Friedman's First Law fails: Oil prices do not predict freedom

Steve Townsend


Thomas Friedman's First Law of Petropolitics has acquired wide circulation and acceptance without being subjected to proper scrutiny. His claim that, in oil-rich, less-developed countries, there is an inverse correlation between the price of oil and the level of freedom is false. Friedman provides data for four countries to illustrate his thesis. This article shows his figures are incomplete, inappropriate, or misinterpreted. He specifies nine more countries that will conform to his prediction but when investigated, these, more often than not, also disprove his claim.

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