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Blood oil

Aston Webb Lecture Theatre WG5 - Edgbaston Campus
Thursday 1 June 2017 (17:00)
Blood oil by Professor Leif Wenar

The Centre for the Study of Global Ethics at the University of Birmingham is delighted to invite you to attend this public lecture by Prof. Leif Wenar (KCL), who will be speaking on themes from his recent book Blood Oil: Tyrants, Violence, and the Rules that Run the World.

Attendance is free and open to all. Advance registration is not strictly necessary, but is strongly encouraged, as space at the venue is limited. 

This public lecture is part of the Centre's third annual conference on the theme of 'Humanitarian Ethics and Action'. For more information, please visit the conference event webpage.


Natural resources are the biggest source of unchecked power in the world. Autocrats like Putin and the Saudis spend oil money on weapons and repression. ISIS and Congo’s militias spend resource money on atrocities and ammunition. For decades resource-fueled authoritarians and extremists have forced endless crises on the West - and the ultimate source of their resource money is consumers, paying at the petrol station and the mall.

Leif Wenar explores why the ‘resource curse’ so threatens the West - and searches for the hidden global rule that puts shoppers into business with today’s most dangerous men. The source of the trouble is a rule that once licensed the slave trade and genocide and apartheid - a rule whose abolition has marked some of humanity’s greatest triumphs, yet that still breeds tyranny and war and extremism through today’s global resource trade.

Photograph of Professor Leif Wenar

The West can now lead the world’s next great moral revolution by ending its dependence on authoritarian oil, and by getting consumers out of business with the men of violence. Upgrading the global system will make us more secure at home, more trusted abroad, and better able to solve urgent global problems like climate change.

About the speaker

Leif is Professor of Law at King's College London. His work combines academia, advocacy and policy advice. In addition to his research on rights, property, and the philosophy of John Rawls, he is internationally known for his work on trade and global justice. He is the founder of the Clean Trade project and his recent bestselling book Blood Oil: Tyrants, Violence, and the Rules that Run the World explores the ethical pathologies of the international system of trade in resources and offers concrete proposals for their amelioration. His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CNN and the BBC, among many other venues.

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