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Current Affairs 2023

Dutch Disease - UPSC Current Affairs

Dutch Disease refers to the negative economic consequences that occur when a country's currency experiences a sudden increase in value, often associated with the exploitation of a valuable natural resource. The phenomenon can result in decreased competitiveness of exports and job losses in non-resource-based industries. Countries can mitigate the effects of Dutch Disease by diversifying their economies and reducing dependency on a single resource. Examples of Dutch Disease have been observed in various countries, including the Netherlands, Great Britain, Canada, and Russia.

Mar 19, 2023

3 min read

Dutch Disease is a phenomenon that occurs when a nation's currency experiences a sudden increase in value due to the discovery or exploitation of a valuable natural resource. This can lead to negative consequences on the overall economy of a country. When a newfound resource is exploited, a large influx of foreign cash may occur, leading to an appreciation of the local currency. As a result, exports become less competitive, and job opportunities may be lost to other countries.




The effects of Dutch Disease can contribute to unemployment in the long run, as manufacturing jobs may move to lower-cost countries. Furthermore, non-resource-based industries may suffer due to the increased wealth generated by resource-based industries. The term Dutch Disease was first coined by The Economist in 1977 when the publication analyzed a crisis that occurred in the Netherlands after the discovery of vast natural gas deposits in the North Sea in 1959. The newfound wealth and massive exports of oil caused the value of the Dutch guilder to rise sharply, making Dutch exports of all non-oil products less competitive on the world market. As a result, unemployment rose, and capital investment in the country dropped.


Examples of Dutch Disease have been observed in various countries around the world. For instance, Australia experienced a mining boom in the early 2000s, which caused the Australian dollar to appreciate sharply. The higher exchange rate made Australian exports more expensive and reduced the competitiveness of other sectors, such as tourism and education. This led to a decline in those sectors and a rise in unemployment.


Similarly, in the late 2000s, Brazil experienced an increase in foreign investment and commodity prices, particularly for iron ore, which caused the Brazilian currency to appreciate significantly. This made Brazilian exports, such as manufactured goods and agricultural products, more expensive and led to a decline in those sectors. The country also experienced a rise in inflation and a reduction in competitiveness, ultimately leading to a recession.


Another example is the case of Ghana, which discovered oil in the late 2000s. The influx of foreign investment led to a significant appreciation of the Ghanaian currency, making it difficult for other sectors to compete. As a result, the country's manufacturing and agricultural sectors declined, and the country became increasingly reliant on oil exports.


In conclusion, Dutch Disease can have significant economic impacts on a country's overall economy when a newfound resource is exploited. Understanding the effects of Dutch Disease is essential for policymakers and investors to mitigate its negative consequences. Therefore, measures must be taken to diversify the economy and reduce dependency on a single resource to prevent Dutch Disease from occurring.

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