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Introduction: Civil Society, Public Debate and Natural Resource Management


Abstract and Figures

This introductory chapter establishes the analytical framework for the edited volume. The literature on the resource curse and institutions is briefly discussed, along with the work on civil society and the public sphere by Almond and Verba, Dahl, Habermas and Putnam. Drawing on these classics, the theoretical concept of ‘public brainpower’ is formulated. The main pillar of public brainpower is polycentricity, or the coexistence of many different public actors freely expressing their thoughts: individual citizens, political parties, trade unions, charities, companies, research institutes, religious institutions, mass media and government institutions. The more polycentric a society is, the greater is its brainpower: its memory becomes more comprehensive and multifaceted, different actors can perform quality control of each other’s ideas and arguments, and it is more difficult to repress challenging views. Above all, a polycentric society has a broader base for creativity. The greater the public brainpower of a society, the better its management of natural resources. Finally, the book's 18 case studies of oil- and gas-producing countries are briefly presented, along with the methodology and definitions of key terminology used throughout the volume.
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© e Author(s) 2018
I. Overland (ed.), Public Brainpower,
Introduction: Civil Society, Public
Debate andNatural Resource
The Paradox ofPlenty
Between 1980 and 2015, the world produced altogether 980 billion bar-
rels of oil, worth a total of USD 54 trillion.1 For the biggest exporters—
such as Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates—oil has
generated export revenues on a scale that other countries can only dream
of. However, if these revenues are badly managed, not only do they go to
waste, but the countries may be even worse o than they would have
been otherwise. is is the ‘paradox of plenty’ (Karl 1997), which has
become almost a cliché, giving rise to what Bebbington (2013, 4) calls a
‘cottage industry’ of publications on how natural resource wealth aects
societies.2 ere has been less interest in the opposite relationship: how
dierent societal congurations inuence the management of natural
resources. is book therefore ips the independent and dependent vari-
ables of the resource curse literature, so that society becomes the
I. Overland (*)
Head of the Energy Programme, Norwegian Institute of International Aairs
(NUPI), Oslo, Norway
independent variable and the management of natural resource wealth the
dependent variable.
e literature that does exist on this relationship holds that soci-
etalinstitutions are important for how natural resources are governed,
but rarely goes into detail (see, e.g. Bulte et al. 2005; Mehlum et al.
2006). Many studies of institutions and the resource curse seek to deter-
mine whether institutions inuence how resource revenues impact the
economic development of countries. It mostly nds that having stronger
institutions puts a country in a better position to handle its resource rev-
enues.3 is amounts to a ‘winner takes all’ logic: countries that happen
to have strong social and political institutions before the discovery of
valuable natural resources are more likely to manage the ensuing revenues
successfully—whereas countries without strong institutions in place
before resource revenues start owing are ‘cursed’.4 is argument has a
fatalistic ring: what you have is what you get. e literature has less to say
about why some countries have good institutions or how countries with-
out such institutions might go about creating them. As Rosser (2006)
noted, there is a lack of research into what specic social and political
preconditions facilitate the good governance of natural resources.
Much of the literature does not even discuss how to dene a ‘strong’
institution. In fact, some central works on institutions and the resource
curse even fail to dene what an ‘institution’ is in the rst place—for
example, Mehlum etal.’s (2006) much-quoted article ‘Institutions and
the Resource Curse’. is is surprising, since ‘institution’ may refer to
anything from highly formalized events and organizational structures,
such as elections and ministerial bureaucracies, to entirely informal pat-
terns of cultural behaviour. (e narrower denition used in this book is
presented towards the end of this chapter.)
How Big Is Your Brain?
With this book, I attempt to ll the gap in the literature by assessing the
following hypothesis: it is not only formal aspects ofinstitutions that are
important for the success of natural resource governance but also their
embeddedness in a conducive socio-political context and the dynamism
I. Overland
of the long-term process of institution creation and re-creation. is
implies that successful management of natural resources depends on free-
dom of speech, a dynamic and wide-ranging public debate through mul-
tiple independent media channels and an active civil society engaged in
natural resource issues. Without these elements, a resource-rich country
is less likely to develop appropriate and eective institutions for manag-
ing its resource wealth.
e hypothesis inspires a theoretical concept that I refer to as ‘public
brainpower’. e main pillar of public brainpower is polycentricity, or
the coexistence of many dierent public actors freely expressing their
views: individual citizens, political parties, trade unions, charities, com-
panies, research institutes, religious institutions, the mass media and gov-
ernment institutions. e more polycentric a society is, the greater is its
‘brainpower’: its memory becomes more comprehensive and multifac-
eted, the various actors can perform quality control on each other’s ideas
and arguments, and it is more dicult to repress challenging thoughts.
