Scarcity, Frontiers and Development

The Geographical Journal, Vol. 178, No. 2, February 2012

Posted: 8 Aug 2012

See all articles by Edward B. Barbier

Edward B. Barbier

Colorado State University, Fort Collins - Department of Economics

Date Written: February 1, 2012

Abstract

Resource and land frontiers have always been a significant focus of geography but have become overlooked in economics and economic history. Yet a critical driving force behind global economic development has been the response of human society to natural resource scarcity, not just through conserving scarce resources but also by obtaining and developing more of them. A handful of theories of how such classic frontier expansion has shaped economic development have been formulated, and these are discussed and reviewed. Evidence from history is cited to illustrate these effects, and the implications for resource-based development in the Contemporary Era (1950 to present) are discussed. Unlike previous eras, the pattern of frontier expansion is dualistic. This has led to less economy-wide benefits from frontier-based development in the Contemporary Era.

Keywords: dualistic frontier, economic geography, frontier expansion, land and resource frontiers, natural resource scarcity, resource-based development

Suggested Citation

Barbier, Edward B., Scarcity, Frontiers and Development (February 1, 2012). The Geographical Journal, Vol. 178, No. 2, February 2012 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2126702

Edward B. Barbier (Contact Author)

Colorado State University, Fort Collins - Department of Economics ( email )

Fort Collins, CO 80523-1771
United States

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