Energy Extractive Communities, Democracy, and "Economic Diversification"


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Hinterland energy extractive communities (those places located far outside urban areas) do more than their share of society's heavy lifting in terms of production but are also often less democratic. Economic diversification is often touted as a panacea for "fixing" these communities; however, it is often not a well-defined construct. Maybe other policy models are more applicable.

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Energy Extractive Communities, Democracy, and "Economic Diversification"

  1. 1. Hinterland ExtractiveCommunities, Democracy Deficit, and Economic Diversification: A Policy Case Study for the US State of West Virginia Crystal Allene Cook STS, Virginia Tech
  2. 2. Hinterland Extractive Communities ● What are these? ● Why should you care?
  3. 3. What are these? Coalfield locations in the USPlaces like Gary, WV, well outside major urban areas—big producer ofcoal for US Steel for most of 20th C. Stopped coal production in 1986.;;; Leadbetter; Freudenberg
  4. 4. Why should you care? Their cheap energy and resources enable the rest of society, especially the metropoles (societys centers), to go.Freudenberg; Mitchell; images:;;,_Beijing_China_World_Trade_Center,_Shangri-La/CWSW-Bg-Panorama-Night.jpg
  5. 5. Democracy Deficit in Hinterland Extractive Communities● Why?● Why should you care? Democracy in an extractive community: civic life and work life blend with the rules of work winning. This is Langdon Winners discussion of the totalitarian workplace...Democracy is what usally happens outside the workplace in the US,at least. Here no democracy outside workplace either as workplace = home place. So, really? Democracy for all? Everywhere? Now? Currently? Even in the US?Leadbetter; Mitchell; Winner
  6. 6. ● The will of the community as expressed as citizens in a democracy can be at direct odds with towns function as support for a single industry ● People function as technologies. Not news in other fields (sociology, Appalachian Studies)--may be in Sci- ence and Technology in Society. A case of a = b, but b ≠ a. If people can be replaced by technologies, then people were functioning as techno- logies. Yet, technology may or may not = people.Mitchell; Leadbetter; Scott
  7. 7. In his book Carbon Democracy, historian Timothy Mitchell (Columbia University) posits:● democracy and carbon energy are tied to one another—energy policy is not some stand- alone goal; bottom line--does energy policy enhance or hinder democratic practice, where, and for whom? Who cares about your energy policy if it doesnt support democracy? You might as well live in a prosperous dictatorship.● cheap energy enables the current economic and political existence in the “leading industri- alised countries”● the relationship of the industrial democracies and their reliance on cheap oil to coincides with energy extractive dictatorships● energy extractive communities provide the fuel for the rest of society to run and also enable democracy elsewhere. Ironically, however, they are often the least democratic.
  8. 8. Not a conspiracy per se, but it may not be an accidentthat energy extractive areas are less democratic andless economically diverse.....They enable democracy and economic diversificationelsewhere...Unsure this can just be shifted around = potentiallypart of the theoretical background for my disserta-tion. Where this work-in-progress will go is examin-ing some key issues of hinterland extractive townsin several countries as well as potential policy solu-tions for town viability vis a vis continued human in-habitation.
  9. 9. One problematic policy =“Economic Diversification” (ED) Touted as a panacea to fix the economic woes of extractive communities This construct appears in a lot of policy literature and in non-profit/NGO speak ● ED = Over dependence on one industry or on resource extraction ● Pushback: What? How much? Who? How? Tied to geo- graphy? How do you diversify the economy in a place where the economy = one industry tied to the location? What counts as “diverse”? ● In this brief, no discussion of democracy deficit in WV hinterland extractive communities. Aca- demics Cynthia Duncan and Rebecca Scott lay this out....This democracy deficit in many extract- ive communities is not a secret. Shouldnt active democracy also be the bottom line?