Above all, a polycentric society oers a broader base for creativity. us,
the concept of public brainpower highlights the importance of creativity
to successful long-term governance—a point often overlooked in the lit-
erature on governance and certainly in the literature on natural resource
e concept of public brainpower draws inspiration from the work by
Almond and Verba (1965) on civic culture, by Dahl (1956, 1989) on
polyarchy, by Habermas (1962) on the public sphere, and by Putnam
(1995, 2000) and Putnam etal. (1994) on civil society and social capital.
ese classics provide theoretical inspiration beyond the narrower and
more contemporary literature on institutions and the resource curse dis-
cussed above.
With their work on civic culture, Almond and Verba (1965) made a
breakthrough in the study of political culture. ey held that the popula-
tions of dierent countries have dierent attitudes and expectations
towards the state and their own participation in its aairs, and that these
attitudes determine how well states function. is is similar to the con-
cept of public brainpower but involves a stronger element of cultural
1 Introduction: Civil Society, Public Debate andNatural Resource...
Polyarchy literally means ‘rule by many’ and was used by Dahl (1989,
220) to describe a political system that is open to contestation and in
which many dierent actors, though not necessarily all, can inuence the
system. However, polyarchy relates primarily to elections and non-
coercion in politics and to members of society as individuals with indi-
vidual rights—none of which are major foci in this book. My interest is
rather in the degree of multipolarity that exists in such a system and its
contribution to good governance: how dierent social units contribute
multiple competing voices to the governance of society and not only
through the narrow connes of electoral politics.
e concept of public brainpower is also closely related to that of the
‘public sphere’ as dened by Habermas (1962): a historical space between
the private domain and the state, where citizens could engage as equals
in critical discussion about the state and society and inuence their
development in the process. In the words of Habermas (1962, xi), this
was ‘a sphere in which state authority was publicly monitored through
informed and critical discourse by the people’. However, he saw the
public sphere as something specic to bourgeois society in the late eigh-
teenth and early nineteenth centuries, inextricably linked to face-to-face
conversations between small groups of middle-class citizens, undis-
turbed by the mass media and their commercialization. e classic locus
of the Habermasian public sphere was a café or salon where people
engaged in debates about art and literature. By contrast, my interest is in
contemporarypublic debate, regardless of whether it is face-to-face or
through the mass media and specically how it aects natural resource
Finally, Putnams work on civil society and social capital is highly rel-
evant for this book (Putnam 2000; Putnam etal. 1994). Drawing on the
tradition of de Tocqueville, he sees civil society (including activities like
bowling or visiting friends) as helping to create social capital in the form
of trust and shared values (Putnam 2000). According to this line of
thought, a society with a high level of social capital is more cohesive and
functions better. e main connection between an active civil society and
good governance is the presence of stronger networks, norms and trust,
which enable society and the state to work together constructively, result-
ing in better governance (Putnam etal. 1994).
I. Overland
By referring to ‘public brainpower’, rather than simply recycling the
terminology of Dahl, Habermas or Putnam, I aim to highlight the capac-
ity of the public to aid decision-makers in the governance of society: the
strengths inherent in a diverse civil society and public debate, and on
which the state can draw to govern more eectively. A polycentric society
is brimming with tensions and contradictions, and the sum of its often-
opposing parts constitutes a capacity for thought not found among nar-
rower elites on their own. In a thriving democracy, this point may seem
obvious, even banal—but in many nondemocratic states, decision- makers
seem unaware of such a perspective. e international discourse about
democracy and free speech that such leaders normally encounter is con-
cerned with human rights and their infringement,that is to say,with eth-
ics. is book focuses instead on free speech as a tool for eective
management of natural resources.
Sources ofInspiration
An important source of inspiration for the hypothesis outlined above is
the case of Norwegian petroleum governance. e strength of institu-
tions in Norway seems to lie not primarily in their design or content, but
in the open and dynamic public debate in which they are embedded. It
appears that Norway has been relatively successful in developing good
institutions because it has open public debates that function as a continu-
ous collective brainstorming for the creation of new institutions while
securing public scrutiny of existing ones. e unfettered involvement of
many independent actors in the public debate ensures a broad and varied
base for conceiving new institutions, checks and balances on existing
institutions, and the continuous evolution of institutions apace with the
shifting needs of society and of the petroleum sector (see Berreord and
Heum 1990, 34).
