Investing to Empower or Deteriorate? A Critical Assessment of the Dialectical Relationship Between Poverty and Mineral Mining in Ghana
23 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2011 Last revised: 3 Apr 2011
Conventional knowledge would suggest that the richer a country is in its natural resource, the better off it will be economically. The common prose these days is that countries will do better if they integrate into the world economy through trade liberalization, privation, deregulation, and a general openness to foreign investments. This idea hinges benefits such as improved output, better living standards for the populace, and overall economic growth. However, the growing trend of economic globalization (in this context transnational mining investments) is met with many complexities. A major aspect of the paradox resides in the relationship between profit-making and sustainable development. Can a company that seeks to maximise its returns be trusted to be an agent of development? What are the ramifications of mining – economically, socially, politically and environmentally? How are lives impacted by mining? Evidence from mineral-rich countries, especially in the global South, show that the most endowed countries are in some kind of a 'curse'. Be it a result of conflict, misappropriation, rent-seeking or the lack of social responsibility on the part of companies, these countries are among some of the poorest in the world. This paper seeks to evaluate the dialectical relationship between poverty and mining by arguing for proper 'safety nets' that will decrease levels of poverty, inequality and social injustice, and also make companies operate in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.
Keywords: development, mining, social, environment, corporate social responsibility
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