  10. 10. Some considerations on Hinterland Extractive Communities and Economic Diversification ● Hinterland extractive communities maybe never were diverse (whatever that construct means exactly in terms of quantification of how much = diverse) ● Economic Diversification (ED) may not benefit dominant industries so they undermine it ● Not much reason for town/municipality to exist in capitalist economic growth model beyond the resource extraction (may be other reasons for town/community to exist— have to figure out other models not tied to endless economic growth) ● ED sounds good but no causal proof of how to sustain economic diversification, really, beyond linking economy to urban, central geographies where economic diversification goes hand in hand with a diverse population and easily accessed geography ● Is there proof that that ED is better for all communities? No. ● Is this possible, even, in a hinterland extractive community? Maybe—but the key issue here, I propose, is not economic but democratic practices. I critique the policy brief in question for also not including an examination of the democratic practices or lack thereof in extractive communities.Freudenberg; Martinez-Fernandez; Stirling
  11. 11. The Case of Lindytown,WV: willfully killed by the extractive in- dustry. People also often can become superfluous technologies in an extractive “town.” Extractive companies seek to replace people-technology with machine technology. This is not news. “Lawrence and Quinnie Richmond pose in Lindytown amidst the boarded homes of their former neighbors in July. Lawrence, 85, died on August 16. Our sympathies go to Quinnie, who with her son, living next door, has not sold out. Then there is Frankie Mooney, right, of Twilight, in front of the building that used to serve as a UMWA local meeting place. Frankie was involved in that local. photos by Mark Schmerling”; Barry; Biggers
  12. 12. Lindytown does not = an exception or anomaly.● Do people in the centers of society (the metropoles) de-serve democracy more than people in the peripheries?● Do people in the centers rightfully get the benefits ofcheap energy (economic diversification & maybe democrat-ic practice) while the people-technology of hinterland ex-tractive areas provide this opportunity?
  13. 13. ImplicationsA shift in policy approaches could also mean a shift inenergy, democratic, and planning practices if thesetwo link as strongly as suggested by Mitchell in Car-bon Democracy.
  14. 14. Possible policy shifts • economic diversification in a democracy must be linked to practices of democratic fortification (see the addendum on democratic practices from Transforming Places) • economic diversification and economic self-determination or self-sufficiency are not the same things. It could be and it should be in a democracy. • Grassroots Meets Grasstops: place-based solutions + expertise = Maybe Danish model of a consensus conference? Dumping the problem on left over local people to solve is not enough. In this case, local solutions must be supplemented with state-level or federal level in- terventions. • Create a National Movement/National Level Action US does not have a national conversation on this; other places do (like Germany) Problem with endless growth model of economies; one solution is smart shrinkage
  15. 15. Shrink Smart!! Welcome to SHRINK SMART - The Governance of Shrinkage within a European ContextOver the past years shrinkage has become a “normal pathway” of urban and regional development.All across Europe cities and regions have experienced economic downturns, out-migration anddemographic imbalances and as a consequence “urban shrinkage” has become a main challengefor urban development. SHRINK SMART studies how this challenge is met by policies and governance systems in different types of shrinking urban regions. It is based on comparative case studies from seven urban regionsthroughout Europe. The project aims on analyzing different trajectories of shrinkage, understandingmain challenges for urban planning and elaborating alternatives for urban governance.In short, the endless growth economic model does not workfor every community. Extractive communities do not haveto flop when people become superfluous technologies.Other models are possible and imaginable like smart shrinkage. shrink; High; Pallagst; Wiechman
