitarians some hope for a liberal state to one day emerge there. In the context of its entire history, however, the oil giant Shell comprises an odious problem for both theory and practitioner, cosmopolitan or communitarian alike. The IMF-multinational corporation-resource extraction problem calls more strongly than any other for a decent global sovereign to restore order to people, be they Nigerians, Afghans or many others, suffering under failed statehood. I won’t attempt offer a clear definition of state failure, as this paper is more interested in a practical ideal type of state sovereignty, and anything less can be considered, for these intents and purposes, a failure of statehood to the nth degree. Taking a Marxist approach in the tradition of David Harvey, Walter Rodney and others, this paper will show that while neither communitarian nor cosmopolitan/universalist theory has full problem solving power over the “resource curse”, there is evidence to support the cosmopolitan view that a Universal set of unalienable rights can and must be enforced by a universal sovereign, even though in purely pragmatic terms this is highly unlikely to occur. There is some hope for a well-advanced world to undertake a sort of global wealth tax such as, first and foremost, a global tax on carbon emissions, and yet there is not currently that level of advanced global sovereignty.[1] One the best tool at the disposal of a just national society for implementing such a global sovereign system is the nation state. This means the onus should fall on those citizens of the most democratic and/or developed nations to advocate for it the hardest, for what is even more unlikely than a greater level of global sovereignty is a  ‘completion of history” in Nigeria.[2] The free market alone is unable to raise the resource-flush developing world’s collective boat, and it is time for a new global paradigm of international organization and ethics that is willing to acknowledge and curb its negative forces.

     In the wake of a violent month of elections resulting in the overwhelming reelection of President Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria is poised to implement reforms to its petroleum industry, as well as its laws on disclosure of public information, the effects of which are both uncertain and expectedly wide ranging.[3] Nigeria’s reputation for corruption is in turn poised to receive a much-needed makeover, possibly boosting its sagging investor confidence. Over the past two years, the head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nuhu Ribadu, was “fired” by inspector general of police Mike Okiro contra Nigerian law, just weeks after Ribadu had arrested a powerful former Delta state governor on 103 counts of corruption. Human Rights Watch Africa director Peter Takirambudde pointed out that the EFCC was the “only law enforcement agency that has tried to hold prominent ruling party politicians to account for their many crimes” and the firing constituted a “thinly veiled attempt to gut” it.[4] Not surprisingly, Nigeria has since fallen 20 places to an abysmal 136th in international corruption rankings according to the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index.[5] So with the petroleum industry bill (PIB), the freedom of information law (FOI) and a relatively clean and stable round of elections all within reach, it looks like Nigeria might not only be pulling out of a political nosedive, but in fact taking major historic steps toward reform.[6]

     There is, however, much still to be concerned about. Violence in the north following Jonathan’s reelection has been estimated at well over 500 casualties in northern states of Kaduna, Kano, and Bauchi, with one mass grave alone reported to contain 311 bodies.[7] This violence, perpetrated by youths of the Muslim north where the real income is half of that in the remaining 19 southern states, is indicative of a very unequal society where corruption, disillusionment and violence are part of a vicious cycle resulting in massive abnormalities of accumulation, as well as what Amartya Sen calls basic capabilities, the idea that the communitarian ethics philosopher John Rawls has used to justify some degree of material inequality beyond the famous difference principle, as well as to increase its analytical leverage.[8] The difference principle, where any kind of inequality is only admissible if it benefits the least privileged, is really just a fairy tail in a place like Nigeria, albeit a heuristic one.

     The resort to violence after the elections, as with much of the violence and theft in Nigeria, particularly in oil-rich Delta region, can be attributed to a lack of basic capabilities for certain sub-national groups. Oil-richness, however, poses a challenge to both of the two major schools of political liberalism in question, which believe in a degree of distributive justice and attribute violence to a lack of basic capabilities. On the one hand, communitarians believe in a state contract among sovereign peoples as the main vehicle for delivering distributive justice and other liberal values such as human rights and basic security.[9] On the other, cosmopolitans believe that the inherent ethical principles upon which we aspire to build our nation states should be applied globally, i.e. there is nothing inherently better, ipso facto, about the current Westphalian nation-state system.[10] This paper will argue that a balance should be struck between the two, but that balance should serve not to water down either theory, but rather patch critical holes in the conceptual framework of both theories, the main hole being the resource curse.

