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Framing the past, present, and future: A political economy of dependencies and vulnerabilities for natural resource-producing regions

Authors: Greg Halseth*, U Of Northern British Columbia, Sean Markey, Simon Fraser University , Neil Argent, University of New England , Fiona Haslam McKenzie, University of Western Australia, Laura Ryser, U Of Northern British Columbia
Topics: Rural Geography, Resources, Regional Geography
Keywords: rural, resource dependence, economic restructuring, public policy
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Resource-dependent rural and small-town regions within most industrialized states have experience considerable and ongoing political, economic, and social change over the past 40 years. Triggered by the global economic recession of the early 1980s, and accelerated after the global economic recession began in 2008, many regions have experienced the economic downsizing, collapse, or outright closure of historically important resource industries. These economic outcomes have impacted a host of community and regional development issues. At the same time, a few regions have experienced significant economic (if at times short-lived) booms – especially around the exploitation of hydrologic tracking technology and the mobilization of liquefied natural gas. This paper sets out a framework of theoretical constructs useful for: 1) interpreting the different eras of resource development that have unfolded since the end of the Second World War in developed economies; and 2) interpreting the impacts of changes in the way public policy has engaged with the challenge of resource-dependent regional change and development. This framework highlights that the underlying dependencies and vulnerabilities of a resource-focused regional economy not only persist but have been exacerbated by processes of globalization even while the public policy capacity to address those dependencies and vulnerabilities has been weakened.

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