Joint Comittee International Polar Year 2007-08 (Ekstern organisation)

Winther, G. (Medlem)

    Aktivitet: MedlemskabMedlemskab af udvalg, kommission, råd, nævn, forening, organisation eller lignende


    The Political Economy of Northern Development

    The Overarching problems to be adressed by the project relates to the impact of globalization, privatization and liberalization. The Arctic regions still in most cases are characterized by economic dependence on centres in the South, which dominate trade patterns and capital movements. Hence, the main research question is related to both positive and negative impacts of the global economy. In terms of the global impact on the possibility to promote self-reliance and independence the Arctic regions international competitiveness becomes of paramount importance. Can the regions promote a supply of goods and services competitive with imported goods and services? Does diversification matter at all here? Is the trade concentration both in terms of goods and services and geographically a constraint to the regions ability to compete and develop? Can the trade movements South-North and deficits on trade balances be reversed if inter-polar Trade is strengthened? And is the alleged inferior productivity patterns of the North, when compared to the typical OECD economy a myth or a reality? What could promote productivity – technology, human and real capital, workplace relations or participation in ownership and decision making? Is technology and Capital as is the case in most economies, the main explanation to the development hitherto? Besides these main stream approaches to the problems og competitiveness and development the controversy on explanations to a seeemingly low development potential needs elucidation. Two main questions is raised in relation to the dispute. Is this a ‘a system problem’ or a ‘resource problem’? In terms of comparative economic systems, the regions have had many development visions imposed on them from the ‘laissez faire’ economy via mixed economies to a central command type planned economy (Greenland in the sixties). Arctic regions often see a higher degree of Government involvement than in the ‘typical’ OECD economy, which has spurred reform pressures pointing to free trade and liberated capital movements as ‘the solution’. The arguments of the critics of the existing structures emphasizes, that lack of privatization and liberalization is the explanation to a low degree of competitiveness and development. In terms of Geography the other explanation points to extreme climate conditions. Is the availability of living and non-ling resources sufficient to increase value added and decrease the dependence on transfer incomes? Does education and human resources creates new potentials in the development process? Nevertheless, globalization is only the first approach to an analysis of Arctic regions international competitiveness. Second comes the local approach, which of course cannot entirely be separated from the impact of globalization, privatization and liberalization. The gist of the matter here refers to settlement patterns in Arctic regions. Optimal patterns bears on urbanization and the move from villages to larger towns, which often is concidered desirable in order to promote growth and development. Centralization may pertain to Urbanization itself. Yet, it as well concerns political and economic decision making and power. Deficiency in terms of local participation and self-government creates alienated behavioral patterns, and may cause a loss of efficiency due to less motivation and resignation in local communities far away from the global and regional centres of economic and political power. An ‘institutionalization of inferiority’ may seem ‘flimsy’, when it comes to hard core main stream economics. It is however a factor that cannot be neclected as an economic factor in Arctic regions, and this raises the question on transferability of economic system models developed in other cultural circumstances, be it the free market, the regulated market or the central planning model. It has often been conjectured, whether inuit cultural values based on community and co-operation requires an alternative system or not, and this raises the question of democratic ownership and co-operative societies, which seems to fit better to these values than capitalist and etatist models. How well have democratic ownership fared in Arctic communities and can it spur competitivenes and development to an even larger degree than the ‘imported models’? Moreover, the centralization-decentralization issue empirically puts comparisons on the cost per capita of running the small settlements and the the cost per capita of moving people and running larger towns on the agenda. The costs of population concentration are not pure economic in the short run, because the migration in itself causes social problems and hence social complaints that in the long run in a cost-benefit setting may be costly. The subsistence economy in local communities represents a neclected and unknown share of the regional GDP often neclected in national income accounting. Actually the regional national income is underestimated because country food is shared in the family or among local households as a substitute for commercialised food items imported from ‘the south’. Additionally in terms of balance of payment accounting this type of consumption represents an import substitution, that will decrease as local people moves into larger industrialized centres of the regions. In terms of data compilation and statistics the consortium behind this project proposal has access to different data bases. A collaboration with ‘Arcticstat’ and ‘Econor’ is established during the workshop in Ilulissat, where a group of economists, statisticians, political scientists and sociologists worked on this proposal. Additionally, we are seeking collaboration with an expert group under the North Atlantic Group in the Danish Parliament established in order to analyze the monetary flows within the Danish Kingdom. We have established collaboration with the survey of arctic living conditions (SLICA) in order to look into social accounting matrices for the Arctic regions, and finally we expect to collaborate with local governments and regional statistical bureaus. We expect both compilation problems and a conciderable ‘data cleaning’ task. Yet the composition of our network represents scientists with experience in solving these problems.
    Bibliografisk note:
    Navn: Activity Leader

    Body type: International samfundsvidenskabeligt polarforskernetværk
    Periode1 maj 200531 dec. 2008
    Sted for afholdelseJoint Comittee International Polar Year 2007-08
    Grad af anerkendelseInternational