     Using process tracing, specifically with regard to the Petroleum industry and the plight of the Niger Delta’s 30 million people, 250-300 ethnic groups, incredible biodiversity, and unparalleled underdevelopment, this paper will look at the transparency movement described above, its origins and relevant context. To reiterate, this paper seeks to address the complicating variable of the international corporation, already a sort of stateless or super-sovereign actor, in the context of the aforementioned philosophical debates. Rhetorical analysis as a kind of critical theory-based methodology will be employed to statements by Shell and its executives, political leaders, and scholars, and because the entire PIB is beyond the scope of this paper’s analysis, the political economy of sovereign debt repayment, the redistribution of oil revenue to the people of the Niger Delta, and the inherent issues of violent environmental and geographical dispossession, or “accumulation by dispossession”[11] will be identified and explored in the rhetoric of a representative sample of the main actors shaping these issues, namely activists, politicians, transnational extractive corporations, and human rights organizations/scholars.[12]

     Nigeria, along with Angola, Gabon, Cameroon and Nimibia, faces what scholars often call “the paradox of plenty.” The term refers to the underdevelopment of resource rich nations, and its author, political scientist Michael Ross, has shown that despite strong correlations between oil exports and prolonged conflicts,[13] there is not support for any one causal mechanism.[14] This finding is instructive in the case of Nigeria as well. The actual causal mechanism of the paradox of plenty, meaning the underdevelopment of oil-rich nation-states, remains an under-theorized phenomenon in the mainstream political science and political economy literature. The best hypotheses to date come from a school of post-Marxist special analysts, tracing back to Trotsky and Luxembourg. According to David Harvey, following primitive accumulation, or accumulation by dispossession, comes market liberalization, first domestic then internationally. This opening of markets, which Harvey equates with both liberalism and neo-liberalism (the former is related to cosmopolitanism and the latter to communitarianism),

"…will not produce a harmonious state in which everyone is better off. It will instead produce even greater levels of social inequality (as indeed has been the trend over the last 30 years of neo-liberalism, particularly within those countries such as Britain and the United States that have most closely hewed to such a political line). It will also, Marx Predicts, produce serious and growing instabilities culminating in chronic crises of over accumulation (of the sort we are now witnessing)."[15]

Poorer classes feel the effect of inequality both intrastate and interstate, and the two can interact to further exacerbate the overall levels of global inequality. A combination of excess liquidity due to gluts of accumulation will lead to hot money flowing into newly opened markets, only to rush out at the earliest sign of trouble, leaving devastated emerging economies in its wake.[16] Joseph Stiglitz compared the phenomenon to an untrained sea captain being asked to steer a boat in stormy seas.[17] According to a Neo-Marxist spatial analysis, however, “lurking behind all of this appears to be a certain geopolitical vision.”[18] The reason for this lies in a kind of entwined dialectical relationship between territorial and capitalist logics of power, or neo-imperialism in the case of the former and “accumulation by dispossession” in the case of the latter. Furthermore,

     The rise in importance of accumulation by dispossession as an answer [to the surplus production problem], symbolized by the rise of an internationalist politics of neo-liberalism and privatization, correlates with the visitation of periodic bouts of predatory devaluation of assets in one part of the world or another. And this seems to be the heart of what contemporary imperialist practice is all about.[19]

     There, in simplified form, is a plausible inductive theory for why certain resource-rich states in certain geographical configurations are suffering from the paradox of plenty. Whether it is entirely correct or not is beyond the scope of this or any paper, but many great books have been cited in the following pages that make the case. Rather, our purpose is to test whether the inductive logic of the above theory fits with the deductive logic of the communitarians and/or cosmopolitans in the case of Nigeria, and if not, which of the three holds the most explanatory power, thus testing whether Marxist theory can better inform cosmopolitanism and communitarianism.

