Natural Resource Nationalism and Development Strategies

The institution economics became a predominant analytical perspective for developmental national experiences. The economic success or failure has been predominantly explained by the role played by institutions. This approach has particularly been applied to the national experiences where natural resources are abundant and form their main source of exports. Irrespective of this structural dimension, so follows the argument, countries can escape from the “commodity trap” associated to this resource endowment if good institutions can transform this natural asset in an opportunity to foster investment and spread development to other areas and sectors. In these analyses the good economic institutions are normally considered the set of institutions that were supposed to be predominant in developed market economies.

This paper considers critically this analysis building its main arguments in two steps. It will be argued that the consolidation of private interests on production of natural resource limit their use for general development economic purpose but it will be argued also that this possibility exists in oil and gas and other strategic mineral raw material when by geopolitical reasons a national vested interest is formed as predominant economic power. Nevertheless this requires an encompassing industrial policy. These arguments will be illuminated by comparisons between Russia, and Venezuela.

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