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Mads Barbesgaard

Mads Barbesgaard

Associated Senior Lecturer

Mads Barbesgaard

Oceans : The new economic frontier?


  • Mads Barbesgaard

Summary, in English

Since the Rio+20 gathering in 2012, and under the banner of blue growth, heads of state, corporations, investors and environmental NGOs have been debating the oceans’ role in solving everything from world food security, to provisioning of energy and natural resources, to mitigating the impacts of climate change and ensuring improved medical care. For the ocean and its resources to play this role, however, significant reworkings of ocean management regimes are required. Only through such reworkings, proponents argue, can blue growth simultaneously benefit the marine environment, coastal communities and growth in old and new ocean industries. As with its green variant, the rise of blue growth as an idea has happened amidst an historically unprecedented rate of extraction and pressure on resources of all kinds - and indeed with such extraction going to ever great depths in what the OECD has called the new economic frontier. This chapter places contemporary efforts at envisioning and enforcing transformations in the use and control of ocean resources in the historical context of the oceans changing role under capitalist development. It does so by tracing the practices of a key actor in questions of the environment and development: the corporation - along with its relation to the state. Elucidating corporate activities in different phases of capitalist development, the chapter highlights how the often-overseen dynamics in seventy percent of the world’s surface remain fundamental for any attempt at grappling with questions of environment and development.


  • Department of Human Geography

Publishing year







Handbook on International Development and the Environment

Document type

Book chapter


Edward Elgar Publishing


  • Earth and Related Environmental Sciences




  • ISBN: 9781800883789
  • ISBN: 9781800883772