“Accumulation by Dispossession” by the Global Extractive Industry: The Case of Canada

Title: “Accumulation by Dispossession” by the Global Extractive Industry: The Case of Canada
Authors: Kinuthia, Wanyee
Date: 2013
Abstract: This thesis draws on David Harvey’s concept of “accumulation by dispossession” and an international political economy (IPE) approach centred on the institutional arrangements and power structures that privilege certain actors and values, in order to critique current capitalist practices of primitive accumulation by the global corporate extractive industry. The thesis examines how accumulation by dispossession by the global extractive industry is facilitated by the “free entry” or “free mining” principle. It does so by focusing on Canada as a leader in the global extractive industry and the spread of this country’s mining laws to other countries – in other words, the transnationalisation of norms in the global extractive industry – so as to maintain a consistent and familiar operating environment for Canadian extractive companies. The transnationalisation of norms is further promoted by key international institutions such as the World Bank, which is also the world’s largest development lender and also plays a key role in shaping the regulations that govern natural resource extraction. The thesis briefly investigates some Canadian examples of resource extraction projects, in order to demonstrate the weaknesses of Canadian mining laws, particularly the lack of protection of landowners’ rights under the free entry system and the subsequent need for “free, prior and informed consent” (FPIC). The thesis also considers some of the challenges to the adoption and implementation of the right to FPIC. These challenges include embedded institutional structures like the free entry mining system, international political economy (IPE) as shaped by international institutions and powerful corporations, as well as concerns regarding ‘local’ power structures or the legitimacy of representatives of communities affected by extractive projects. The thesis concludes that in order for Canada to be truly recognized as a leader in the global extractive industry, it must establish legal norms domestically to ensure that Canadian mining companies and residents can be held accountable when there is evidence of environmental and/or human rights violations associated with the activities of Canadian mining companies abroad. The thesis also concludes that Canada needs to address underlying structural issues such as the free entry mining system and implement FPIC, in order to curb “accumulation by dispossession” by the extractive industry, both domestically and abroad.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/30170
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -