UC Santa Barbara scholar’s new book explores the link between natural resources and political power.
Wednesday, April 29, 2020 - 08:00
Santa Barbara, CA
The ruler of a country with an abundance of coveted natural resources faces some tough choices when it comes to who will profit from them and how they will be extracted. Paasha Mahdavi, assistant professor of political science at UC Santa Barbara, suggests that many leaders, when faced with the prospect of taking control of their nation’s oil, metals and minerals, make decisions based on how secure they perceive their own power to be.
Mahdavi’s new book, “Power Grab: Political Survival Through Extractive Resource Nationalization” (Cambridge University Press, 2020), examines how leaders —especially dictators — keep their grip on power by seizing control of natural resource operations. By establishing state-owned enterprises, Mahdavi argues, leaders secure revenues that might otherwise flow to private firms, and they use this increased capital to secure political support when they feel they need it the most.
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April 30, 2020 - 2:36pm