Department of Political Science

Navigation + Search

POSC 371/471 Syllabus

Political Science 371/471
NATURAL RESOURCES AND WORLD POLITICS
Spring 2005 — M-W 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.

Prof. Kenneth Grundy — phone x2646 or e-mail kwg@po.cwru.edu 
Office Hours— M-W-F 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. & by appointment

Whether we realize it or not, the character of international politics has been changing before our eyes. In three important respects, this change has become evident: first, in the increased importance of international economic relationships between actors, especially insofar as they effect the global distribution of power and influence; second, in the rise of a number of new actors on the international scene; and, third, in the growing appreciation that global issues and problems demand global solutions. Washington seems to understand these changes except for number three, which it periodically has to be reminded of, before it flies off to make unilateral mayhem. Cooperation is, in some respect, a valued process these days. These new actors are both governmental and non-governmental organizations. The most obvious has been the multinational corporation, but other equally distinctive organizational forms have emerged or have risen to prominence since World War II. Perhaps it may be erroneous to see them as new. Rather, thanks to our own myopia, we may have failed to realize their presence and importance. Perhaps, as well, it may be premature to characterize the rise of new actors and new processes as altering the fundamental structure and character of international relations. After all, the nation-state is not dead. And strategic and security concerns still dominate international relations today. Just talk for five minutes with people in the White House.

This course on “Natural Resources and World Politics” is designed to introduce the student to the winds of change in global affairs. Under the rubric of Natural Resources and World Politics we can discuss and learn about not only this growing and important issue area in global affairs, but also about some of the general trends in global politics described above.

In the past, I approached this course from a largely western perspective. How did advanced industrialized countries secure the necessary raw materials for their manufacturers or find substitutes or adapt their economies, and how could countries that exported these commodities parlay their access to and control of these resources into economic growth and development and political leverage? But there is another dimension of the natural resource issue in world politics that is creeping onto center stage, silently and largely for we westerners, unnoticed. I refer to the way that resource issues at ostensibly the local and regional levels — water, land, air, food — can destabilize a government or a region and eventually can threaten the good order or civility of the world. Conflicts in less-developed countries are more and more resource contests and less and less ethnic or religious or nationalistic issues. That doesn’t mean that they won’t be expressed in ethnic or in other identity-based terms. But at heart, the conflicts are over scarce resources. The “environment” and localized resource competition may become the national security issue of the 21st century. Surging populations, pandemic disease, deforestation, soil erosion, water depletion and air pollution, to name a few, will prompt violence, mass migration, and conflict among states and peoples. We should examine this likelihood.

In order to make this course generaliziable rather than issue- or commodity-specific, an effort will be made to introduce students to a number of concepts either new to us or used here differently than in the past. Hence a good deal of time will be devoted to the basics of political economy and the matters of international dependence and interdependence. In addition, we shall see how ecological issues intersect with economic and political ones. We all shall be learning on the job.

The course will seek to integrate a number of teaching techniques. Basic to our purposes will be a predominantly lecture/discussion format. The case study method, that is, intense discussion of a single issue, will be employed. And the student’s writing skills will be tested with the requirement that each student write a critical essay in response to an opinion piece that will be distributed in class. We will also have an in-class debate. The instructor will also feel free to distribute, from time to time, worksheets and data sets from which exercises can be performed. If enrolments are sufficiently small, a seminar atmosphere will be established, and that means a good deal of responsibility will be placed on the students to attend, become involved and to lead. Regular attendance is expected and if the instructor notices a pattern of absences he will take steps to change that pattern.

Grades for this course will be calculated from four course components:
Mid-term examination 20%
Final examination 30%
Written assignments 30%
In-class attendance & contributions 20%

For various reasons, it has proven virtually impossible to locate a single, comprehensive text for this course. Hence, the instructor has had to settle for a disparate melange of reading material, the sum total of which does not constitute a neat and complete course package. Required texts are:

Michael T. Klare, Resource Wars. (Metropolitan Books, 2001).
Regina S. Axelrod, David Leonard Downie, and Norman J. Vigs (eds.),
The Global Environment: Institutions, Law, and Policy second edition,
(CQ Press, 2005).

These materials are available at the University Book Store in Thwing Hall.

COURSE OUTLINE

NOTE: * Starred reading assignments are required; other materials are recommended should you wish to pursue a particular subject.

