© 2018 by Robert Person.  The views expressed on this website are my own and do not represent the official policy of the U.S. Army, Department of Defense, or U.S. Government.

Mar 26

A New 'Resource Curse' Fueling Riots Around the World

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Edited: Mar 26

This article discusses the rise of a new resource curse fueled by China. China's high demand for natural resources to support its bolstering economy has caused a mining boom to occur in many low-income countries. This is a direct result of the rapid growth of China's manufacturing sector. Primary commodity imports for China sharply increased from $32 billion in 2001 to $340 billion in 2016. Low-income countries have benefitted from this- economic growth and social gains have spread among them. Despite these benefits, these countries face a new type of resource curse, different from the one introduced by economist Richard Auty in the 1990s. The increased level of mining in these countries has led to extreme levels of pollution in towns surrounding these mining sites, as well as community displacement, influx of outsiders, and a growth of road accidents among other issues.

In this block we discussed the original idea of a resource curse. This concept explains why countries which are rich in natural resources end up faring poorly in the economic sector. National-level mismanagement of profits as well as price volatility of resources are the two main driving forces which send these countries in a downward spiral. The resource curse alluded to in the article is one that affects populations at the local level within resource rich countries. Although often times the host country may be doing well as a whole, raising education levels and offering other public goods, there still exists a population which is dearly affected by the high levels of resource extraction. One approach by the World Bank to help stifle these negative consequences is to encourage local communities to utilize grievance mechanisms in the form of formal complaints to their respective governments regarding development projects.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2018/04/25/mineral-extraction-makes-countries-richer-right-but-theres-a-new-resource-curse/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.a7b33d65e301

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