  16. 16. ReferencesAudirac, Ivonne. “Urban Shrinkage Amid Fast Metropolitan Growth (Two Faces of Contemporary Urbanism).” The Future of Shrinking Cities: Problems, Patterns and Strategies of UrbanTransformation in a Global Context, 2009, 69 – 80.Barry, Dan. “As the Mountaintops Fall, a Coal Town Vanishes-”, April 12, 2011., Jeff. “The Coalfield Uprising.”, September 30, 2009. an Economic Diversification Trust Fund: Turning Nonrenewable Natural Resources into Sustainable Wealth for West Virginia. West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy. Janu-ary 2012.Cunningham-Sabot, Emmanuele. “Shrinking Cities in France and Great Britain: A Silent Process?” The Future of Shrinking Cities: Problems, Patterns and Strategies of Urban Tranforma-tion in a Global Context, 2009, 17 – 28Duncan, Cynthia. Worlds Apart. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999.Fischer, Frank. Reframing Public Policy: Discursive Practices and Deliberative Practices. New York: Oxford, 2003.Fischer, Stephen L. and Smith, Barbara Ellen. Transforming Places: Lessons from Appalachia. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2012.Freudenburg, William. “Addictive Economies: Extractive Industries and Vulnerable Localities in a Changing World Economy. Rural Sociology 57(5), 1991, pp. 305-332.Hendryx M., Ahern, M. “Mortality in Appalachian coal mining regions: the value of statistical life lost.” Public Health Reports, 2009, 124, 541-550.High, Steven. "Capital and Community Reconsidered: The Politics and Meaning of Deindustrialization," Labour/Le Travail, 55 (Spring 2005), 187-96.Hulme, Mike. Why We Disagree about Climate Change. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009., David. “Single-Industry Resource Communities: Shrinking, and the New Crisis of Hinterland Economic Development.” The Future of Shrinking Cities: Problems, Patternsand Strategies of Urban Transformation in a Global Context, 2009, 89 – 100.Martinez-Fernandez, C. and Wu, Chung-Tong. “Shrinking Cities: A Global Overview and Concerns about Australian Mining Cases.” The Future of Shrinking Cities: Problems, Patternsand Strategies of Urban Transformation in a Global Context, 2009, 17 – 28.Mitchell, Timothy. Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil. New York: Verso, 2011.Pallagst, K. “Shrinking Cities in the United States of America: Three Cases, Three Planning Stories.” The Future of Shrinking Cities: Problems, Patterns and Strategies of Urban Trans-formation in a Global Context, 2009, 81 – 90.Scott, Rebecca. Removing Mountains: Extracting Nature and Identity in the Appalachian Coalfields.Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010.Stirling, Andrew. “On the Economics and Analysis of Diversity” (Brighton, UK: University of Sussex, Science Policy Research Unit, 1998),, Thomas. “Conversion Strategies under Uncertainty in Post-Socialist Shrinking Cities: The Example of Dresden in Eastern Germany.” The Future of Shrinking Cities: Prob-lems, Patterns and Strategies of Urban Transformation in a Global Context, 2009, 5 – 16.Winner, Langdon. The Whale and the Reactor: a search for Limits in an Age of High Technology, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), 19-39.The World Bank, Europe and Central Asia Unit. Monotowns:paths to resilience: A brief review of international experiences with urban regeneration, 2010
  17. 17. Addendum on democratic practicesThe following list demonstrates democracy as the ability to shape society and resist its erosion or attacks upon it ratherthan as an abstract or idealized goal. I drew the list from the lessons learned in the text Transforming Places:Lessons fromAppalachia. Chicago. The list can be viewed as a how-to for active democratic participation beyond the electoral process.Build bridges with allies. Show up at the Train volunteers to fundraise. Conduct solid of allies. Build upon each small success (43). Hold fundraisers such as turkey shoots,Share limited resources: money, time, Provide background at meetings in order cakewalks.and the spotlight. to welcome newcomers. (44) Relate your mission to religion. Use BibleAdvertise. Have courage. (44) verses.“Get serious about racism and oppres- Multi-issue groups often garner more Create a listserv.sion.” (27) support yet single-issue groups often Write resolutions and bring them to cityAttend public hearings. have a lot of energy (44). and town councils.Write fund-raising appeal letters. Form a non-profit organization. (50) Ask allies for email addresses.Hold mass demonstrations and rallies. Highlight issues of livelihood and health. Be dogged.Lobby in Washington, DC. Be prepared to counter the messages Call people directly on the phone whenConduct civil disobedience. than you are loony. Don’t let them get you social media or email does not get the re-Conduct a series of action campaigns. down. (52) sponse you need.Hold vigils. Form citizen groups. (54) “Choose an initial fight you can win.” (36)Use the creative arts. Get folks envisioning the future they want. Structure your group to be able to “quicklyCreate puppet shows. (55) absorb newcomers.” (37)Do street theater. Utilize local opinion and action. Create a steering committee