I. INTRODUCTION: THE BASICS OF GLOBAL POLITICAL ECONOMY

A. Principles and Concepts

1. Economic wealth and political power
2. Domestic and international distributions of power
3. Dependence and interdependence
4. Development and economic growth

* Gilpin, “Three Ideologies of Political Economy,” pp. 3-26 (handout).
* James E. Hart & B. Thomas Trout, The Politics of Global Resources,
pp. 3-28 (handout).
Martin I. Glassner, Global Resources, pp. xii-xiii, 1-23.
Stephen Krasner, Defending the National Interest, pp. 3-90.
Marvin Soroos, Beyond Sovereignty: The Challenge of Global Policy (Univ. of South Carolina Press, 1986).

B. The Classics

J.A. Hobson, A Study of Imperialism (1902), pp. 1-115 (speedread).
P.T. Moon, Imperialism and World Politics (1927), pp. 25-31, 58-74, 543-558.
V.I. Lenin, Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism (1917).
T. Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798).
D. Ricardo, Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817).
H.J. Barnett & C. Morse, Scarcity and Growth: The Economics of Natural Resource Availability (1963).

C. Latter-Day Marxists

Glassner, Global Resources, pp. 97-103.
J. Galtung, “A Structural Theory of Imperialism,” Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 8 (1971), pp. 81-117.
A. Gundar Frank, “The Development of Underdevelopment,” pp. 3-17 in J. Cockcroft, A. Gundar Frank, & D.L. Johnson, eds., Dependence and Underdevelopment: The Political Economy of Latin America (1975).
James A. Caporaso, “Dependency Theory,” in Stiles & Akaha (eds.), International Political Economy (1991), pp. 49-64.
Andres Velasco, “The Dustbin of History: Dependency Theory,” Foreign Policy, (Nov./Dec. 2002), 44-45.

D. Western Liberal Analysts

Glassner, Global Resources, pp. 24-96, 108-117.
Bernard D. Nossiter, The Global Struggle for More: Third World Conflicts with Rich Nations (1987).
Ferdinand E. Banks, The Economics of Natural Resources (Plenum Press, 1976).
P.T. Bauer, “Western Guilt and Third World Poverty,” Commentary, Vol. 6, No. 1 (January 1976), pp. 31-38.
R.S. Olson, “Economic Coercion in World Politics,” World Politics (July 1979), pp. 471-494.

II. THE ISSUE: THE UNEVEN DISTRIBUTION OF NATURAL RESOURCES

A. Scarcity?

* “The Dustbin of History: Limits to Growth,” Foreign Policy, (Nov.-Dec
2002), pp. 42-44. (class handout)
* “Is there a Global Environmental Crisis?” and “Does the Global Environmental Movement Threaten Economic Prosperity?”
Debate materials to be distributed in class.
Lester R. Brown, “The Future of Growth,” in World Watch Institute,
State of the World, 1998 (W.W. Norton, 1998), pp. 3-20.
Charles W. Kegley, Jr. & Eugene R. Wittkopf (eds.), The Global Agenda, 5th edition (1998), pp. 438-455, 465-498.
M. Mesarovic & E. Pestel, Mankind At the Turning Point (1974), pp. 83-100.
Nicholas Xenos, Scarcity and Modernity (Routledge, 1989).
John Maddox, The Doomsday Syndrome (1972), pp. 75-110.
Gary Gardner & Payal Sampat, “Forging a Sustainable Materials Economy,” in World Watch Institute, State of the World 1999 (W.W. Norton, 1999), pp. 41-59.
Miriam R. Lowi, Water and Power: The Politics of a Scarce Resource in the Jordan River Basin (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1993).
H.D.S. Cole, ed., Models of Doom (1973), HC59 .M59 1973
Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162 (December 13, 1968), pp. 1243-1248.

B. Distribution: An Inventory

G.J.S. Govett & M.H. Govett, eds. World Mineral Supplies: Assessment and Perspective (1976).
Neil Sampson & Dwight Hair, Natural Resources for the 21st Century (Island Press, 1989)
World Resources Institute, World Resources, 1994-95, pp. 3-42.

C. The Ethical and Cultural Considerations

* Robert D. Kaplan, “The Coming Anarchy,” Atlantic Monthly, February
1994), pp. 44-76 (handout).
* Axelrod et al, pp. 1-20.
Glassner, Global Resources, pp. 104-108, 627-643.
W. Malenbaum, “Scarcity: Prerequisite to Abundance,” The Annals, Vol. 420 (July 1975), pp. 72-85.
B. Fritsch, Growth Limitation and Political Power (1976).
First World Symposium on Energy and Raw Materials: Summary of Proceedings (Paris: CED, 1974).
P. Connelly & R. Perlman, The Politics of Scarcity: Resource Conflicts in International Relations (1975).
Z. Mikdashi, International Politics of Natural Resources (1976).