     As a partial response to ongoing complications with the Iraq war, it is certainly plausible that the West has [re]defined a significant energy security interest in Nigeria, which has for decades supplied roughly ten percent of its energy mix, according to the US Energy Information Agency. The idea gains credence from William “Kip” Ward, as newly appointed chief of a revamped African Command (AFRICOM) by Donald Rumsfeld in August 2006, the US had an interest in “safeguarding” energy supplies, because “the protection of critical infrastructure and energy infrastructure is a concern all sovereign nations have. We clearly have a concern about that.”[20] Both Nigeria and Gabon are among the world’s top ten oil producers, and with rising global demand for hydrocarbons, oil from the Gulf of Guinea will play a crucial upstream role. And while Gabon shares a roughly similar history of development to Nigeria, the relationship between the peoples of the Niger Delta and the Royal Dutch Shell Company[21] has a particularly sordid past. The Niger Delta has been developing, or involved with the development (via its sizeable share in the Nigeria National Petroleum Company) of Nigeria’s resource extraction industry since 1936.[22] According to a timeline from its website, in November 1938, “Shell D'Arcy was granted exploration license to prospect for oil throughout Nigeria.”[23] It is worth noting that the history Shell gives is rather one-sided. Unmentioned is the extremely convenient and decidedly non-proprietary Petroleum Act of 1969, which decrees “the entire ownership and control of all petroleum under any land to which this section applies (i.e., land in Nigeria, under the territorial waters of Nigeria or forming part of the continental shelf).” Nor is the Land Use Decree of 1978 mentioned, which removed lands from local communities living as they traditionally had on petrol-lands and placed them in a government trust. The do not even mention their inclusion in joint ventures with the Nigerian government at the discovery of petroleum in the Delta in 1956, a fact largely credited with the lack of any material benefit to the people of the Delta despite massive oil reserves discovered on their land.[24] They do mention their inclusion in the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) in 1979, with a 20% controlling share. However, they mislead by implying that NNPC controlled the other 80%, when in fact four other international oil companies (INOC’s) own significant shares as well, and Shell has the largest joint venture of the five major INOC’s in the NNPC, including a 45% holding in crucial the Shell Petroleum Development Company. The attempt to whitewash controversial facts from the record is indicative of larger rhetorical flourishes on the real human rights issues.

     For example, the Shell Website lists a small number of sponsored community initiatives (3) going on in the Niger Delta, and indeed for Nigeria more broadly. It also provides a non-disaggregated list of its overall payments to the Nigerian government, which have totaled $3.8b since 2005. This failure to disaggregate the payments makes the disclosure essentially useless to opponents of corruption in Nigeria and abroad. A section of the report titled “Our Economic Contribution” is worth quoting at length:

     By June 2010, the four main oil-producing states – Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers and Akwa Ibom – with around 10% of the country’s population - received approximately 33% - about $1 billion of oil revenue that the Federal Government allocates to Nigeria’s 36 states. Corruption has been one of the barriers to turning oil revenues into benefits for the people of Nigeria. Shell initiated, and was a leading sponsor of, the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), which openly publishes payments made to the government by the international oil companies and other players in the energy industry as well as the allocation of money to states by the Federal Government and Shell companies in Nigeria. Shell is keen that oil producing state governments adopts similar initiatives. However, even if well spent, Nigeria’s oil revenues do not go far in Africa’s most populous country. The total revenue from oil and gas divided between the 140 million population amounts to less than one dollar per person per day.[25]

     Two devices are doing most of the statistical or otherwise sophistic work in this statement. First, by refusing to release disaggregated data about its transfers to the Nigerian state, Shell is clearly helping to conceal the same corruption it seeks to blame for part of the lack of results. Second, while it may be true that $1b gets to the four main producing states, it does not follow that that $1b would not go far if it was spent well. According to a study from International Policy Report, “at least three quarter’s of the country’s inhabitants survive on just $1 per day, while some 80 percent of oil rents are accumulated within the top 1 percent of the population, with 70 percent of private wealth held abroad.” Moreover, despite the extra burden and territorial claim that comes from living on the petrol-rich lands of the Delta, oil-states “fall below the national average on virtually every measure of social and economic development.”[26] Therefore, if all of the oil revenues and royalties were well spent in a countrywide, equal distribution, 75 percent of Nigerians would double their daily standard of living, and the worst off would triple or quadruple it. The effect for the four delta states is as much as four dollars a day, or a four-fold increase in the average standard of living. There would again be an even greater effect on the most suffering and aggrieved Delta residents.

