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Title: Liberalism in Numbers Only: Science, Politics, and State Power in Postwar Global Fisheries Management
Authors: Ferguson-Cradler, Gregory
Advisors: Gordin, Michael
Contributors: History Department
Subjects: History
Environmental management
Economic history
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Over the last 70 years, global high-seas fisheries management has fundamentally shifted from open access in waters deemed to be governed by the international right to freedom of the seas to nationally-regulated, closed-access and increasingly privatized and financialized property rights to fish. This dissertation seeks to understand this pronounced shift in governance of natural resources, which is usually considered a part of the global “neoliberal” turn in which markets have replaced the state in governance. I argue that neoclassical economic theory has masked what was actually a significant expansion of state power since the 1970s. The shift toward market-based mechanisms of allocation was a political solution to local problems of state power rather than the result of a hegemonic ideology. This broad trend has occurred in widely varying contexts across the postwar world. To make a global argument, the dissertation is based on micro-analysis of three major fishing countries: the Soviet Union/Russian Federation, Norway, and Peru. In the first three postwar decades, numerous fisheries around the world suffered from crises of overexploitation. These were as much crises and collapses of state power as they were of wild fish populations. State economic advisers and planners in particular incorporated the notion of fisheries collapse and rational principles of extraction into long-term economic planning that the state was responsible for carrying out, either directly or indirectly. In order to maintain wild fish populations, states expanded their direct management of fish resources. This move, however, also created resistance to ever greater regulatory control due to lack of capacity or desire to expand state administrative power for ideological, political, or practical reasons. To solve this tension states began to enact market-based allocation schemes based on formal economic models. These models not only appeared to be apolitical but even influenced notions of what was considered political or not. States, therefore, could appear to withdraw from the political process of direct administrative allocation of scarce resources while retaining expansive control over fisheries.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:History

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