Project Description

Dr. Tiemann continues to serve as an invited lecturer for Professor Christopher McKenna of the Oxford Centre for the Global History of Capitalism Project. In support of this teaching center, Dr. Tiemann has written a second teaching note Case Study, in conjunction with Dr. McKenna, that he will be teaching for Oxford in June, 2021. This Case Study covers the issue of the “resource curse” and endeavers to address whether and why that did or did not apply to California as a result of the California Gold Rush. Gold attracted thousands of emigrants to the state. At the height of the rush, California suffered from the worst symptoms of the resources curse: a speculative, land-grab atmosphere, poorly-developed agriculture and manufacturing, and an almost total reliance of imports paid for by exports of the natural resources—gold—and corruption and crime.  Yet, despite these factors, California benefitted from the gold rush, turned the curse into a blessing and remains a hotbed of innovation, economic activity and adventure.  This case study is made available by Oxford under a Creative Commons Copyright.