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Exploring the connections between inequality, community dysfunction and sustainability : fishery case studies from Newfoundland, Tasmania and Pakistan

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thesis
posted on 2023-05-27, 17:43 authored by Phillips, Gregory Vincent
Analysis of political economy within primary sectors such as fisheries and agriculture provides insights that can be applied more broadly. Since the 1990s there has been a growing recognition that the world's fisheries are in a state of crisis and that this is symptomatic of a more general, global sustainability crisis. In fisheries, worldwide, excessive capacity is harvesting fish at unsustainable levels. New technologies for communication and the processing, transport and storage of fish is contributing to the development of expanding marketing opportunities. These generate economic incentives that motivate ever more intensive fishing effort on declining stocks of increasingly valuable fish. In addition, environmental damage to marine and freshwater ecosystems undermines their capacity to sustain healthy, productive fisheries. Fishing communities are also experiencing stress associated with worldwide trends in fisheries management. These trends can be linked to the global ascendancy of neoliberalism as, a political culture, and a feature of fisheries debate over the past two decades has been the contest between advocates of market mechanisms, private property rights and economic efficiency, versus defenders of social values. Both sides have sought to incorporate the concept of sustainability into their arguments. The aim of this thesis is to examine the relationship of these social and political-economic trends with sustainability in fisheries, and to consider the implications for the sustainability of societies more generally. The thesis is based on case studies featuring Newfoundland, Tasmania and Pakistan, in which fisheries issues are examined ' within the context of broader cultural and structural characteristics. Comparisons and cross references are made between the case studies, and they are also linked by the development of an ongoing discussion of themes relevant to the economic versus social fishery debate. Social inequality emerges as a key issue in the interaction of social, political, economic and environmental aspects of sustainability. The first case study focuses on Newfoundland, where the collapse of the cod fishery in the early 1990s came to serve as symbolic of the worldwide problem. Historically entrenched social dualism, or inequality, was found to be a significant factor in various forms of sustainability dysfunction in the social and material structure of Newfoundland's fisheries, and of Newfoundland society more generally. It was implicated in various of the interrelated, underlying \causes\" of the fishery's failure including the institutional corruption of the scientific processes that were the basis of fishery management. Tasmania the site of the second case study shares many points of comparison with Newfoundland including the persistence of characteristics that are linked to a history of institutionally entrenched inequality. In Tasmania these are a legacy of European settlement through the establishment of a convict colony at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The Tasmanian case study examines how these characteristics have been perpetuated by a political and resource management culture that is contemptuous of transparency and democratic processes and which tends to serve established vested interests and foster rent-seeking activity. The influence of this political culture on resource management and environmental protection in Tasmania raises questions in light of the Newfoundland experience of Tasmania's prospects for sustainability. The third case study focuses on Pakistan. Social dualism identified as a key factor in the Tasmania and Newfoundland case studies is a pronounced arguably defining characteristic of Pakistani society. Pakistan is afflicted by poverty corruption dysfunctional institutions and an economy distorted by structural characteristics associated with unproductive rent-seeking activities. Military dictatorship sectarian violence a constant threat of war with its neighbours and the rise of militant religious fundamentalism are also features of Pakistan's seemingly perpetual state of crisis. A fishery case study demonstrates the apparent compatibility and easy integration of market mechanisms and private property rights within Pakistan's traditional feudal system but shows how ultimately this does not support institutional and social structures conducive to sustainability. The analysis is extended to establish a link between the social and economic insecurity of people displaced from access to resources whether this is a consequence of political aspects of distribution or results from environmental collapse and the rise of fundamentalisms which through their suppression of communal rationality become causes as well as symptoms of sustainability dysfunction. In conclusion the study supports arguments that the transformation of fisheries and by extension of societies more generally in accordance with prevailing neoliberal trends undermines the social cohesion and institutional integrity required for sustainability."

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Copyright the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (PhD)--University of Tasmania, 2007. Includes bibliographical references. Ch. 1. Introduction -- Ch. 2. The global fisheries crisis: background and key issues -- Ch. 3. The Newfoundland cod fishery: a case study of unsustainability -- Ch. 4. Tasmania: historically entrencvhed social dualism and resource management with reference to lessons from Newfoundland -- Ch. 5. Pakistan: feudalism and private property: inequality, unsustainability and the rise of fundamentalism -- Ch. 6. Summary and conclusion

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