Feb 20, 2014

These'll soon be the richest islands on earth

It seems certain that 350 million barrels worth of oil are below the sea bed to the north — and it is believed that at least ten times as much could be found to the south... 
One Premier executive told me that when the oil starts coming ashore, ‘the Falklands will, per capita, be the richest country on earth’...
...many islanders already have more than one job and there is full employment.
...Inevitably, such a windfall would also make the islands even more attractive to Argentina... 
With the Falkland Islands government levying a 26 per cent corporation tax on profits and planning a 9 per cent royalty on each barrel, the wealth would run into billions. Meanwhile, Argentina is on the verge of bankruptcy.
That is from this article and it sounds a lot like the strategy of conflict. One can use Thomas Schilling framework to analyse the situation. But I need to work on that. In the meantime let's look at institutions and the unlikely curse of natural resources. 

If Argentina does not attack, which seems most likely, this might become a successful case of oil production, reducing the effects of the resource curse and the Dutch Disease. The population is tiny, and the Falklands are back up by the British which provides relatively sound institutions. The island might get high prices which will affect those inhabitants who will not be involved in the oil or related industries, but oil royalties will palliate the problem. 

The key however will be a careful plan of the way in which the money will be spent: health, education, and infrastructure seem to be the priorities. And given the small population solving the collective action problem of how to use the money does not seem like a big problem. 

A secondary but also important concern is to look for ways in which the economy can be diversified, currently it is mainly based on fisheries, sheep farming, and tourism. Actually, and somewhat speculative, the fact that the structure of the economy is relatively simple might help reduce the effects of the resource curse and the Dutch Disease, and that is because there might likely be an overlapping of interests between the local government and economic interests of the rest of the population. In other words, government officials will have the incentives to promote policies that benefit their own economic interests which coincide with the economic interests of most of the population of the island. A happy coincidence!

In addition, the Falklands are in the right side of institutional geography.

No comments:

Post a Comment