Norwegian petroleum institutions are constantly evolving and adapt-
ing to new conditions and knowledge. Changes in these institutions just
in the period 2006–2016 aected almost every level of the country’s
petroleum governance system: the tax deductibility of oil exploration
costs, the share of state ownership of the national oil company, the
1 Introduction: Civil Society, Public Debate andNatural Resource...
opening and closure of geographical areas for oil and gas exploration,
investment rules for the sovereign wealth fund and limits on how much
of the fund can be spent each year. Both the frequency of such changes
and the broad public debate preceding them are indicators of
Within the Norwegian context, a particular source of inspiration for
this book has been the aid programme ‘Oil for Development’, launched
in 2005. rough this programme, the Norwegian Agency for
Development Cooperation (NORAD) assists prospective oil-producing
states in getting a good start and trying to avoid the resource curse by
supporting the development of petroleum-sector institutions before the
oil revenue start pouring in. In practice, much of the work of this aid
programme has been implicitly or explicitly about how to emulate
Norway’s institutions of petroleum governance. During the early years of
the programme, petroleum-sector institutions tended to be treated as
something that could be copied from one country to another—with
some adjustment for local conditions, but without any attempts to alter
the broader socio-political context in those countries (NORAD 2012,
1–3; Lopez Peralta 2009, 78; Flemming etal. 2007; Ekern 2005). One
reason seems to have been the requirement that the aid programme be
demand-driven, with the recipient states having the nal say over its con-
tent. e governments of recipient states were not necessarily interested
in complicated information about the Norwegian socio-political system
that might alsoraise questions about their own rule. Quick technocratic
petroleum-sector xes seemed more attractive.
In addition to the eorts of the Oil for Development programme to
spread the gospel of Norwegian petroleum-sector institutions, there have
been cases of countries trying on their own initiative to emulate the suc-
cessful institutions of Norway. For example, the USD 880 billion
Norwegian oil fund—formally the foreign assets branch of the Norwegian
Pension Fund—has been cited as an important source of inspiration for
the sovereign wealth funds of countries such as Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan
(Tsani 2015, 95; NBIM 2017; Ramirez-Cendrero and Wirth 2016).
According to Olsen and Peters (1996, vii), ‘public organizations in one
country sometimes are able to learn from their peers in other countries
(emphasis added). However, as argued by Humphreys and Sandbu (2007,
I. Overland
226), the political and institutional context may be decisive for the per-
formance of such funds. As long as Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan have
socio-political contexts fundamentally dierent from those of Norway,
their institutions cannot necessarily be expected to function like those of
Countries that attempt to emulate others risk falling into the same trap
as the Soviet Union. Although the USSR excelled at basic natural science
and was reasonably successful as an industrial manufacturer, it was weaker
when it came to generating its own new technologies (Balzer 1989).
Individual scientists and citizens had original ideas, but, apart from mili-
tary applications, few of these ideas were ever developed into mass-
produced products available to the Soviet population, let alone the world
market. Even the rst Soviet nuclear bomb, detonated in 1949, drew
signicantly on espionage carried out by the ‘Cambridge Five’ for the
Soviet Union (Weinstein and Vassiliev 1999, 180–185).
While the Soviets were busy copying, the capitalist countries moved
on, generating new technologies, consumer goods and levels of welfare.
is has implications for nondemocratic states that are now attempting
to emulate successful institutions of natural resource governance in dem-
ocratic societies, some of which are included among the country-case
studies in this volume. As institutions are more dependent on context
than are physical technologies, the would-be authoritarian emulators of
the resource governance institutions of open societies may have an even
harder time than the Soviets did. e problem with such emulation may
be its superciality. As argued above, the strength of institutions in a
country like Norway lies not in their formal characteristics, which can
readily be observed, but in the open and dynamic public debate in which
the institutions are rooted and which may not be immediately noticeable
if the focus remains on the institutions.
A few sources provide some support for the hypothesis of Public
Brainpower. Ostrom (2005, 29) argues that attempts to create new insti-
tutions are often based on ‘naïve ideas’ about good and bad institutions
that fail to take into account how dierent institutions actually perform
in specic contexts. Collier and Hoeer (2009, 1) hold that it is not
democracy as such, but checks and balances that enable countries to
manage their natural resources sensibly. Korhonen (2004, 34) reasons
1 Introduction: Civil Society, Public Debate andNatural Resource...
that greater political freedom and improved education leads to better
institutions and improves a resource-rich country’s long-term growth
potential. Ahmadov et al. (2012, 11) contend that avoidance of the
resource curse depends on transparency and accountability in revenue
Polycentricity andResource Management:
AFirst Glance attheRelationship
Existing datasets provide some initial pointers on the issues dealt with in
this book. Figure 1.1 plots indicators related to the scope for public
debate in society (independent variable) against indicators related to gov-
ernance of natural resources (dependent variable). is is solely for
exploratory illustrativepurposes and the choice of indicators used in the
scatterplots is based on what data happened to be available.
