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Harnessing cultural and human capital for economic sustainability: a New Brunswick model


  • Tony Tremblay


Purpose - What is the role of culture in economic development? Is there any hope for the local in the larger frame of the global? The purpose of this paper is to examine the role that culture plays in economic development and sustainability. To do that, the author examines the values underlying responsible government in Atlantic Canada in the early days of settlement, broadening to a consideration of how those values might apply today. Design/methodology/approach - Beginning with a brief history of neo-liberalism that roots globalization in sixteenth century mercantilism, this paper illustrates how economic development in Atlantic Canada and New Brunswick is sustained by attention to cultural and civic enterprise. Findings - This paper uses Benedict Anderson's theory of social narrative – that culture and other imaginative labours play a direct and important role in identity-formation – to suggest that a robust local identity is the raw material for economic vitality in enterprising communities. Research limitations/implications - This paper calls for a larger treatment. Because the topic is so large, the author can only skim the surface. Practical implications - This paper will be of interest to all politicians and policy makers faced with the challenge of retooling their economies in a time of globalization and market shift. Originality/value - This discussion of the role of culture in economic development and sustainability in Atlantic Canada, particularly New Brunswick, is timely and crucially given the recent collapse of the region's largely resource-based economy. The relationship between culture and economic sustainability will resonate for readers in various sectors and territories.

Suggested Citation

  • Tony Tremblay, 2009. "Harnessing cultural and human capital for economic sustainability: a New Brunswick model," Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 3(4), pages 369-377, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:jecpps:v:3:y:2009:i:4:p:369-377

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