Who owns natural resources?

Section three on ‘the black, black oil’ is scathing about the role of politicians. It suggests that they have assumed ownership of natural resources, and have acted as if these resources are theirs to do what they want with. The play depicts politicians as inept and self-serving. It shows them effectively giving away the rights to a natural resource that is not theirs to give.

Oil could benefit everyone, notes one member of the company:

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but if it is developed in the capitalist way, only the multi-national corporations and local speculators will benefit

In 1973, people were already contesting the ownership of oil resources; it remains a political hot topic to this day.

The theme of ownership can be reduced to a simple equation:

  • land means money
  • money means power
  • power equals ownership

The play's examination of the theme of ownership concludes with a somewhat pessimistic assessment that the same people - the dispossessed - will always suffer.

Nevertheless, the political invective of the play’s closing lines offers an upbeat rallying call to arms. It urges the audience to take action, to speak out against capitalism, and to seek change in the political status quo.

Nevertheless, the political invective of the play’s closing lines offers an upbeat rallying call to arms. It urges the audience to take action, to speak out against capitalism, and to seek change in the political status quo.