Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 228

  GREENLANDIC INDEPENDENCE: THE DILEMMA OF NATURAL RESOURCE EXTRACTION Erica M. Dingman Though the Government of Greenland has its sights on independence through subsurface resource development, numerous impediments may stand in the way of realizing such a future based on a trajectory that depends on rapid foreign investment, favorable market conditions and robust community support. Markets are fickle to say the least, but the value that community members place on cultural, social and traditional economic factors may well unleash public debate into the very nature of the Greenlandic democracy. Indeed, the rising demand for informed and transparent public debate would suggest that unbridled development will not easily come to light without the inclusion of those who are most affected by resource extraction. Focusing on a mounting division between the educated urban elite and less educated rural community members, this article will examine Greenlandic development in the context of equalizing economic, political and social opportunities as primary conditions of democracy. “Oil seduces those who would control it, feeding dreams of instant wealth and economic transformation.” Oil, Gavin Bridge & Philippe Le Billlion Introduction Greenland is arguably an emerging geostrategic location based on a presumed abundance of accessible hydrocarbon and minerals deposits. The rising interest of foreign entities, which the Government of Greenland has actively courted, prompted Greenland to regard non-renewable natural resource extraction as a pathway to financial freedom that could transform Greenland from Erica M. Dingman is an Associate Fellow at the World Policy Institute.