Show Less

Macroeconomics and the Environment

Essays on Green Accounting

Salah El Serafy

Though scientists and environmentalists have long expressed concern over the rapid deterioration of the global environment, economists have largely failed to recognize the issue’s relevance to their field. Salah El Serafy argues for an increased focus on the economic aspects of environmental degradation, calling for a fundamental shift in how economists measure and discuss national income.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 18: The ‘resource curse’: institutions and Dutch disease

Essays on Green Accounting

Salah El Serafy


A fairly extensive literature has grown around a dubious phenomenon called a ‘resource curse’ – a fable in my view that suggests that countries endowed with commercially exploitable natural resources would be better off without them. Belief in the resource curse and arguments for its existence provide a vivid illustration of an unfortunate blend of faulty national accounting and defective reasoning, leading to an untenable generalization that does not stand up to scrutiny. It is curious, it may be remarked, that the word ‘curse’ should at all enter the language of economic inquiry in the way it has done, and it is interesting that some of its most serious challengers have come from outside economics. In common parlance a curse usually denotes a baffling malevolent occurrence attributable to forces beyond understanding, and has to be driven out, or ‘exorcized’, by extra-human powers. The recurrent use of the expression in economic discourse gives the impression that neither its origins nor its possible cures are fully understood. Thus there is a presumption that this phenomenon is not amenable to reasoned analysis with the implicit denial that its symptoms can be counteracted with economic policy measures. The result is that several authors, observing the unsatisfactory economic performance of many natural-resource-based countries, seem to abandon economic thinking and attempt to blame what they see as adverse manifestations of extra-economic factors.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.