Alex Kardon


Matthew Genasci and Sarah Pray argue that the best cure for the

"resource curse" in developing nations is increased transparency through

compliance with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

This argument is composed of two distinct claims. First, Genasci and Pray

claim that the root cause of the resource curse is the lack of government

accountability that results from reliance on resource rents rather than

popular taxation for most government revenue. Second, they contend that

increased transparency in the flow of funds to governments of resourcerich

developing nations from corporations involved in the extraction of

resources is the best way to increase government accountability.

While there is persuasive evidence that low government accountability

is at the heart of the resource curse, the link between this claim and

identifying transparency as the best solution is tenuous. Achieving

transparency may not cure the curse where civil society is not strong

enough to convert information into accountability. Since a relative lack of

taxation is behind the accountability deficit, a solution involving increased

taxation might be best. I propose such a solution: taxed distributions of

funds directly from extracting corporations to citizens of resource-cursed