     The supposed concern for transparency is also undercut by the fact, long-since rumored and recently confirmed by leaked state department cables, that Shell has had its agents infiltrate so far into every major organ of the Nigerian federal government that “Shell consequently had access to everything that was being done in those ministries.”[27]

     Here it is briefly worth recalling what Rawls said about so-called “Burdened Societies,” that is, societies that are neither fully liberal nor “decent,” and thus not capable of participating in the liberal society of peoples. In these cases Rawls advocates liberal societies, especially should they be endowed with true statesmen, socializing with burdened societies, building comity, etc. in order to bring them to a evolutionary/historical threshold from which they can take the big leap to full democracy without fearing the consequences or otherwise fouling it. A possible problem for Rawlsians on this idea is that there have been decent groups struggling to bring transparency and institutional reform within the Niger Delta since the end of colonialism,[28] and yet very little comity has existed between independence-seeking groups and the most significant western actors, INOCS.[29] Instead, a particularly large, cohesive anti-exploitation movement that was initially both peaceful and informal has grown precipitously more violent over the course of decades of being ignored by the government and INOC’s.[30] One group representing the Ogoni, MOSOP, successfully kicked Shell off its land peacefully by traditional civic disobedience tactics, leading to a string of events that ended with the murder of 6 Ogoni, including its leader, published writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, the military regime of Sani Abacha in November of 1995. According to Michael Watts, “In this sense the history of the Ogoni struggle was a watershed too insofar as it bequeathed a generation of militants for whom MOSOP represented a failure of non-violent politics.[31] A lawsuit was filed by the Ogoni charging Shell with orchestrating the execution, which Shell ended up settling out of court for a sum of $15.5 Million. In an op-ed published on the Shell Website, Malcolm Brinded, Shell Executive Director for upstream and exploration states the following:

    I am aware that settlement may - to some - suggest Shell is guilty and trying to escape justice. Some newspapers have leapt to that conclusion. But we felt we had to move on. A court hearing would have dragged us backward, dug up old feuds and painful memories, not only for the plaintiffs but for many others who has been caught up in the violence. In a way this 13-year-old lawsuit has always been a bitter legacy, potentially undermining any reconciliation initiative, even among the Ogoni people themselves.

     Admittedly, though perhaps unsurprisingly, this author could find no hard evidence that Shell was behind the executions, but the empirical arrows are all pointing in that direction. The Abacha military regime at that time had surely been in close consultation with Shell and its Government Ministry moles on other matters. It would have been instructive to see the lawsuit’s verdict, as this matter could essentially define the negative effect of a powerful INOC on a people and their nation-state government, and a trial would have shed much light. So much so that Shell was willing to pay a small fortune to keep it from happening. All said, the huge oil wealth exiting the state of Nigeria from the 1950’s onward, at all costs including likely assassination, constitutes a very late, massive scale of primitive accumulation, as Marx called it, or “accumulation by dispossession,” of unbelievable scope.

     Adding insult to injury, a second form of dispossession, via IMF debt repayment, followed Olusegun Obasanjo being democratically elected and facing a country with massive economic and ethnic strife. According to Aguptus Nwozor, a Nigerian Political Scientist, in 2005 Nigeria had paid out $35bn in interest on its original loans of US $13.5bn, which had accrued interest and were now looming at a total debt overhang of US $35.94 bn, 90 percent of which were owned by members of the Paris Group, a group of powerful investor nations within the IMF.[32] According to Nwozor, the debt relief deal that Obasanjo took committed Nigeria to paying back US $12bn in two installments at set times, in exchange for $18 bn in debt forgiveness and the promise of having its sovereignty returned after surrendering all its financial institutions in the previous turmoil.[33] Patrick Bond makes the case that this was a scam, in the sense that it was bottled like debt forgiveness but was instead modeled and enforced just like a regular upper credit tranche program, specifically a “Policy Support Instrument” (PSI) and that the agreement would allow the IMF to keep control of the country’s economy (and thus presumably its oil export prices).[34]

     Notice that instead of studying only INOCs we have necessarily begun to look at the financiers’ relationship to the Nigerian state to understand. These parties could be seen to conform to Harvey’s dialectical relation between capitalist logics of power and territorial logics of power, and, in the case of asset prices,[35] financiers won’t always care to keep the price of oil high, whereas the US and other major powers are mainly focused on controlling the dwindling global supply, as opposed to fixing prices. At any rate, here is how Walter Rodney describes the history of financiers in Africa:

"In the epoch of Imperialism, the bankers became the aristocrats of the capitalist world, so in another sense, they were very much in the foreground. The amount of surplus produced by African workers and peasants and passing into the hands of metropolitan bankers is quite phenomenal. They registered a return on capital higher even than the mining companies, and each new direct investment that the made spelt further alienation of the fruits of African labor… Furthermore, European banks transferred the reserves of their African Branches to the London head office to be invested in the London money market"[36].

This, claims Bond, was essentially being carried out again in the 2000’s through the instrument of the PSI.

