Black gold in Ghana: crude days for fishers and farmers?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Local Environment, 2014, 19 (3), pp. 259 - 282
Issue Date:
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The relationship between the exploration, production, and development of black gold, the local economy, and the local environment and how that, in turn, relates to the social and labour conditions of food and fish producers is relatively understudied. Orthodox economists typically use the notion of "resource curse" which, being a macroeconomic frame, does not provide for variegated, simultaneous, and complex processes of accumulation, contradictions, and displacement at the local level. This paper examines such processes in the Western Region of Ghana, an oil frontier in Africa. It uses multiple data sources such as surveys and analyses the evidence within Harvey's framework of "accumulation by dispossession". While there seem to be no clear evidence of massive pollution and hence dispossession of the populations living off the land and the sea in the oil "zone", there are tell tales about crude days ahead, related to enclosures and expropriation. Institutional strengthening may help to resolve the impending tensions, but such reform is incapable of addressing systemic problems of growing imbalance in the power relations among the players in the oil industry. © 2013 © 2013 Taylor & Francis.
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