March 2014

Hooked on commodities



The economies of the South were warped by colonialism. The colony's role was to ship raw materials to the imperial 'centre' - and to provide a market for manufactured exports from the centre. Eduardo Galeano, in his classic Open Veins of Latin America, described this dynamic as 'the endless chain of dependency'.

Decolonization didn't help. Corrupt local politicians, profit-driven corporations and a global trading system tilted to favour the rich nations meant that the 'extractive model' of development bypassed the majority.

Next month's issue of New Internationalist examines the world's voracious appetite for raw materials and the explosive growth of mineral exploration around the globe. Commodity prices surged from 2002 to 2012 during the 'commodities super cycle'. But will this boom continue and will it make a difference in a global system stacked against the poor nations?

We look at commodity dependency from East Kalimantan, to Madagascar, to Canada's tar sands and ask what that means for communities whose lands and livelihoods are threatened.

And we try to answer the most pressing question of all: how can countries control and manage their natural resources for the greater good?

南の国々の経済は、植民地主義によってゆがめられた。植民地の役割は、それを含む帝国の「中心」へ原材料を送りこむこと、そしてその「中心」が輸出する工業製品の市場を提供することであった。エドゥアルド・ガレアーノはその代表作Open Veins of Latin America(邦訳:『収奪された大地―ラテンアメリカ500年』)の中で、この力学を「終わりなき依存の連鎖」と表現している。


今月のNew Internationalistでは、原料に対するどん欲な欲求と世界に広がる資源採掘の爆発的増加について探る。

国際商品相場の価格は、2002年から2012年の「国際商品のスーパーサイクル」*の間に急騰したが、このブームは今後続いていくのだろうか? また、貧しい国々に不利な条件を突きつけているグローバルなシステムは変わるのだろうか?










Stories making the news this month
6 TTIP-ing point
6 Fridge fatigue in Ghana
6 15 years ago... in New Internationalist
7 Reintroducing Sheikh Hasina
7 Pastries against poverty
7 Lock up your genitals
8 Nuns, ministers, priests and babies
8 South Sudan war-torn again
9 Sexism movie ratings
9 Oil-free art
PLUS: Scratchy Lines by cartoonist Simon Kneebone and
Reasons to be Cheerful.

The Big Story
10 The pitfalls of resource wealth
Natural resource wealth isn't always a blessing. As Wayne Ellwood discovers, sometimes it can be just the opposite.

14 Sticky business
Canada has put all its eggs into one big basket full of tar sands. That's a major mistake, argues Andrew Nikiforuk - for the country and the planet.

17 A tsingular beauty
Kara Moses reports on plans to dig bitumen in Madagascar.

18 Commodities and dependency - THE FACTS

20 No joy in soy
Demand for genetically modified soy is changing the face of Argentina. And not for the better, says Eilis O'Neill.

22 Touch the earth
The global conflict between indigenous rights and mining companies. By Jen Wilton.

24 King coal runs amok
Alex Scrivener guides us through the coal-ravaged landscape of East Kalimantan.
Mixed Media
28 Music reviews
Soutak by Aziza Brahim; Coin
Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile by Matana Roberts..

29 Film reviews
The Rocket, directed by Kim Mordaunt; Bastards, directed by Claire Denis; Stranger By The Lake, directed by Alain Guiraudie.

30 Book reviews
Baghdad Central by Elliott Colla; Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor; Invisible Women of Prehistory by Judy Foster with Marlene Derlet; The Poverty of Capitalism by John Hilary.
PLUS: Also out there...

33 Chris Coltrane
Money-making and morality are seldom bedfellows.
PLUS: Polyp's Big Bad World cartoon.
37 Mark Engler
The winter of the climate denier.

Regular Features
4 Letters
5 Letter from Bangui
Local interpretation of the war is more nuanced than that of Western journalists, says Ruby Diamonde.
26 Country Profile: Iran
38 And Finally
Investigative journalism is a dangerous, but essential, job in El Salvador, Oscar Martinez tells Graeme Green.




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