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Arts & Science Program

First-year Arts & Science Capstone Project: Jonathan Rosenhek

Jonathan Rosenhek

Jonathan Rosenhek Capstone Poster
Jonathan in front of the fifth floor section at the Mills Memorial Library with books on the economy and globalization and holding Rodrik’s the Globalization Paradox, one of the sources used in his Capstone project.

Winter 2024 Capstone Project Title: Competing Forces: Resource Nationalism, Neoliberalism and the Nature of the WTO.

Project Description: I analyzed the competing ideologies of resource nationalism and neoliberalism in shaping the legal dispute Indonesia and the EU over the former’s ban on the export of nickel ore in 2014. I also looked at the nature of the WTO and concluded that its dispute resolution system, which typically rules in favour of a liberal plaintiff, forces countries to export goods prior to processing, a harmful form of natural resource appropriation in which their economic growth is slowed.

The 1C06 Capstone experience: I was initially interested in Indonesia’s growing role in fueling the global electric vehicle industry. This push to carbon neutrality has come with devastating consequences for the Indonesian environment as waters become polluted, which threatens the livelihood of local fishermen. However, I soon uncovered that Indonesia’s government had implemented very heavy state intervention regarding nickel mining in the form of an export ban which angered the EU. The project quickly turned into an investigation of competing economic ways of governance (heavy state intervention vs liberal ideals of the market dictating the economy and little state intervention) and an investigation into how they expose the nature of the WTO as perpetuating harmful forms of resource extraction. Reading widely is key, as you may have an idea of the finished outcome going in that can certainly be changed after finding scholarly perspectives. Working in little chunks at a time, I had a great and engaging time piecing together this story.

Key Takeaways: I’ve learned how research projects can evolve from the beginning to end of a project. My ideas evolved from analyzing the environmental consequences of nickel to an investigation of these competing forces. Refining and guiding an idea has become my favourite part of the research process.

Click here to read interviews with the other first year Arts & Science students.