     Let us turn now to the debate between Rawls and Beitz. A cursory reading of Beitz might suggest that he endorses “accumulation by dispossession,” when this is clearly not his aim. Beitz argument is that Rawls international extension of social contract theory, specifically a global compact based on a second position chosen ex ante by just states from a pre-agreed set or pool of just principles chosen behind a veil of ignorance to insure reciprocity, and compiled into a contract according to the principles of rational plurality and democratic fairness, is still too limited to be practical if it doesn’t also include a resource redistribution principle which functions similarly to the difference principle in domestic society.[37] Beitz raises two potential objections to his resource redistribution principle: resource depletion and the definition of a natural resource. Resource depletion, Beitz argues, could be dealt with from a veil of ignorance wherein each member rationally and reciprocally chooses a contract wherein resources will be prudently conserved. This would be fine, were it not that in the real world a great deal of the world’s resources lie on land that is populated by people living under illiberal, “burdened” regimes, as Rawls later and correctly argues in The Law of Peoples, and the most urgent goal of a just society of peoples should not be to rescue their resources for the global good at the cost of their sovereignty. To do so would be a violation of the just war doctrine, and thus do nothing to bring them closer to joining the society of peoples.[38] The second problem Beitz raises to his theory is the question of the definition of natural resources. Though he chooses not to get into the issue of how much food each state has legitimate claim to, Beitz invokes the fact of economic interdependence as a factor preventing Rawls sovereign national society-based theory from ever reaching fruition: “in an interdependent world, confining principles of social justice to national societies has the effect of taxing the poor nations so that the others may benefit from living in ‘just’ regimes.”[39]

     Here I think Beitz has the better of the two contractarian arguments in purely legal terms. However, there is a concrete reason Rawls wants to keep the national societies separate: the veil of ignorance requires it, for a number of particular reasons such as cultural diversity, etc. So Beitz has a very difficult job to show how the veil of ignorance could be extended over the entire planet in practice. But Rawls’ position lacks the ethical high ground that Beitz calls for which might eventually quell uprisings like the surrent Oil insurgency in Nigeria. This paradox is precisely why Marx, Engels and Hegel were concerned with dialectic processes shaping the world and from which it is impossible to gain objective vantages. In effect, dialecticism could be seen as the argument that there is no veil of ignorance or state, real or imagined, of perfect reciprocity, and that any meaningful objective understanding of the human condition comes about by shaping it towards a more just reality through political or historical struggle.[40] Therefore, no matter what we imagine that veil of ignorance to tell us, in a society in constant motion anything that is treated as static is fictitious and misleading due to its one sided-ness (note that I do not buy Marx’s distinction from Hegel here, only that negative energy, suffering, passion drive man to the objective state of consciousness that Rawls’ veil demands of us, excluding positive energy, creation, passion etc.).

     Bringing it all home to the case of Nigeria, what possible lessons can we learn from this analysis? The first is that neither Rawls and the communitarians, nor Beitz and the cosmopolitans are alone likely to supply us with the right approach to helping Nigeria help itself. There is at least one missing unit of analysis in both their theories that is wished away by the veil of ignorance, namely the multinational corporation, which can be seen as the dominant active force in the global sphere. By behaving like Rawls suggests, America would be unable and, more likely than not, unwilling to constrain a Shell-BP mega corporation, even if it were the most perfect of all Americas, because Shell can always live by preying on the burdened states, and is essentially unconstrained by any of the just national societies. In Fukayamaian terms, it can hide amongst nations still “entangled in history”.[41] Similarly, by taking the cosmopolitan approach, the international community would face the real challenge of the effort becoming destructive of cultures, traditions, languages, and autonomy valued by liberal societies. Yet the argument put forth throughout this paper is that the only way to constrain BP is to assume the completion of an all-inclusive global compact of highly just societies, which is no doubt what both Beitz and Rawls were trying to accomplish with the massive veil of ignorance and difference principle assumptions, to mention just the biggest two. Given Shell’s behavior in Nigeria, is there any reason to believe that Goodluck Jonathan will bring about needed reforms of his own volition?