All four scatterplots show considerable correlation between the paired
variables using Pearson’s product-moment correlation coecient: free-
dom of press and budgetary openness (r = 0.61); political rights and
resource governance (r= 0.80); personal freedom and resource gover-
nance (r=0.81); freedom and non-corruption (r=0.77). is provides a
preliminary indication that the hypothesis may be correct and that public
debate does indeed have a powerful eect on natural resource
Such simple correlations do not necessarily reect causal relationships
between the variables on the x- and y-axes. One way of moving beyond
the correlations would be to run multivariate regressions on large num-
bers of countries and variables, in order to narrow down the causal rela-
tionships. is is the type of exercise Haber and Menaldo (2011) did in
their much-quoted article arguing that natural resource wealth does not
necessarily lead to authoritarianism. However, such analyses are not
unproblematic (see Papaioannou and Siourounis 2008, 366, 370;
Andersen and Ross 2014). A central issue is whether the second-hand
data normally used for such analyses actually represent what they are
assumed to represent (Mitchell 2009, 423).
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Angola Azerbaijan
Saudi Arabia
4.00 5.00 6.00 7.00 8.00 9.00 10.00
Freedom Index
Saudi A.
The Open Budget Index
Freedom of Press
Saudi Arabia
Resource Governance Index
Political Rights
Algeria Angola
Saudi A.
3.00 4.00 5.00 6.00 7.00 8.00 9.00 10.00
Resource Governance Indicator
Personal Freedom
Fig. 1.1 Scatterplots of various indicators for independent and dependent variables. Countries named in the figure are
those included as case studies in this book. Sources: CATO Institute 2012; Freedom House 2013; NRGI 2013; TI 2012
1 Introduction: Civil Society, Public Debate andNatural Resource...
An alternative approach is to study individual cases in detail, in order
to understand each of them in some depth. is approach has its own
weaknesses—not least the subjectivity of those conducting the study and
the diculty of generalizing from one case to another. Such an approach
is therefore not necessarily better than a multivariate regression, but it
can be useful for exploratory purposes and for attempting to pin down
causal relationships.
Country Case Studies
For the purposes of this book, I selected 18 countries and invited relevant
researchers to provideempirical input on them in the form of chapters
for the book. All the countries are major oil and/or gas producers, so in
the rest of the book, the natural resource governance issues raised in this
introductory chapter are examined through the lens of the petroleum sec-
tor. ere are two main reasons for this choice. Firstly, it makes the case
studies more comparable with each other. Secondly, few natural resources
and opportunities in the world have been wasted on a scale similar to that
of petroleum revenues, so understanding how to govern them more
eectively is a matter of considerable importance. Together, the 18 coun-
tries stand for most of the world’s oil exports and much of its petroleum
history. e aim is still to provide analysis and draw conclusions that are
also relevant for the governance of other natural resources. As a general
theoretical concept, public brainpower may even be relevant for a coun-
try such as China, where the authorities appear to resist the involvement
of the broader public in decision-making.
For comparative purposes, the selection of countries was made as
diverse as possible on as many dimensions as possible (see Fig.1.2). e
countries dier on several variables. To ensure geographical and cultural
variety, at least two countries were included from each of the world’s
major oil- and gas-producing regions: the Arab/Persian Gulf, the former
Soviet Union, Latin America, North Africa, the Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries and sub-
Saharan Africa. us, the case studies include developed, middle-income
and developing economies; democratic and nondemocratic regimes;
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countries ranked high and low on democracy, freedom of speech, gover-
nance and corruption indices; members and non-members of Organization
of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the EU and the
International Energy Agency; as well as countries with predominantly
Catholic, Muslim, Orthodox Christian and Protestant populations.
Although it can be useful to categorize these countries along many
dimensions as I have done above, each country has its own unique history
and setting for the interaction between civil society and the petroleum
sector. Iraq is a war-torn country that experienced a US-led invasion and
that continues to suer from ethno-sectarian violence and the meteoric
rise and fall of the Islamic State. Venezuela had 17 years of left-wing rule
under former president Hugo Chávez and his successor Nicolás Maduro
and suers from the political polarization of its society. Egypt was a sig-
nicant oil exporter in the 1980s and 1990s but became a net oil importer
around 2010 and is haunted by the legacy of former president Hosni
Mubarak and the Arab Spring. Russia stands out as a former superpower
with 70 years of Soviet history followed by a period of lawlessness in the
1990s and then growing authoritarianism under President Vladimir
Putin. Even between Norway and the UK, there is a stark contrast in
approaches to the petroleum sector and the involvement of the public in
Saudi A.
Press Freedom
Resource Governan
Open Budget
Sub-Saharan A.
Fig. 1.2 Variation in country cases. The centre of the diagram represents low
scores, the outer parts high scores. Sources: Freedom House 2016a, b; World Bank
2015; IBP 2016; UNDP 2014; Revenue Watch Institute 2013
1 Introduction: Civil Society, Public Debate andNatural Resource...
policy formulation, despite the fact that both countries are West European
constitutional monarchies with strong cultural and social ties and have
successfully coordinated the development of the North Sea petroleum
province across their shared maritime boundary.
