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How nations fare in using natural resources

mineral deposits around the world

The private and public sectors have miserably failed to ensure sustainable natural resource management because both have mostly sought to secure short-term revenues. Despite the sweet promises of “Good corporate governance” and “High-quality technical institutions”, irresponsible extraction, corporate greed and corruption on both sides of the market, and a highly biased global materials flow have caused resource depletion, irreversible environmental damage and climate change.

When some wealth-endowed nations fell short of making the most of opportunities, others stepped up. What should have been a blessing for the formers was twisted into a so-called “Resource Curse”.

To remove bottlenecks that prevent transforming low-priced natural raw materials into high-priced processed goods, locally on sovereign soils; nations gifted with natural resources must improve education, increase risk-tolerance (invest in domestic R&D) and encourage transparency and economic independency in addition to long-term planning.

The relative reluctance of some cultures to suborn social and cultural norms to reaching ruthless business goals is one more tool to rein in excessive resource extraction, and to frame policies that serve higher purposes.

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