The Likely Effects of Inequality and Globalisation on Sustainable Management of Common Pool Resources, the Case of Basarwa (Bushmen) of Botswana

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"This paper examines the effects of inequality and globalisation on the welfare of marginal communities, and its implications for sustainable management of common pool resources (CPRs). A case study of Botswanas indigenous people, Basarwa (San People), is used to analyse the claims that globalisation is compatible with mechanisms for empowering marginalised communities and providing a basis for sustainable livelihood strategies. Several studies have explored why some communities cooperate to use CPRs in sustainable manner while others fail. However, the hypothesis that inequality, might be an important part of the answer has until recently received little scholarly attention. Is globalisation likely to reinforce this inequality or lead to erosion of local culture, social values and traditions and thus reduce inequality? We use a simple model drawing on contract and club good theory to explore a number of hypotheses on how inequality affects the extent of cooperation in CPR management, and how expanding the user group beyond one tribe may marginalise minorities. This is accomplished by analysing CPR management in Botswana. Since 1966, the Government of Botswana (GOB) adheres to a development strategy that makes no distinction on race, political opinions, colour, creed or sex. However, the status of Basarwa disrupts this picture of harmony. They are distinct, and their livelihood strategy is traditionally based on foraging, and social organisation based on bands united in flexible egalitarian structures. In contrast, the rest of Batswana are agro-pastoralists, with highly stratified system of hereditary chiefs and headmen, and they hold the political control and cultural hegemony. This development strategy has left Basarwa socially and economically marginalised as labourers and squatters. This exemplifies the likely effects of globalisation on the livelihood of minorities, which promotes social and economic integration without first addressing the existing socio-economic heterogeneity. Similarly, GOB has adopted community based natural resource management (CBNRM) as a rural development and conservation strategy, which does not ensure an egalitarian distribution of benefits. We use data on CPR management among the Basarwa of Ghanzi and Kgalagadi of Botswana to assess likely effects of globalisation by analysing CBNRM under an access sharing common property system. Our results show that globalisation may hurt and further marginalise the minorities due to socio-economic heterogeneity, and ultimately undermine their access to CPRs."



IASC, common pool resources, inequality, globalization, indigenous institutions, hunters and gatherers, property rights, CBRM