     In fact, the opposite seems to be true. As Lubeck et. argue, America and its INOC agents are moving in great strides to militarize the bay of guinea, in direct contradiction to all of what Beitz and Rawls consider decent, and in exactly the way Harvey has predicted in The New Imperialism,[42] in order to secure their own energy interests against a declining global discovery rate and a rising China.[43] And while Beitz is technically correct that a global resource redistribution principle could conceivably be effective in managing uneven development and surplus accumulation, it is quite another thing to imagine how we would get here to there. In the face of overwhelming evidence, nations have yet to take global action against climate change, which is arguably in their own national security interests. I would thus propose a threshold of plausibility; without some other causal mechanism besides an undisputed ethical high ground it is not clear how that threshold would ever move in Beitz’ direction. The information offered from the veil of ignorance experiment therefore, though analytically interesting, is pragmatically uninformative until a certain level of historical change occurs. All it proves is that utopia is possible. It does nothing to prove that it is practical, save maybe convincing the world individual by individual by exposing them to Beitz’ argument. Historical change in this case means the reining in of multinational corporations through domestic social movements within states demanding the legal and norm-producing power of international institutions be used explicitly for these purposes.

     At the end of the day, short of class struggle in the classical Marxist sense, a middle ground solution that keeps capitalism in place but helps alleviate poverty is probably the best that can be hoped for. This must still be achieved by struggle, only one that takes into account more than class, and yet understand that class is still the most significant barrier to necessary change. The class struggle must be waged not by Nigerians alone but by people of relatively well means in countries where the poorest still have most basic human rights, and this will not happen until there is a unifying super-ordinate goal capable of uniting the many various types and degrees of low class poverty seen across the globe.[44] One example is Thomas Pogge’s global wealth tax going toward a fund for food or some other basic, human-rights-based necessity, based on some “egalitarian law of peoples,” but perhaps acceding to thresholds in order to make its implementation more pragmatic, as Rawls suggests (though for his own, strangely frugal reasons).    

     A second super-ordinate goal should be that international corporations, given their relative autonomy from traditional means of sovereign state regulations as well as from regulations by their own shareholders[45] due to the ballooning size of the firms’ investors relative to their management, should be held to the same standard as Physicians: first do no harm. This could be a new organizing principle for the corporate accountability, but for the norm to take hold there must first be an admission on the part of multinationals that they are no more sovereign (indeed less so) than the lowly individual, or else we are back to square one where communitarians and cosmopolitians get stumped. Naming and shaming corporations has some effect, but it happens so constantly that it can not in and of itself stop the negative effects of globalization, as some movement in the Pogeian tradition potentially could. The two must go hand in hand, however, and naming and shaming is a type of organization that has the benefit of appealing to people of all economic classes.

     Finally, at the most macro level, a goal should be that in order to reach that threshold where contractarian theory can be applied, academics must stop wasting unnecessary time imagining worlds that don’t exist but instead spend a great deal of time systematically uncovering the flaws in the one that we are objectively experiencing, and changing, through the dialectic process of coming to be. This requires a mass resistance of scholars countering the political pressure of global energy and global finance in the University.

[1] As I will argue throughout, one the best tool at the disposal of a just national society for implementing such a global sovereign system is the domestic political system of each individual nation state working in collaboration on common goals that would benefit social movements within all states yet require global sovereign implementation.

[2] Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Third Man.

[3] Heller, Patrick. “The Nigerian Petroleum Industry Bill: Key Upstream Questions for the

National Assembly” Revenue Watch Institute online report:



[6] On the relatively good levels of recent election fairness see


[8] …whether more for the former or the latter is a matter of perspective. Marxist theory places a premium on ownership of the means of production, as a kind of sine qua non for a certain sphere of capability, making materiality in a sense the determining unit of analysis for sovereign power. While there is much truth in this, as Rawls points out, without the idea of basic capabilities as a baseline for equality measures, however, material considerations are essentially meaningless. I agree with this view. Amartya Sen Inequality Reexamined (Cambridge Mass: Harvard University Press, 1992) chapters 1-5; John Rawls The Law of Peoples (Cambridge Mass: Harvard University Press, 1999). FN Pg. 35

[9] See also Michael Walzer, “The Reform of the International System” in O. Osterud, ed., Studies of War and Peace.

[10] Indeed, there is much arbitrary and wrong about holding different standards of justice to different geographical regions of the world based on arbitrary, historically contingent lines on a map. Or so hold the cosmopolitans. See Immanuel Kant, Perpetual Peace; Charles Beitz, et al, eds. International Ethics, especially Part V.; Joseph Carens, “Aliens and Citizens: The Case for Open Borders,” in Global Justice: Seminal Essays, ed. by Thomas Pogge and Darrell Mollendorf, , pp 211-233.; and Thomas Pogge, “World Poverty and Human Rights” Ethics and International Affairs 19, no 1 (2005).

