Talk:Resource curse

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"Tug of War between People and Government"[edit]

I am removing this brief subsection because it doesn't meet Wikipedia standards. Do the People's and Governments goals and motivations always diverge? Who is your source? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:49, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Merger with Rentier state[edit]

I proposed a merger of this page with Rentier state on September 19th, 2005; no dissenting comments were made, so I merged in content from that page today, September 27th, 2005. The rentier state edit history and talk page can be found at its original page. MC MasterChef 08:34, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

Thomas L. Friedman[edit]

This article warranted a mention of Fareed Zakaria (as it should), but I think a mention of Tom Friedman might belong as well. Then again, maybe going down that path would result in an inclusion of everyone who's said or written anything on the topic.

Page revamp, merger with Dutch Disease[edit]

This page and the Dutch Disease page definitely need to be merged. Also, the pages ought to be completely redone. For an economics topic, it's rather econ-lite; something I would like fixed. But I'm new to this whole editing process, so if anyone would help contribute to this project, let me know. Thanks. --Geoff 23:05, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

I'm removing the merger tags from this article. Dutch disease is NOT the same thing as the resource curse. I think the merger is the result of confusion of the terms and will only cause more confusion. Both have to do with resources creating problems, but dutch disease is usually a sudden shock to the economy caused by resource exports raising currency values. The resource curse is the paradoxical lack of growth in countries with strong natural resources. Dutch disease is one mechanism which might contribute to this lack of growth. I think this article does a good job of illustrating the differences. Dutch disease is listed as one of three explanations for the resource curse. If someone still wants to pursue merging, put the tags back up, but I really don't think it's a good idea tom merge.--Bkwillwm 18:06, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Right, the resource curse and dutch disease are not the same thing; Dutch disease is part of the resource curse, however. Rethinking it, they probably should remain separate articles, and only briefly mention Dutch Disease in the resource curse article. I don't think it possible to completely separate the two. Alright? --Geoff 02:46, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

Sounds good to me.--Bkwillwm 05:50, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

Before I start making changes to this article, I'm just gonna list my issues with it as it is, and hope everyone agrees with me/is will to help with the improvements. There is a general lack of organization. There's already a good list of the causes of the resource curse, but the problem here is that not much of anything is cited. There should be examples of where it has occured and policy solutions to it. Also, similarly to Dutch Disease, perhaps Rentier State should have its own article. Although it is relevant to the article and could certainly be mentioned here, the full explanation of the term, I think would be best elsewhere, since they are distinctly different. Any thoughts? comments? Please let me know. --Geoff 03:54, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

defining resource curse[edit]

It's important to note that the resource curse is primarily an economic concept, although one could say that there are some political economy effects in there, also. It is not really a political science topic since the effect that natural resources has on democracy is not really part of the natural resource curse, even though there may be a connection between the two in some countries. If someone can show a source in which Zakaria or others are specifically calling this connection a "resource curse", then I think it has a place in the article as an extended definition of the resource curse, and mentioned as such. Also, I'm proposing that we unmerge rentier states and resource curse.

If it hasn't already been done, I support the motion to separate rentier state and resource cures...though, it looks like it's been done. MikeNM 22
36, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

Government Complacency[edit]

I removed the following sentence from the "Government Complacency" section:

Some have suggested that a more effective mechanism than state monopoly would be to simply distribute revenues from state-controlled natural resources evenly among the population, as is done in the oil-rich U.S. state of Alaska.

This is passive-voice POV weasel-wordery. Who has "suggested" this? Why do they have any credibility? The section is about the effect of the Resource Curse on governments; what does "state monopoly" have to do with anything? Are you suggesting only state monopolies can be complacent?

A comparison between the effects of resource incomes in Alaska and Nigeria would be very useful. However, the quote is a poor way of doing it since the Alaska Permanent Fund is a "state monopoly" and Nigeria's oil industry is private enterprise. -- Corvus 14:26, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

New Revamp[edit]

I have just begun to take an interest in this article, but will be contributing a great deal more in the future. A lot has been contributed by Timothy Kirkpatrick since these topics were last discussed, and so I am creating a new discussion section.

First, I propose that the page is reorganized. The causes are all muddled up with effects (grouped together by negative?). More needs to be done to separate out the different theoretical perspectives. It seems to me that we should start the article with the empirical research that has been done that launched the 'resource curse thesis' into mainstream acceptance. Then the article can be organized around the theoretical battle over what causes resource curse, how, and what each paradigm implies for alleviating the curse.