Examining and comparing such diverse countries can yield a multi-
tude of perspectives on the relationship between public debate and the
management of petroleum resources. e many dimensions on which the
countries vary make it possible to take into account factors other than
civil society which may aect the management of petroleum resources. If
the aim were to test the hypothesis through a multivariate regression,
some of the dimensions would be used for the regression itself and the
others might be used as control variables. While this study instead
attempts a qualitative, case-study approach, it is still helpful to consider
the various dimensions in order to understand their role in each of the
case studies.
Definitions andAnalytical Building Blocks
For the purposes of this book, ‘civil society’ is dened as the sum of
autonomous social actors (individuals and groups) who interact with and
exert inuence over the state and society (Cox 1999; Hearn 2001). For
further discussion of the denition of civil society and some alternative
approaches, see Heinrich (2005), Edwards (2004) and Evers and Laville
‘Public debate’ is dened as the expression of views on matters that are
of concern to the public—often, but not always, with opposing or diverg-
ing views being expressed by participants in the discussion. Public debate
takes place mostly through the mass media, but also at meetings or
through social media, academic publications and government policy doc-
uments (for further discussion of the understanding of public debate, see
Reichborn-Kjennerud 2014 and Barkho 2016).
e terms ‘governance’ and ‘management’ of the petroleum sector are
used interchangeably. Drawing on Lahn et al. (2007, 17) and Hults
(2012, 62), ‘petroleum sector governance’ is dened as the socio-political
system for making and implementing policy on the exploitation of oil
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and gas resources. ‘Good governance’ of the petroleum sector or of natu-
ral resources is dened as translating them into a high human develop-
ment index score for a sustained period while limiting environmental
e case-study contributors were asked to map the public debate and
the role of dierent actors in inuencing how oil and gas resources and
revenue are managed. ree levels of analysis relevant for this mapping
can be distinguished: (1) the dierent types of civil society actors that may
contribute to public debate, (2) the petroleum governance issues that may
be subject to debate and (3) the institutions of petroleum governance
responsible for handling these issues. e three next paragraphs discuss
these threelevels.
e contributors were asked to examine the roles of the following
types of civil society actors in the public debate on oil and gas governance:
companies, educational institutions, foreign NGOs and international
organizations, local and national NGOs, individual citizens, the mass
media, political parties, religious organizations, think-tanks, trade unions
and universities. e following questions were posed about these actors:
What role does each type of actor play in inuencing how petroleum
resources and revenues are managed in your country? Are there any
examples of success in inuencing the management of petroleum
resources? In what ways are non-state actors hindered in inuencing
petroleum governance?
e list of petroleum governance issues that might be subject to public
debate and inuence, and thus covered by the case studies, is long and
includes topics as diverse as the level of taxation on oil and gas, corrup-
tion and peak oil (see Table1.1).5
Various institutions might deal with these areas of petroleum gover-
nance, some of the most obvious being national oil companies, petroleum
ministries and directorates, national geological surveys, environmental
agencies, central banks and sovereign wealth funds. For the purposes of
this book, an ‘institution’ is dened as a formalized organization; it should
be dedicated to one or more specic purposes, have a name and identi-
able employees or members, and its existence should be anchored in a
written mandate or other text.
1 Introduction: Civil Society, Public Debate andNatural Resource...
Table 1.1 Some petroleum-policy issues potentially subject to public debate
Upstream Midstream Downstream Post-stream
Subsoil ownership
– Exploration incentives
– National interest
– Indigenous rights
– Public interest
– Investment incentives
– Enhanced oil recovery
– Local pollution
– Climate change
– Peak oil, rate of
Supply industry
– Jobs and industrial
dev. vs. Dutch disease
Oil companies
– NOCs vs. IOCs vs.
private oil companies
– Transparency and
– Oil worker pay
– Oil spills
monopolies on
– Transit countries
– Jobs and
industrial dev. vs.
Dutch disease
Energy trade
industry vs.
export revenue
– Govt. vs.
private trading
and corruption
Energy subsidies
– Energy poverty
– Climate change
Sovereign wealth fund
– Savings rate
– Financial risk
– Ethical investment
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is contrasts with the signicantly broader denitions employed else-
where in the social science literature. For example, Huntington (1965,
394) denes institutions as ‘stable, valued, recurring patterns of behav-
ior’. Giddens (1984, 24) sees institutions as ‘enduring features of social
life’, including modes of discourse, political institutions, economic insti-
tutions and legal institutions. According to North (1990, 3), ‘Institutions
are the rules of the game in a society or, more formally, are the humanly
devised constraints that shape human interaction.’ Finally, drawing on
North, Menaldo (2016, 81) denes ‘institutions’ as ‘the matrix of
incentives, constraints, opportunities and beliefs that represent the for-
mal and informal rules of the game’.
Such broad denitions make it hard to see the dierence between insti-
tutions and culture, social structure or society as such. With such deni-
tions, it is dicult to see why the term ‘institution’ is needed at all. As a
central concern of this book is the relationship between the broader soci-
etal context and the institutions of petroleum governance, using a deni-
tion that does not distinguish between them could create complications.
