Glenn Reynolds writes supporting a plan to give ownership of Iraq's oil directly to the Iraqi people. Quoting Michael Barone,

The Alaska Permanent Fund each year pays a dividend of 20 percent of the state’s oil profits to every citizen — $1,540 per person in 2002. The rest of the money is invested, to provide a permanent income when oil revenues decline. Alaskans regard this as personal wealth; in 1999, 83 percent of Alaska voters rejected a proposal to use Permanent Fund revenues for state government spending. A similar fund could be created for Iraqis. It could provide a payment of something like $1,000 a year —meaningful in a country where Umm Qasr dockworkers make $30 a month.
It's an interesting idea. Obviously, if every Iraqi has an extra $1000 per year in income it will cause dramatic inflation and will not directly quadruple their buying power. Still, the idea has merit. In order for it to work properly, and for the distributed ownership to actually foster capitalism, it is essential that each person be able to sell or rent out their share of the oil. Private corporations must arise to manage and develop the oil deposits, and these duties must not be left to the government. Each individual Iraqi should be able to decide who controls and administrates his share of the oil.

Finally, I'm not sure if it's wise to give parents control over their kids' share of the oil. It might be more beneficial to hold each child's oil money in trust until they reach adulthood. There are a lot of details to be worked out, obviously.



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