Commentary
Natural resources and development – which histories matter?
in History, historians and development policy

This chapter presents a distinction between 'natural resources' in general (including fertile soil and balmy climates) and what are usually labelled 'point natural resources', i.e. resources like oil, gas, minerals and deep shaft diamonds. To more fully understand the political dynamics of the contemporary 'resource curse', it provides a little schematic economic history. The history of mining in Africa is certainly driven by rents, including the political privileges that they can buy and the political competition and conflicts that they generate. History is not a pristine discipline unaffected by contemporary developments in economics and other social sciences. As in the real world of international trade, intellectual imports, exports and re-exports among disciplines need to be encouraged but also monitored for potential hazards.

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