to govern.Create art together in public around the Show local groups how joining a larger ef- Create bylaws.issue. fort “will advance their own agenda.” (56) Reach across party lines.Do activism as a second job in addition to Give people “principled reasons” to form Believe that “it does not matter if youthe job that pays the bills. alliances. (56) have no chance of winning. It does notWrite letters to the editor. Welcome newcomers in the area to parti- matter than no foundation will fund you.Create a “free” newspaper and print folks cipate in civic life. (56) You fight viscerally because it is right tofrom your side in it. Distribute it widely. Reflect on whether joining larger net- oppose something so awful.” (38)Get some local experts involved. works would work to your advantage. It “Usually only a few respond with deepInvolve faith communities. may not. (57) commitment, but often that is enough.”Involve students. Create movements or actions based on (38)Involve young people. values rather than interests—values last Embrace democratic statements.Build bridges among religious folks longer. Envision together the world/the Table at local events.around key issues. community you want—this reflects values Create a petition.Host events when the students are still in rather than issues. (57) Offer cheaper and better environmentalschool. Use the principles of the ‘solidarity eco- solutions.Use social media. nomy’: “reciprocity, democracy, sustainab- Advocate a positive vision, but also attack ility, and equity.” (59) the negative. (40) Help people know who they are and have Use volunteer labor. a sense of identity (65). Get a volunteer to do the website. Start a festival. (69) Hire a part-time person when you can af- ford it.
  18. 18. Start a festival. (69) Engage mainstream systems and institu- Dont get intimidated by people. (208)Celebrate what folks can do. (69) tions. (142) Create councils of folks affected. (214)Get the mayor on board. (68) Spark new groups and projects. (143) Scale up when bridging divides. (222)Women should organize folks also around Create multilingual spaces. (145) Create viable alternatives. (223)issues that affect them disproportinately. If a community group, support organizing Condemn the ones bankrolling the prob-(71) rather than organizing (145). lem. (232)Challenge preconceived notions of race, You dont always have to form a non-profit. Organize a conference. (233)class, gender (73-74). Other structures are possible. (145) Hold a summer camp (231 – 233)Make media. Develop a “year-round relationship with the Hold an “alternative spring break.” (234)Train youth to run media themselves. religious community.” (152) Create events. (233)Train youth to focus on community issues. Create opportunities for workers to tell Become a civic professional. (244)(82) their stories (169) . Know your audience and speak their lan-Try organizing around experimentation Support unions. guage. (245)rather than around a single issue. (93) Run a campaign. Be prepared with facts and to protect wit-Teach your students to write grants. (94) Support pioneering individuals. (174) nesses. (247)Teach students to ask the community at File legal actions. (174) Support and create opportunities for citizenlarge for feedback on issues. (94) Develop an “appropriate organizational science. (248)Build grassroots organizations with local scale.” (184) Challenge experts and entrenched “expert-people at the helm. (94) Develop strategies to “bridge the urban- ise.” (248)Create a community play that derives from rural” divide. (184) Do ethnographic research. (248)community stories. (95) Build “a diverse organizational structure Connect Global North and Global South.Do a Listening Project. (96) that will allow diverse people different entry (261)Do no harm. (112) points into the organizations work and aStart a caravan and go from community to variety of ways to stay involved over thecommunity. (113) long haul.” (184)Hold workshop. (115) Work first with the least included, thenBuild a range of capable leaders. (131) move toward the most included. (185)Organize trainings regularly (131). Ask the question, “How does our presentBuild “the skills, capacities, and critical campaign push for long-term structuralanalysis of people who belong to grass- changes?”roots groups.” (134) Build sufficient capacity to attack the job atExplore various kinds of organizational hand first. (188)structure, not just hierarchical. (136) Do not pretend you are making a differ-Believe in people. (136) ence if you are not. (189)Practice reciprocity. (136) Fight the stereotypes and the blame theDont come with a preconceived agenda. victims rhetoric. (203)(137)Get technical support (138).Create a self-development fund.Create means of analysis. (141)