Complementary and Competitive Regimes of Accumulation: Natural Resources and Development in the World-System
AbstractDuring the post-war period, natural resource production has often been associated withperipheralization in the world-economy. This paper seeks to demonstrate that this associationdoes not hold when examined from a long-term perspective, and explains the conditions underwhich natural resource production can support upward economic mobility in the world-system.First, this paper provides evidence that the production of cash crops and resource extraction hasnot always equaled peripheralization in the world-economy, as demonstrated by, among otherthings, the upward economic mobility of the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealandduring the nineteenth century. It then puts forth a new hypothesis that the existence ofopportunities for raw material producing countries depends on whether the hegemonic regime ofaccumulation at a given time structures the economy in a way that is either complementary orcompetitive to the economic development of raw material producing countries. By examining theBritish centered regime of accumulation during the nineteenth century, we find that it wascomparatively complementary to economic development in raw material producing countrieswhereas the twentieth century United States centered regime was comparatively competitive withraw material producers. Based on a comparison with Britain and the United States, the paperalso suggests that Chinas increasingly central role in the world-economy may be comparativelycomplementary to economic development in raw material producing countries.
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