Furthermore, narrow denitions of social science concepts are generally
advantageous because they enable more precise analysis. All-encompassing
and diuse social science denitions of terms like ‘institution’, ‘security
or ‘power’ sometimes seem driven by the desire of those working in a
given subject area to make that area as big and important as possible,
rather than to produce incisive analysis.
Some case-study contributors found their task daunting, as civil soci-
ety and public debate are hardly allowed at all in their countries. In such
cases, I asked the contributors to at least try to nd out what views or
thoughts the population might have contributed to a public debate if it
had been allowed—in other words, what repressed views might exist
below the surface. However, in some cases even this was dicult to write
much about. In many countries, decision-making and policy formulation
are so closed and public debate so repressed that it is scarcely feasible to
nd examples of anyone outside key government organs even attempting
to think aloud about how the country’s resource wealth should be man-
aged. at is in itself an important nding that speaks directly to the
hypothesis of this book: in some petroleum-rich countries, civil society
and public debate play hardly any role in the governance of petroleum
1 Introduction: Civil Society, Public Debate andNatural Resource...
resources. According to the hypothesis, in such countries, long-term
petroleum governance should be weak.
e rest of the book explores the strength of the hypothesis and its
supporting arguments through systematic empirical analyses of
petroleum- policy issues in the 18 selected oil- and gas-producing coun-
tries. As noted, all these countries are or have been among the world’s
major oil and gas producers, and thus have much to gain from handling
their resources wisely. However, many of them have not.
e penultimate chapter oers highlights from the case-study chap-
ters. e concluding chapter returns to the hypothesis presented in this
introductory chapter, ranks 33resource-rich countries on their success in
maximizing their public brainpower, and proposes some tenets for how
states can maximize the benets of free speech and public debate for their
own capacity to govern.
1. Value in 2015 USD, based on data from EIA (2017) on cumulative oil
production and value estimated according to oil price and ination for
each year.
2. Engerman and Sokolo (1997, 2002) argue that dierences in natural
endowments, especially agricultural resources, have aected the develop-
ment of institutions. Dell (2010) counters this view with special reference
to Peru. Ross (2001) and Tsui (2011) look at oil and Wantchekon (2002)
at primary exports; all nd that resource dependence is associated with
lower levels of democracy and argue that this is due to resource abun-
dance. Wiens (2014, 198) creates a formal model to show that resource
revenue makes it dicult to develop strong institutions. Haber and
Menaldo (2011) launch a critique of this literature, and of the work of
Ross in particular, arguing that most of the ndings are due to method-
ological weaknesses in the regressions applied. For more a detailed over-
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(1995), Korhonen (2004, 7, 31), Mehlum etal. (2006) and Robinson
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nance and institutional quality play a decisive role in economic growth
and development.
I. Overland
4. Al-Ubaydli (2012), Andersen and Aslaksen (2013) and Ross (2012) all
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I. Overland
... Successfully achieving participation within a commons organically equates to a higher incentive to uphold a particular culture, where the management thus reflects the needs and preferences of those it serves (Ostrom et al., 1999;Persha et al., 2011). The commons provides a "set of productive social circuits" (Bollier, 2014, p. 30) that enable sharing of experiences and knowledge, strengthening norms and trust (Overland, 2018). These are the exact virtues that Putnam (1995) argues can create constructive relationships between society and the state, ensuring better governance. ...
... Similarly Overland (2018) claims the coexistence of a variety of public actors freely expressing their views can push back against the systematizing force of the state and market. A higher variety of actors within a state increases its brain power; "its memory becomes more comprehensive and multifaceted, the various actors can perform quality control on each other's ideas and arguments, and it is more difficult to repress challenging thoughts" (Overland, 2018, p. 4). ...
... The stigmatization of homosexuality results in deprivation of social connection in and out of the home (Brownlee, 2015), increasing the stakes of connection for individuals who are part of the queer community (Verkuylen, 2018). Community bonds are strengthened through trust and belonging (Overland, 2018) and amplified by the low numbers of people who identify as LGBTQ (Richters et al., 2014). These communities of people drawn together by similar experiences can result in what Tiffe describes as "collective knowledge-sharing" (Tiffe, cited in Goltz et al., 2015). ...
This article explores how the practice of BDSM sex parties within the queer community can inspire social structure alternatives conducive to sustainability. Drawing from the notion that the dominant social order of neoliberal hetero-patriarchy undermines our ability to address sustainability challenges as a collective, I demonstrate how the same culture disproportionately alienates the queer community. Taking from the theory of subaltern counterpublics, I highlight how social structures created at BDSM queer sex parties challenge dominant cultures and create spaces of inclusivity and radical participation, specifically through communication. These are key criteria called for in commons management, relevant for sustainable futures.