Second, I propose introducing and citing the perspective that resource curses are really hierarchical power relations between states. Theorists of colonialism and imperialism have written extensively on this, and it needs to be in this article. Deleriamour 08:16, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Suggested article[edit]

A suggested article: Resource competition. --Wassermann 07:17, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

Request for more supporting data[edit]

The threadbare section on "Liberty and Democracy" is just a simple statement with no supporting facts or even arguments. Please add to this section or consider removing it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:12, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

It has a supporting source. If wanting more details it can be read.Ultramarine (talk) 08:08, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Does it seem fishy that 2 main citations in the criticism section were papers authored by, amongst others, one Victor Menaldo - and stunningly enough, the user who wrote these sections goes by the name Vmenaldo? Anyone? -Anon, 18:49 UTC, 3 September 2008 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:49, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

No that doesn't seem fishy at all - as long as it is peer-reviewed research published in a reputable source, the author can cite it on here just like anyone else can. (talk) 15:36, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

The references being mentioned *aren't* peer-reviewed research, they're "working papers". --Blogjack (talk) 20:38, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

A list of countries[edit]

A list of countries believed to be resource cursed would be nice we could start with the OPEC nations and Russia any more suggestions? (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 23:34, 8 January 2010 (UTC).


Just FYI: Ross Douthat, a columnist for the New York Times, just linked to the article. [1] -- JohnWBarber (talk) 19:42, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

The Resource Curse argument does not seem to follow if you consider the case of Australia, a country rich in natural resources. This country has consistently performed well economically, has strong institutions and relatively low corruption. It might be accurate for petroleum resources, but is this as a result of bad governance not the mere existance of resources. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:52, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

Resource curse is not believed to be systematic, but frequent. Yug (talk) 09:01, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

Content from China in Africa[edit]

The "resource curse" hypothesis[edit]

In recent decades researchers have considered a link between the natural resource abundance of a country and adverse consequences for economic growth and government functioning. This trend seems especially common for countries with 'point source' minerals such as mines and oil fields, which create large profits for few people. Compared to agricultural resources, which offer diffuse development requiring large quantities of workers and distributing the benefits more widely, point source minerals have the potential to stifle the socioeconomic development of a nation.[1]

Evidence has been provided by Sachs & Warner, 2001 that establishes: inverse statistical relationship between natural resource based exports (agriculture, minerals and fuels) and growth rates during the period 1970-1990. Almost without exception, the resource-abundant countries have stagnated in economic growth since the early 1970s, inspiring the term ‘curse of natural resources’. Empirical studies have shown that this curse is a reasonably solid fact.[1]

Taylor notes that China's blind support of the African elite in a resource-abundant country may worsen the 'resource curses', by encouraging elites to tighten their control resources and damage other economic sectors. Such arrangements may be in the short term interest of Beijing, who often want to keep importing low cost raw materials from abroad, and manufacture them in China.[2]

The notion of a “curse” may be misleading, as countries do have choice, and the development of natural resources sector is shaped by a host of government policies. Wright & Czelusta note 6 relevant policy issues:

  1. infrastructure of public knowledge (e.g., geological surveys);
  2. engineering education;
  3. systems of exploration concessions and property rights for mineral resources;
  4. export and import controls;
  5. supporting infrastructure (such as transportation);
  6. targeted taxes or royalties.[3]

Chinese investments focus on infrastructure, the 5th point. The remaining five, however, are largely in the hands of African elites.

African fishermen complain of Chinese industrialised fishing, coming as close as one nautical miles off the coast, depleting fish stocks, and interfering with villagers' fishing nets for whom fishing is the main income source.[4] Western pro-Forest NGO complains of Chinese specific disdain for environment.[4]

For book source, look in China in Africa article. Yug (talk) 09:01, 7 July 2010 (UTC)


  1. ^ a b MRE, p0-3
  2. ^ COD, p951-952
  3. ^ MRE, p3
  4. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference LCAtv was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

Unconfirmed sources[edit]

As part of WP:WCC efforts, I checked the references/sources of this article. The two one below could not be confirmed:

  • Resource Curse, by Leif Wenar, (Policy Innovations, Spring (2007) (Original link found)
  • Djoumessi, Didier T. (2009),The Political Impacts of the Sino_U.S. Oil competition in Africa: An International Political Explanation of the Resource Curse in African Petro-States, London, Adonis and Abbey Publishers Ltd. (Added by User: on 26 May 2010)

Please could one of the original contributors specify these citations. --bender235 (talk) 12:18, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Link rot and weird abbreviation[edit]

There is a link in the references whose target has dissapeared. Someone who has more time should look into Wikipedia:Link_rot and fix it.

