Problematising the Resource Curse Thesis

Seoul National University, Institute of Social Development and Policy Research
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Development and Society, 2012, 41 (1), pp. 1 - 30
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The natural resource curse thesis is that the blessing/windfall of 'nature's gifts' tends to be a curse. The mention of 'oil' , especially in developing countries, evokes two types of feelings in the form of excitement and fear, further resulting in a discourse about turning a 'resource curse' into a 'resource blessing'. This paper questions this binary representation of the political economy of oil. Using data triangulation, I will show that curses and blessings co-exist, intermingle, and impact diversely on different social groups. Further, there are many forms of impact in between the two which are neither curses nor blessings. This evidence suggests there is room for practical steps to remedy specific weaknesses in existing public policy beyond euphoric reactions and propositions that strike a determinist relationship between resource boom and curse.
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