The University of Wisconsin Press

Environmental Sciences / Economics & Business / Geography / Latin American Studies


States, Firms, and Raw Materials
The World Economy and Ecology of Aluminum
Edited by Bradford Barham, Stephen G. Bunker,
and Denis O'Hearn

States, Firms, and Raw Materials, offers a closely integrated collection of case studies on aluminum production, blending detailed empirical data with current theories of the state, the firm, industrial organization, and industrial development. The contributors consider historical, sociological, economic, and ecological factors affecting the organizational dynamics of aluminum production, exposing the tensions and contradictions in world systems of extraction and refining. The volume as a whole is ideal as a text, arranged in three thematic sections with introductions that tie the case studies to larger issues about regional development.

The contributors, North American and European scholars as well as representatives of state-owned mineral firms in the third world, trace the aluminum production process from the local communities where mines, smelters, and hydroelectric dams are located to the world market where refined aluminum is sold. They scrutinize interactions between the major aluminum consumers (the United States, Japan, and the European Economic Community), and several of the exporters and producers (Jamaica, Brazil, Guinea and Canada), demonstrating that strategic collusion between states and firms in industrial nations has left exporting nations with more expense and fewer benefits than might have been expected, given their wealth in bauxite and hydroelectric power. The editors conclude that firms and states in resource-rich nations can improve the returns and developmental outcomes of exporting raw materials only if they understand the complex dynamics of extraction, processing, and sale in strategically constructed global markets.

Bradford L. Barham is assistant professor of agricultural economics and staff economist at the Agricultural Technology and Family Farm Institute, University of Wisconsin–Madison.  Stephen G. Bunker is professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Denis O'Hearn is lecturer in sociology at Queens University in Belfast.

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January 1994

LC: 94-014005 HD
320 pp. 6 x 9
17 line art graphs, 1 map

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Paper $24.95 s
ISBN 978-0-299-14114-1
Book icon Cloth $50.00 s
ISBN 978-0-299-14110-3
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"An excellent book about a very important set of questions. The overall project is to determine the causes and consequences of the organizational dimensions of raw materials acquisition. These matters touch upon the most basic issues regarding our understanding of nature of our global political economy and its possibilities."
—Christopher Chase-Dunn, Johns Hopkins University

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