Still Digging: Extractive Industries, Resource Curses, and Transnational Governance in the Anthropocene
Humanity is now a geophysical force, as influential on the earth ecosystem function as other major ecosystem functions. Few things are better at illustrating the recently popularized “Anthropocene” concept than the aggregate scale and ecological implications of the extractive industries. This analysis is organized into five sections. The first briefly discusses environmental, humanitarian, and security challenges surrounding the extractive industries and their governance. The next focuses briefly on the oil and gas sector, including illustrative boxes about Nigeria’s Niger Delta, U.S. pipeline and oil shale politics, and recent debates about what some call the global “scramble” for oil and gas. Next, the paper turns attention to mining, the less famous side of the global extractive industries sector. This section includes boxes on diamonds and the “Kimberley process” and coltan controversies. The latter two sections focus discussion on the resource curse and several proposed solutions to it, and a broad discussion of existing state and non-state led efforts to improve extractive industries’ governance.