Poor people may finally be the ones to benefit from exorbitant oil prices. According to the U.S. Energy Department, members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, by selling oil at $100 a barrel, will take in $1 trillion this year. This unusually large profit will be distributed in an unprecedented way. The Gulf countries receiving the funds have committed to putting $150 billion into services for their citizens. Such potential programs include funding for Saudi Arabia’s poor and religious groups, a year of free food for all Kuwaitis, and a pay raise for Algeria’s civil employees. This is a significant shift for countries that have spent previous oil booms on soccer teams and luxury-car manufacturers. Bloomberg News points to the regime changes in many OPEC countries following the Arab Spring as an impetus for these new spending plans.
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