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Essay, Nov/Dec 1998
Jahangir Amuzegar

The next great oil boom is on: four former Soviet republics on the Caspian Sea are sitting atop an economic bonanza. But they should remember the fate of OPEC, whose members squandered their 1970s windfall. Where did all the money go? The state took on too dominant an economic role and wasted the wealth at home in a rash of boondoggle projects and military buildups. All OPEC members came down with "quick-money fever." They became addicted to supposedly limitless oil revenues even as boom turned to bust. The Caspian states, too, risk going from riches to rags if they do not resist the temptations of petromania.

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