[11] David Harvey, The New Imperialism. New York: Oxford, 2003.

[12] What I will NOT look at in significant detail is the labyrinthine issue of public information transparency overall as means of curtailing corruption, except for the baseline assumption that it is the single most mentioned source of all Nigeria’s other problems and, as such, any analysis attempting to use it as en independent variable is near certain to suffer from endogeneity. On process tracing See Jeffrey T. Checkel, “It’s the Process Stupid! Process Tracing in the Study of European and International Politics,” Working paper.

[13] James D. Fearon and David D. Laitin. 2003. Ethnicity, Insurgency and Civil War. American Political Science Review 97 (1): 75-90. De Soya, Indra. 2002. Paradise is a Bazaar? Greed, Creed and Governance in Civil War, 1989-99. Journal of Peace Research 39 (4):395-416.

[14] Ross, Michael L. How Do Natural Resources Influence Civil War? Evidence From 13 Cases. International Organization 58 (Winter 2004), pp. 35-67.

[15] David Harvey, The New Imperialism. New York: Oxford, 2003.

[16] Joseph Stiglitz, "Globalism's Discontents," The American Prospect Volume 13, Issue 1

[17] Joseph Stiglitz "Social Justice and Global Trade," Far Eastern Economic Review (March 2006)

[18] This quote refers to a specific neoconservative strategy to control the globe militarily and economically through the occupation of Iraq and military penetration or submission of much of the middle east and Eastern Europe, thereby controlling the world’s oil supply. But I borrow the phrase because it applies to the Nigeria case in a similar way. Harvey, 2004. Pp 198-99.

[19] Harvey, 181-2.

[20] Mark Trevelyan, “Interview-U.S. Military Sharpens Focus on Africa,” Reuters, October 15, 2006.

[21] I use the full title not tongue in cheek, but to recall the different historical conditions under which Nigeria’s resource extraction began.



[24] Watts, M.J. “Development and Governmentality” paper presented at a special session of the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, 22 of March, 2002.


[26] Paul M. Lubeck, Michael J. Watts and Ronnie Lipschutz. Convergent Interests: U.S. Energy Security and the “Securing” of Nigerian Democracy. Study performed for International Policy Report , February 2007


[28] Thomas Pogge makes this identical point broader by describing all burdened societies not being weak at governing, but rather helplessly exposed to very poor governance. Thomas Pogge, ed. “World Poverty and Human Rights.” Ethics and International Affairs 19, no 1 (2005).

[29] Rawls 1999. In fairness to Rawls, he was fully aware that liberal democracies do not always act as they should. Where I believe he may have erred, however, was in underestimating the role negative role US material interests of power and globalization play in the affairs of “Burdened States”, if not “Illiberal but Decent states.” This error was parallel to, but not the same as, his error in declaring that “outlaw states” do not have the right to defend themselves. But of course they have, for who is to take that right away from them without a global sovereign. That they should give it up voluntarily entails a right. Likewise, while it would be nice for Rawls if the US stopped behaving towards certain regions in a manner much the same as an outlaw state, he offers no causal mechanism in his theory for how that shall happen, saying only that it is unfortunate. The mechanism is clearly choice, which again entails a right. It could be argued, though I do not argue here, that according to natural law, the US should pursue its material energy interests with full vigor. While Rawls is certainly writing to dissuade major powers from such behavior, his treatment of the state as a non-entity that is nonetheless entirely important opens up the door for realists to criticize him for being too idealistic, and failing to show the self fulfillment of his self fulfilling prophecy. For great discussion of rights and their categories, and understand how Rawls mistakes Human Rights for legal rights in the case of constraining nation-states, see Jack Donnelly, Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice. Ithaca: Cornell, 2003.

