Essay Writing Samples

Michael Ross and Misunderstanding

Michael Ross puts forth an argument saying that the use of oil may hinder effective democratic processes. Ross argues that petrodollar economies favor autocracy, populism, and corrupt domestic economic systems that do not lend themselves towards true democracy. This sample essay provides an example of advanced writer options available at Ultius.

Michael Ross and his theory about democracy and oil

In the article “Does Oil Hinder Democracy?” by Michael Ross, several arguments are made, which result in a confusing and under-structured article. Ross sets up the article with a basic introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion, but does not really show exactly how the introduction and conclusion relate to the body paragraphs other than by simply stating that his argument is valid.

Though Ross does have several strong points in the article, particularly by including several sources to back up his claims and the statistical analysis, it does not necessarily mean that Ross has actually developed a cogent argument to establish the claim of validity for the oil impedes democracy debate. The primary strong points of the article can also be viewed as a double-edged sword.

Analysis of “Does Oil Hinder Democracy?”

The statistical analysis is quite intense and seems completely logical, especially because of Ross’ in-depth explanation of each and every variable, the equations used, and the appendix. However, the statistical analysis does very little to explain why Islam is included, other than saying that many major oil exporting countries have a high population of Muslims or OPEC is a driving force in the Middle East. He also does not justify the explanation of what information is not provided in the statistical analysis.

Ross could have included the globalization aspect of the oil market in the analysis but chose not to. For instance, he could have included data about what countries are importing this oil and for what purpose? Also, what would a regime receive from a country that imports that regime’s oil in addition to financial stability? The other factor that is a weak point in this article is that of the number of sources used to show how deeply Ross was trying to make his point.

There are pages where nearly every sentence is footnoted drawing back on another source. It rapidly becomes difficult to tell whether Ross is writing the article or whether he rewriting the work of others due to the high volume of sources. Though Ross’ conclusion is certainly compelling, there does not seem to be the data to support it within the article.

Ross provides insufficient evidence

While some agree with the conclusion that Ross presents, primarily that a states’ ability to export oil impedes democracy, the evidence that Ross presents is not enough to support my personal opinion. The article would need to include some demographics and statistical analysis about the global economy and the effect of democratic oil importers on autocratic oil exporters. Researchers also should look at oil production from a macroeconomic perspective.

Also, it seems inevitable to point out that many of the states that are used as examples have much more complicated histories than simply that of oil exportation. The regimes that are in place have been effectively put in place in the past sixty years and should be thoroughly examined historically in conjunction with oil exportation.


In the future, the oil exportation impedes democracy debate will very likely change because during the global economic catastrophe of 2008, the world has now seen how connected the global economy actually is. The global economy is not able to be so easily separated by one state at a time, but rather it is a closed system that requires understanding in regards to how it operates to be able to understand the effect of something like oil exportation and its’ effect on democracy.

As the global economy changes over the next decade or two, this debate will also change and has already changed some since Ross originally wrote the article, which will force the need for greater understanding of socio-economic conditions and their relation to states that export oil.

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