... Nor are there any mechanisms for punishing countries that fail to abide by their commitments under the Paris Agreement because they build new coal power plants, such as by massively expanding coal (Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen et al., 2018;Kemp, 2018; United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC], 2015). Thus, for the time being, effective political and social opposition to coal power plants is more likely to play out in national and local arenas than at the global level, as most national governments must in some way take public sentiment into account when making energy policy (Overland, 2018). Local resistance to coal exists in various forms in many countries, from Australia (Higginbotham et al., 2010) to Bangladesh, to Turkey (Arsel, Akbulut and Adaman, 2015). ...
... Another important factor for the passivity of Russian climate policy is the low demand for it from society (Poussenkova and Overland, 2018). While in the countries of Western Europe, active climate policy measures are pushed forward by the active support of a large part of the population, there is nearly no such bottom-up pressure on politicians in Russia. ...
... The Public Sphere theory, propounded by German philosopher Jurgen Habermas in 1992, serves as the theoretical foundation for this study. Habermas is credited with coining the term "public sphere," which he defines as comprising private persons who have gathered together as a public and who express the needs of society to the government (Overland, 2017). ...
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, terrorism, drug misuse and drug peddling are currently regarded as the three worst societal issues in the world (UNODC, 2015). In UNODC's annual National Survey report released in 2018, 14.3 million persons aged 15 to 64 were said to have taken drugs in 2017. The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Nigeria has frequently updated the public on its successes in the war against drug abuse in the nation. It is necessary to find out the views of the masses on the war against drug misuse. Adopting the discourse analysis method, the following findings were discovered after analysing the comments of Facebook users on the war against drug abuse and the propensity of those comments to end drug peddling in Nigeria. Firstly, Nigerians on Facebook support and commend the NDLEA's strategies for reducing the country's epidemic of drug abuse. Second, Nigerians expect that the NDLEA's efforts to curtail drug trafficking and abuse in the nation will be aided by their Facebook remarks. The study concluded by advocating the need for social media control of explicit content that shows the usage of hard drugs. The study thus recommended that this research should be replicated using other social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok among others with NDLEA’s war against drug abuse as its main focus.
... In a rapidly changing global energy sector, shaped by forces over which Russian private actors have marginal or no influence, corporate actors have an incentive to focus on short-term profitability. Their shorttermism is reinforced by the unpredictable Russian political landscape [107]. However, the profitability of a short-term strategic focus is significantly hampered by the fact that the expansion of rail and port infrastructure to boost Russian coal exports to Asia will take many years to realise. ...
... Nor are there any mechanisms for punishing countries that fail to abide by their commitments under the Paris Agreement because they build new coal power plants, such as by massively expanding coal (Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen et al., 2018;Kemp, 2018; United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC], 2015). Thus, for the time being, effective political and social opposition to coal power plants is more likely to play out in national and local arenas than at the global level, as most national governments must in some way take public sentiment into account when making energy policy (Overland, 2018). Local resistance to coal exists in various forms in many countries, from Australia (Higginbotham et al., 2010) to Bangladesh, to Turkey (Arsel, Akbulut and Adaman, 2015). ...
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By 2020, coal mining and power generation had been growing in Southeast Asia for decades and were projected to rise to new heights of prominence in regional energy systems, weakening the energy security of all states in the region except Indonesia, jeopardizing the NDCs of the ASEAN states under the Paris Agreement and deepening existing domestic political fault lines. Coal utilization has well-known public health, agricultural, water security and economic consequences, many of which are magnified in Southeast Asia, with its high population density and limited wind and arable land. Paradoxically, the short-sighted focus on affordability imposes significant longer-term economic risks on these states as renewable energy prices fall, while ASEAN markets for such energy sources remain underutilized.
... These eventualities have not yet been systematically examined, and there currently is no evidence base against which to evaluate the assumption that civil society participation in MSGs has an effect on EITI outcomes in implementing countries. This is a critical gap for scholarship on the EITI, as well as the broader policy discourse on resource governance, in which multi-stakeholder approaches are increasingly prominent (Overland, 2017). It also represents a lack of evidence to support the theories of change pursued by many international transparency and accountability initiatives, including the public governance multi-stakeholder initiatives of which the EITI is considered a leader (Brockmyer and Fox, 2015). ...
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The EITI leverages a multi-stakeholder model in which government, civil society and business collaborate to improve the quality of resource governance in participating countries. Like other multi-stakeholder initiatives that aim to improve public governance through information disclosure and civic participation, this model relies on an assumption that civil society participation in the process improves EITI outcomes. This assumption is tested through comparative analysis of data from 63 EITI Validation processes. The results indicate that civil society participation has a small but statistically significant correlation with EITI outcomes related to the rules and comprehensiveness of information disclosure, quality assurance processes, public debate, and most clearly in regard to the reforms that follow from the recommendations in Validations. There are, however, important differences between civil society's contributions to different outcomes, and whether or not civil society participation takes place within the multi-stakeholder group (MSG). Notably, restrictions on MSG participation are found to have a strong moderating effect on civil society's contributions to EITI outcomes, but restrictions on national civic space do not. The results suggest that the discourse surrounding the EITI has been overly simplistic in how it has considered the role of civil society and civic space, and would benefit from more precise consideration of different types of civil society engagement with national EITI processes.
