Big Men – Film Review
|March 23, 2014||Posted by Scott Baker under Editorials|
Scene from Big Men
I saw this movie last night, and also met the Director/Writer/Interviewer Rachel Boynton after the movie. It was very good, balanced, and complex. There’s a potentially Georgist angle, never explored, regarding the resource curse, but it’s more complicated than that, involving culture, poverty – both before and after the oil is drilled – and aspirations of both oil men and of third world countries like Ghana and Nigeria. The Director said afterwards that she does not see the world in terms of villains and heroes, and the film reflects that lack of judgmentalism. One is left wondering how so many things could go wrong with so many people who felt they were trying to do right, but that is due to the underlying economic corruption of the oil resource business, which the film does not seriously challenge, but merely documents. The clear underdogs are the people of Ghana and Nigeria, who have few opportunities outside the oil industry.
The film ends before it’s clear whether the people of Ghana will ultimately see the profits from the oil in their land. In contrast to the Norwegian model, most African nations suffer from the oil curse, where the wealth is not redistributed to the People. A compromise was reached with the impoverished militants to basically pay them off not to destroy oil equipment in Nigeria, but during Q&A, Boynton said the job-training part of the deal was “a joke.”