Canadian historians rejected Turnerian frontier historiography as an inapplicable Americanism and instead embraced the staples theory of Innis. Innis , Harold A. The economic history of the regions adjacent to the submerged areas extending to the northeast of America’s north Atlantic seaboard is in striking contrast to that of the continental regions. To determine the importance of staples to the per-person growth process, one cannot simply assume away linkage or spread effects. Chambers’s and Gordon’s results were entirely assumption-driven because they measured the effect of staple exports within the framework of what they referred to as conventional economic theory. Dried cod is replaced by frozen cod blocks which are later replaced by fresh lobster exports.

Mel Watkins revived the theory during the s and s through his work on resource capitalism and Canadian political economy. Of the various extensions and amendments to the staple theory, of particular importance has been the explicit introduction of linkages into analytical framework although Mackintosh himself highlighted in the s what has come to be referred to as linkages. Wheat farming was a very independent venture, which led to a history of distrust of government and corporations in that part of the country. Canadian historians rejected Turnerian frontier historiography as an inapplicable Americanism and instead embraced the staples theory of Innis. Innis was a tireless, meticulous researcher and a vigorous, verbose writer.

That province’s economic structure exemplifies the “core-periphery” structure of intra-regional relationships.


Successful transformation from one staple to another as markets or technology change. At that time, Canada was primarily exporting raw commodities to Europe. Paper, papyrus and radio all shaped societies thwsis different ways.

However, success requires that important supply-side decisions are made within staple economies such that linkages at every level are maximized, a point made some time ago by Innis, Mackintosh, and North. This page was last edited on 5 Novemberat This trading link cemented Canada’s cultural links to Britain.


A History of Canadian Economic Thought. Rather, the staple theory was developed as an analytical framework to help explain the economic evolution of economies where exports of raw materials or their processed by-products have been of some consequence, and to determine the conditions under which staple-related sttaples activity positively contributes to economic development. Because the heartland was dependent upon the search for and accumulation of staples which were located in the hinterland to perpetuate the economy, it sought to gain economic and political power by exploiting the hinterland.

staples thesis innis

The story of Canada became, at its heart, a story of political economy, how Canada developed through the successive exploitation of particular staples in demand by the distant metropolis. Most recent empirical work by Reynolds and by Rodriguez and Rodrik reiterates the importance of the supply side to the export-led growth process—causality runs from supply-side thexis to exports, not vice versa.

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And this can be associated with a very unequal distribution of income, which biases the structure of production towards luxuries or relatively low-productivity growth industries. The British Columbian Quarterly It explains the concept of staples theory and introduces its greatest exponent in Canada, the economist Harold Innis. It is not too much to say that European civilization left its impress on North America through its demand for staple products.

Argued that the pattern of settlement and economic development in Canada, up to the 20th century, and perhaps even now, has been shaped by production of a few products for export.

Staples and Staple Theory

In economic developmentthe staples thesis is a theory of export-led growth thesid on Canadian experience. Early civilization was confined by these limits to three distinct areas. New countries, Innis insisted, develop in relation to old countries.


staples thesis innis

The early links between the Canadian interior and eastern ports led to Canadian unity and its distinctiveness from the United States. For instance, the staple commodity in Atlantic Canada was cod. Another critical attribute of Innis’s staple theory is that a region endowed with staples does not depend for its economic development upon the demand side alone—that is, upon the existence of ever-growing markets for its staple products. On the whole, important as the movement in western Canada must become for the future development of the country, the dominance of eastern Canada over western Canada seems likely to persist.

The Fur Trade in Canada: Innis argues that different staples led to the emergence of regional economies and societies within Canada. McClelland and Stewart, If you want to find out about all that, then check out this Harold Innis page.

New Haven staplees, CT and London: This archived Web page remains online for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. Easterbrook and Melvin H. The medium is the message and the global village are concepts McLuan developed in the s.

staples thesis innis

Library and Archives Canada www. This discourse on linkages speaks directly to one of the basic critiques of staple theory: Social Tagging About Social Tagging.