rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

The Staple Theory at 50: Index of contributions

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca in its summer fundraiser today for as little as $1 per month!

Here for ease of access is a consolidated listing (in order of posting) of the contributions to the special series of commentaries we have posted this autumn marking the 50th anniversary of the publication of Mel Watkins' classic 1963 article, "A Staple Theory of Economic Development" (Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science, 29/2, pp. 49–73).

Stand by for the formal publication of this series as a compendium by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives early in 2014.

Introduction (Jim Stanford)

The staple theory redux: On the Origin of Species (Abe Rotstein)

Mel Watkins as teacher, scholar and activist (Hugh Grant and David Wolfe)

Alberta's sands, staples and traps (Gordon Laxer)

Re-reading staples theory in light of current trade and development theory (Dan Ciuriak)

The staple theory and the carbon trap (Brendan Haley)

LNG: B.C.'s quest for a new staple industry (Marc Lee)

Who's your (grand) daddy? Watkins, Innis and W.A. Mackintosh (Hugh Grant)

'Rowing and Steering' our way out of the modern staples trap (Daniel Drache)

Staple theory and the new staple boom (Thomas Gunton)

The staples approach and the financial crisis (Alistair and Sheila Dow)

Staples, China and the global revitalization of industrial policy (Daniel Poon)

The staples trap in developing countries (Alberta Gago)

Staples theory: Its gendered nature (Marjorie Griffin Cohen)

Watkins, Innis and Canadian economics (Duncan Cameron)

Staples theory on the international stage (Gerry Helleiner)

Why linkages matter (Jim Stanford)

Bitumen as a staple: Rejoinder (Mel Watkins)

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.