D. Novick, A World of Scarcities: Critical Issues in Public Policy (1976).

III. THE ACTORS

* Axelrod et al, pp. 21-42, 83-102.

A. The Exporting Countries: Are Resources a Curse or a Blessing?

* Bernard D. Nossiter, The Global Struggle for More (1987), pp. 146- 179 (handout).
* Michael L. Ross, “The Political Economy of the Resource Curse,”
World Politics, v. 51, No. 2 (1999), 297-322. (available on line
through the Univ. library’s e-journals)
Barry Hughes, Energy in the Global Arena (1985), pp. 31-55.

C. Fred Bergsten, “The Threat from the Third World,” Foreign Policy, No. 11 (Summer 1973), pp. 102-124.
Bergsten, “The Threat Is Real,” Foreign Policy, No. 14 (Spring 1974), pp. 84-90.
D.H. Smith, Negotiating Third World Mineral Agreements: Promises As Prologue (Cambridge, Mass.: Ballinger, 1978).
Terry Lynn Karl, The Paradox of Plenty: Oil Booms and Petro-States (Univ. of California Press, 1997).
S. Sideri & S. Johns, eds. Mining for Development in the Third World (1980).

B. The Importing Countries

1. The Developed First and Second World

Zubayer Mikdashi, “Collusion Could Work,” Foreign Policy, No. 14 (Spring 1974), pp. 57-68.
Raymond Vernon, Two Hungry Giants: The United States and Japan in the Quest for Oil and Ores (1983).
William Nester, The War for America’s Natural Resources (St. Martin’s Press, 1997).
Stephen D. Krasner, Defending the National Interest: Raw Materials Investments and U.S. Foreign Policy (Princeton Univ. Press, 1978).

2. Undeveloped Third and Fourth World

P.G. Ridker, ed., Changing Resource Problems of the Fourth World (Resources for the Future).
“Mining Indigenous Lands: Can Impacts and Benefits Be Reconciled?” Cultural Survival Quarterly, v. 25, no. 1 (2001), entire issue.

C. The Multinational Corporations

Peter B. Evans, “National Autonomy and Economic Development: Critical Perspectives on Multinational Corporations in Poor Countries,” International Organization, Vol. 25, No. 3 (1971), pp. 675-692.
Raymond Vernon, “Multinational Business and National Economic Goals,” in Ibid., pp. 693-705.
[Note numerous other articles in same issue of International Organization]
Abdul A. Said & Luis R. Simmons, eds., The New Sovereigns: Multinational Corporations As World Powers (Prentice-Hall, 1975).
R.C. Keohane, “Not ‘Innocents Abroad’,” Comparative Politics (January 1976), pp. 307-320.
S. Kaufer, The Last Empire: DeBeers, Diamonds and the World (Farras Strauss, Giroux, 1993).
William Nester, American Industrial Policy: Free or Managed Markets? (St. Martins Press, 1997).
Richard L. West, River of Tears (1974), a fascinating company history of Rio Tinto Zinc (RTZ).
Lester C. Thurow, The Future of Capitalism: How Today’s Economic Forces Shape Tomorrow’s World (Morrow, 1996).
David Osterberg & Fouad Ajami, “The Multinational Corporation: Expanding the Frontiers of World Politics,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 15, No. 4, pp. 457-470.
Richard J. Barnett & Ronald E. Muller, Global Reach: The Power of the Multinational Corporations (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1974), especially see pp. 123-147.

D. International Organizations

* Axelrod, pp. 43-63, 64-82.
Odell, pp. 189-282.
D.A. Rustow & J.F. Mugno, OPEC: Success and Prospects (New York University Press, 1976).
Oran R. Young, International Cooperation: Building Regimes for Natural Resources and the Environment (Cornell Univ Press, 1989)
Z. Mikdashi, The International Politics of Natural Resources, pp. 51-147.

IV. COMMODITY TRADE: WHO DETERMINES PRICING AND PRODUCTION LEVELS AND WHY?

A. Free Market Price Factors
B. MNCs and Vertical Integration: Transfer Pricing
C. Inter-Corporation Cooperation
D. Cooperation among Exporting Countries
E. Exporter-Consumer Cooperation
F. Cooperation among Importing Governments

