19 December 2010

Imps and goblins & the constant threat of hubris

The antidote to the resource curse must be lodged in the sacred institutions of society because the manner in which the resource curse insinuates itself into the society is through the debasement of the society's sacred institutions. 
Resource curses ultimately manifest as hubris, as the claim by the ruling elite that they have divine attributes, that they were assigned their superiority and privileges by God. The resource curse functions in societies by underwriting "dangerous perversions of human self-consciousness." (The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt, 1994; page 195), perversions that inevitably find their way into undermining the exercise of reverence in the society. 
The  most straightforward way to keep the virtue of reverence working well in a society is to build that virtue into the society's sacred institutions. To combat the hubris the resource curse engenders requires the society to install the virtue of reverence into its sacred institutions. The point of those sacred institutions is to help guard against the actions of hubris that come of the myriad ways in which the resource curse can spring up in the social system. 
Where superstition sees imps and goblins we should see the constant threat of hubris that comes of too much undeserved wealth, and which contaminates the sacred centers of reverence in our societies. 

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