Also, is bbl really the abbreviation of barrel? Barrel only has one b! If it is the correct abbreviation, that's fine, but I just wanted to make sure.

עבד יהוה talk 20:56, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

International war and conflict[edit]

This segment seems very biased to me, as it mentions Iraq’s invasion of Iran and Kuwait, Libya’s repeated incursions into Chad in the 1970s and 1980s, "Iran’s long-standing pattern of hostility and conflict" (Which pattern exactly? Are those whom it is hostile against not hostile to it?); Venezuela’s mobilization for war against Colombia in 2008 (didn't the Colombian government do a great deal to provoke that?). However, it fails to mention the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Deathmare (talkcontribs) 10:35, 18 March 2013 (UTC)


A weak article, lacking a logical thread. It is true that there are mineral-rich countries which suffer bad governance, and it is useful to describe how this occurs. However, to ascribe bad governance to mineral wealth is patently false, since there are all too many mineral-free countries in the same unhappy boat. And you also have to account for mineral-rich countries like Norway and Australia, which must come high on any list of good governance. I would suggest that the article explores how some countries have used revenues from mineral exports to improve present and future quality of life for their citizens while others have not. Since unsubstantiated generalisations weaken the case, it is vital to name names. --Clifford Mill (talk) 07:28, 13 October 2014 (UTC)

Negative effects and causes[edit]

This section is longwinded and the material under the subheadings overlaps I propose splitting this section into "Political Effects" and "Economic Effects", each incorporating the existing subheadings but aiming to offer an intro summary and tighter integration -Political effects would comprise Conflicts, Rentier State and Corruption subheads) -Economic effects would cover lack of diversification (and human resources), "Dutch Disease", volatility and possibly borrowing) Any objections? Or better ideas> — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dtellett (talkcontribs) 00:04, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

Fix the citations[edit]

The last few edits by mlross1234 were an improvment but the user screwed up the citations somewhat. The Sachs and Warner 1995 article and the Venables 2016 article need to be added back and cited correctly. I'm too much of a novice to be able to fix it on my own without screwing things up even more! Snooganssnoogans (talk) 22:37, 15 March 2016 (UTC)

Lottery analogy[edit]

I disagree wholly with the inclusion of the 'lottery analogy'. The only people I see it use are journalists who use it as an example of "this thing that seems fantastic can actually be bad for you" and to imply that "poor countries are incompetent". I have never heard of the two professors who wrote the book on Alaska (do they research the resource curse?) nor can I access it. The CGDEV link does not have the interviewed scholars use the analogy, and the rest are journalists using it in the sense I described. Beyond stating what is obvious ("seemingly good thing can actually be bad"), it misleads readers into thinking the resource curse is about incompetent management of the resources (the lottery winner irrationally blowing his winnings on cocaine) when the situation is far more complex, with actors acting in completely rational ways and managing the resources in ways that are good for some but not others. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 19:11, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

Thanks for taking the time to explain your perspective more carefully. I understand your concern, and accordingly deleted the references to child stars and generic newswriters. But the lottery analogy is considerably broader than "childish" or "incompetent" management. The references make clear that even in the best cases, intelligent people are vulnerable to conflicts from advisers, shortsightedness, strained relationships, envious neighbors, etc. It's a complicated situation indeed, and I think most readers intuitively understand this about lottery winners. I can put a few key quotes in the sentence's footnotes, so people can see these points even without clicking through.
As for the big picture, our article has a hundred other sentences discussing the situation's complexities in great detail, including major edits from Menaldo and Ross personally. But we also need to keep in mind that Wikipedia needs to be understandable for a wide audience of general readers without technical training. The article consistently gets more than 100,000 page views per year, and very few of those readers are academic experts. It's entirely appropriate to include a single sentence summarizing a balanced viewpoint ("the lottery analogy has value but also has shortcomings") that we all know is widely published in reliable sources, including five citations from experts who've done professional research on the subject. I see little risk that anyone who reads the Wikipedia article will come away thinking the resource curse is all about incompetence. But if we can get readers to think for a moment, "what would my life be like in ten years if I struck oil in my backyard or won the lottery tomorrow", I think that's a reasonable outcome. —Patrug (talk) 22:05, 13 May 2016 (UTC)