... According to Indra Overland (2018), "public brainpower" refers to the coexistence of many diverse public actors that express their perspectives, such as individual citizens, political parties, trade unions, charities, companies, research institutes, media or government institutes. The less centralist a society is, the wider "brainpower" it will have (Overland, 2018). The reason behind this reasoning is that many actors perform quality control against each other ś idea and at the same time it supplies a bigger pool for creativity. ...
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This study investigates the impact of civil society participation or “community energy” on the consumption of palm oil, in Europe. The objective was to measure if a high level of citizens´ participation on the green energy agenda, could impulse decision makers into more environmental policies. The palm oil case in Europe was suitable for these intentions due to its recent controversial popularity as an ingredient in a variety of products and as a fuel. The EU is the second biggest global importer of this commodity. Three methodologies were run: stakeholder’s analysis, descriptive analysis and panel data regression. Analysis of the responses showed that the relationship between civil society participation and palm oil consumption, although negative, was statistically non significant. Manufacturers, competitors and regulators were the most dependent stakeholders on the palm oil industry. POIG (a multi-stakeholder regulator formed by NGOs) was highly important and influential. It is expected to see a bigger impact of CSO participation on environmental decision making in the long-term.
... In Overland [16], the SSRR methodology was tried out in the creation of a ranking of the public brainpower of resource rich countries. "Public brainpower" was defined as the coexistence of many different public actors, all freely expressing their thoughts and thus ensuring good governance of natural resources through the creativity, dynamism, and flexibility of institutions for resource management [17]. The ranking was based on input from 19 experts and covered 33 resource-rich countries. ...
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This paper develops an automated algorithm to process input data for segmented string relative rankings (SSRRs). The purpose of the SSRR methodology is to create rankings of countries, companies, or any other units based on surveys of expert opinion. This is done without the use of grading systems, which can distort the results due to varying degrees of strictness among experts. However, the original SSRR approach relies on manual application, which is highly laborious and also carries a risk of human error. This paper seeks to solve this problem by further developing the SSRR approach by employing link analysis, which is based on network theory and is similar to the PageRank algorithm used by the Google search engine. The ranking data are treated as part of a linear, hierarchical network and each unit receives a score according to how many units are positioned below it in the network. This approach makes it possible to efficiently resolve contradictions among experts providing input for a ranking. A hypertext preprocessor (PHP) script for the algorithm is included in the article’s appendix. The proposed methodology is suitable for use across a range of social science disciplines, especially economics, sociology, and political science.
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Sustainable Development Goals in SAARC Countries: Key Issues, Opportunities and Challenges
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The 'resource curse' is the view that countries with extensive natural resources tend to suffer from a host of undesirable outcomes, including the weakening of state capacity, authoritarianism, fewer public goods, war, and economic stagnation. This book debunks this view, arguing that there is an 'institutions curse' rather than a resource curse. Legacies endemic to the developing world have impelled many countries to develop natural resources as a default sector in lieu of cultivating modern and diversified economies, and bad institutions have also condemned nations to suffer from ills unduly attributed to minerals and oil. Victor Menaldo also argues that natural resources can actually play an integral role in stimulating state capacity, capitalism, industrialization, and democracy, even if resources are themselves often a symptom of underdevelopment. Despite being cursed by their institutions, weak states are blessed by their resources: greater oil means more development, both historically and across countries today.
We identify permanent democratic transitions during the Third Wave of Democratization and the nineties, when many former socialist countries moved towards representative rule. Using political freedom indicators, electoral archives, and historical resources in 174 countries in the period 1960-2005, we identify 63 democratic transitions, 3 reverse transitions from relatively stable democracy to autocracy and 6 episodes of small improvements in representative institutions. We also classify non-reforming countries to stable autocracies and always democratic. We then use the dataset to test theories on the prerequisites for democracy in these countries that enter the Third Wave as non-democracies. Examining initially autocratic countries enables us to address issues of sample selection (in the beginning of the sample most developed countries were already democratic) and reverse causality (democracy can be both a cause and a consequence of wealth, for example). Our estimates reveal that democratization is more likely to emerge in affluent and especially educated societies. Economic development and education are also key factors determining the intensity of democratic reforms and how quickly democratic transitions will occur. These results appear robust to controls like the social environment (religion and fractionalization), natural resources, trade openness and proxies of early institutions.