* Axelrod et al, pp. 146-162.
Glassner, pp. 245-395.
Joshua S. Goldstein et al, “Energy in the World Economy, 1950-1992,” International Studies Quarterly, v. 41, no. 2 (June, 1997), pp. 241-266.
Ian Skeet, OPEC: Twenty-Five Years of Prices and Politics (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1988).
Daniel Yergin, The Prize: The Epic Conquest of Oil, Money and Power (Simon & Schuster, 1991).
Bernard Nossiter, The Global Struggle for More (1987), pp. 146-179.
Richard N. Cooper,”Trade Policy Is Foreign Policy,” Foreign Policy, No. 9 (Winter 1972-73), pp. 18-36.
Edward R. Fried, “International Trade in Raw Materials: Myths and Realities,” Science, Vol. 191 (February 20, 1976), pp. 641-646.
H. Willrich & P.M. Marston, “Prospects for a Uranium Cartel,” Orbis, Vol. 19 (Spring 1976), pp. 166-184.
K.W. Clarfield, et al., Eight Mineral Cartels: The New Challenge to Industrialized Nations (New York: Metals Week, 1975?).
Mesarovic & Pestel, Mankind At the Turning Point, pp. 101-144, 130-142.
Jagdish N. Bhagwati, ed., The New International Economic Order: The North-South Debate (M.I.T. Press, 1977).

V. STRATEGIC CONSIDERATIONS

A. Dependence on Raw Materials for Military Viability
B. Access to Purchases and Supply
C. Security of Supply Routes
D. Stockpiling for Strategic Purposes
E. Does It Change U.S. Foreign Policy?

* Michael T. Klare, Resource Wars, read all.
Thomas Homer-Dixon, Environment, Scarcity, and Violence (Princeton
University Press, 1999).
Miriam R. Lowi, Water and Power: The Politics of a Scarce Resource in the Jordan River Basin (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1993).
Tony Allen, The Middle East Water Question: Hydropolitics and the Global Economy (I.B.Tauris, 2001).
W. Schneider, Food, Foreign Policy, and Raw Materials Cartels (Crane, Russak, 1976).
Ralph W. Marsden, ed., Politics, Minerals, and Survival (University of Wisconsin Press, 1975).
Bruce W. Jentleson, Pipeline Politics: The Complex Political Economy of East-West Energy Trade (Cornell University Press, 1987).
Philippe Le Billon, “The Political Ecology of War: Natural Resources and Armed Conflicts,” Political Geography, v. 20 (2001), pp. 561-84 (on line at Univ. Library’s e-journal site).

VI. THE ENVIRONMENT: POPULATION CONTROL VS. MATERIALIST CULTURE

A. The Actors
B. The Issues
C. The Intersection with Economics
D. The Global Agenda for the Future

* Axelrod et al, pp. 103-145, 163-180, 181-243.
David Victor et al (eds.), The Implementation and Effectiveness of
International Environmental Commitments (MIT Press, 1998).
William Ophuls & A. Stephen Boyan, Jr., Ecology and the Politics of
Scarcity Revisited (Freeman, 1992).
Jessica Tuchman Mathews (ed), Preserving the Global Environment:
The Challenge of Shared Leadership (W,W, Norton,1991).
Barry Commoner, Making Peace with the Planet (The New
Press,1992).

VII. THE SEA BED: PANACEA OR PANDORA’S BOX

A. What Is the Seabed?
B. Resource Prospects
C. Conflicting Interests
D. The Law of the Sea Conferences

Glassner, pp. 136-146, 533-626.
Bernard Nossiter, The Global Struggle for More, pp. 76-106.
Roger D. Hansen, “The North-South Split and the Law of the Sea Debate,” in Perspectives on Ocean Policy: Conference on Conflict and Order in Ocean Relations (Airlie, Va.: October 21-24, 1974, Government Printing Office, 1976), pp. 109-134.
C. Fred Bergsten, “Commodity Shortages and the Ocean,” in Ibid., pp. 167-178.
Lewis Alexander, “Geographical Factors and the Pattern of Alignment,” in Ibid., pp. 317-330.
[Several other good chapters also in that collection.]
Alexander Merle Post, Deepsea Mining and the Law of the Sea (Nijhoff, 1983)
J.N. Barkenbus, “International Conflict over Resources: The Case of Manganese Nodules,” Orbis, Vol. 19 (Spring 1976), pp. 185-199.
B. Buzan, Seabed Politics (Praeger, 1976).
J.T. Swing, “Who Will Own the Oceans?” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 54 (April 1976), pp. 527-546.
Bernard Oxman, David D. Caron, & Charles O. Buderi, eds. Law of the Sea: U.S. Policy Dilemma (ICS Press, 1983).

VII. ANTARCTICA AND OUTER SPACE
A. Whose is it?
B. Resource Potential?
C. Conflicting Interests

Philip W. Quigg, Antarctica: The Continuing Experiment (Foreign Policy Association, Headline Series No. 273, 1985).

Page last modified: February 2, 2015