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Mind over Mines

PARIS – According to the Bible, Moses led the Jews on an arduous 40-year journey through the desert – just to bring them to (virtually) the only Middle Eastern country without oil. But Moses may have gotten it right; today, Israel boasts an innovative economy, and its population enjoys a high standard of living.

In general, resource-rich countries tend to be less developed economically and socially, because exporting their natural resources often triggers currency appreciation, making imports cheap and industrial development difficult. Moreover, governments in these countries are under less pressure to tax their citizens, so they are more prone to autocracy.