[30] The best concise documentation of this labyrinthine process comes from a working paper by Michael Watts called “Blood Oil: The Anatomy of a Petro-Insurgency in the Niger Delta, Nigeria.”: “(COMA) – marks a watershed in the turbulent history of the delta oil fields, but it arises on the back of a long arc of deepening violence and protest across the oilfields, especially since the late-1990s. The periodization of this deepening conflict is, however, far from clear (see Ikelegbe 2006; also Omeje 2006).  During the 1970s communities, typically in an uncoordinated way – this is the case for Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni before he founded MOSOP who had laid out these issues clearly in 1968 during the civil war! - aired their grievances to oil companies and occasionally to government but the first civic organizational flowering around the oil question in the delta occurred in the mid-1980s (during the Buhari ‘opening’), followed by a period of mass ethnic political mobilization led by the Ogoni movement up to the mid-1990s but also the establishment of political groups like the Ijaw National Congress (INC) and the Chikoko Movement in the 1990s. Women’s groups were some of the foundational protestors, elevating the struggle in the mid 1980s and 1990s (the 1984 Ogharefe and Ekpan uprisings, and by Ogoni and other groups in 1994 and 1995) and especially the July 2002 protests by Itsekeri women near Ugborodo (Escravos) and by Ijaw women from the Gbaramantu and Egbema clans in the Dibi and Olero Creeks. Thereafter a number of ethnic and pan-ethnic youth movements, marked by the 1997 founding in Eleibiri of the Chicoco movement and in 1998 the founding of the IYC and the drafting of the Kaiama Declaration, signaled a new phase of both new tactics and deepening militancy.  The period between 1998 and 2000 was especially turbulent across the entire delta as military forces responded violently and with impugnity: Warri went up in flames in 1997 and 1999, strikes crippled the LNG plant at Bonny in 1999, 64 Shell staff were held hostage in Isokoland in 1998, a pan-Eket group (Afigh Iwaad Ekid) closed Mobil operation in Akwa Ibom State, while there were 114 line-breaks in the Port Harcourt-Warri pipeline in two months in late 1999 and early 2000 (Omeje 2006, 2006a; Ikelegbe 2006).

[31] Ibid. p. 13

[32]Aguptus Nwozor, Echoes of Divergence Within: The Politics and Politicization of Nigeria’s Debt Relief. Review Of African Political Economy No: 119, 20-35; (April 2011)

[33] ibid.; p. 24

[34] Bond, Patrick. Looting Africa. London: Zed Books. 2006.

[35] As noted earlier. See FN. 16

[36] Walter Rodney. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Dar es Salaam: Bogle-L’Ouverture Publications, London and Tanzania Publishing House, 1972.

[37] The difference principle being Rawls’ idea that inequality which causes all the less endowed to be better off is just. Beitz, pp. 281-294. I am not entirely convinced that this is in fact a fair assumption, because it would seem the by changing the equilibrium baseline, people are more likely to end up with less than they otherwise would have. If a doctor is improving the lives of his patients, he is also benefiting from a great deal of historical and present exploitation and dispossession, and his patients’ benefit is unlikely to outweigh those costs. Rawls may be excused from this for assuming an realistic utopian world, but Beitz explicitly relaxes this assumption (as I shall try to show). Even in an ideal world it is not clear that the difference principle ever improves the aggregate well being of the entire society over the baseline state of equilibrium, in my mind, due to the unpredictable psychological effects of a group being completely even, and presumably more cooperative as a result.

[38] Rawls, pp.

[39] Beitz, p. 297

[40]Thus, in the Economic and Philosophic manuscripts of 1844 (beginning from FN8) writes Marx that “[a]n un-objective being is a nullity... Man is an objective, sensuous being, and therefore, a suffering being—and because he feels what he suffers, a passionate being. Passion is the essential energetic force of man bent on its object. Therefore human objects are not natural objects as they immediately present themselves…And as everything natural has to have its beginning, man too has his act of coming-to-be—history—which, however, is for him a known history, and hence as an act of coming—to—be it is a conscious self-transcending act of coming—to—be… because this establishing of thinghood is itself only a sham… it has to be cancelled again and thinghood denied. This externalization of consciousness has not merely a negative but a positive significance, and it has this meaning not merely for us intrinsically, but for consciousness itself.”

[41] Supra note 2.

[42] Supra note 19.

[43] See supra note 26, pp.11-20. The authors agree with Rawls and Beitz position that at the very least, as a burdened society, Nigeria deserves democratic institutional support from the state department, rather than simply from the Open Societies Institute. They leave unanswered any questions as to how to get America to act against Shell’s economic interests (although the authors argue rather convincingly that interests converge, they do not offer any empirical evidence to prove it).

[44] This is what Negri and Hardt argue is already happening in their book Empire. Sorry, too tired to look up the publishing info.

[45] See Adolph Berle and Gardiner Means, The Modern Corporation and Private Property. New York, Columbia. 1929.

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