Thus far, the Saudi royal family has maintained its highly oppressive form of government by pacifying its people with an extensive welfare state funded by oil money. But low oil prices brought about by hydraulic fracturing in the United States are forcing the monarchy to give the Saudi people more freedom in order to remain in power.
Roadsnacks.net recently identified its candidates for “The Ten Worst Places to Live in Illinois,” and although the article is basically infotainment—the written word’s equivalent of reality TV—and plenty of people disagree with the rankings, it does highlight an undeniable fact: The Illinois towns cited in the article suffer from high unemployment, low incomes, and high poverty rates, which in turn are associated with higher rates of robberies, theft, and even murder.
A little more than a year ago, oil prices were above $100 a barrel. The national average for gasoline was in the $3.50 range. In late spring, oil was $60ish and the national average for gas was around $2.70. The price of a barrel of oil has plunged to $40 and below—yet, prices at the pump are just slightly less than they were when oil was almost double what it is today.