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Biophysical structure of the Ecuadorian economy, foreign trade, and policy implications

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  • Vallejo, Maria Cristina
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    Abstract

    At the core of this paper lays the notion that a systematic analysis of material flow accounts enables us to discuss the sustainability of an economic model. Ecuador is going through a socio-ecological transition from an agrarian towards an industrial regime, based on the use of nonrenewable sources of materials and energy. Direct material flow indicators are used in this article to analyze the ecological dimension of the economy of Ecuador during 1970-2007. This approach enables the concept of societal metabolism to become operative. The paper compares societal metabolic profiles showing that per capita use of materials is still at about one-fifth of the average in the high income countries of the world. Physical flows of trade indicate that there is an ecologically unequal exchange. Whereas a positive trade balance is desirable from an economic policy, its counterpart in physical units has been a persistent net outflow of material resources, the extraction of which causes environmental impacts and social conflicts.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 70 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 2 (December)
    Pages: 159-169

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:70:y:2010:i:2:p:159-169

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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    Keywords: Material flow accounting Ecologically unequal exchange Extractive economies Resource extraction conflicts Societal metabolism Socio-ecological transition;

    References

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    1. Ana Citlalic Gonzalez-Martinez & Heinz Schandl, . "The biophysical perspective of a middle income economy: Material Flows in Mexico," UHE Working papers 2007_10, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Departament d'Economia i Història Econòmica, Unitat d'Història Econòmica.
    2. Perez-Rincon, Mario Alejandro, 2006. "Colombian international trade from a physical perspective: Towards an ecological "Prebisch thesis"," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(4), pages 519-529, October.
    3. Gerber, Julien-François & Veuthey, Sandra & Martínez-Alier, Joan, 2009. "Linking political ecology with ecological economics in tree plantation conflicts in Cameroon and Ecuador," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(12), pages 2885-2889, October.
    4. Krausmann, Fridolin & Schandl, Heinz & Sieferle, Rolf Peter, 2008. "Socio-ecological regime transitions in Austria and the United Kingdom," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 187-201, March.
    5. Sachs, Jeffrey D. & Warner, Andrew M., 2001. "The curse of natural resources," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 827-838, May.
    6. Hornborg, Alf, 1998. "Towards an ecological theory of unequal exchange: articulating world system theory and ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 127-136, April.
    7. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew M. Warner, 1995. "Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 5398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Fander Falconí & Jesús Ramos Martín, 2003. "Societal Metabolism of Societies: The bifurcation between Spain and Ecuador," UHE Working papers 2003_07, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Departament d'Economia i Història Econòmica, Unitat d'Història Econòmica.
    9. Krausmann, Fridolin & Gingrich, Simone & Eisenmenger, Nina & Erb, Karl-Heinz & Haberl, Helmut & Fischer-Kowalski, Marina, 2009. "Growth in global materials use, GDP and population during the 20th century," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(10), pages 2696-2705, August.
    10. Weisz, Helga & Krausmann, Fridolin & Amann, Christof & Eisenmenger, Nina & Erb, Karl-Heinz & Hubacek, Klaus & Fischer-Kowalski, Marina, 2006. "The physical economy of the European Union: Cross-country comparison and determinants of material consumption," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(4), pages 676-698, July.
    11. Muradian, Roldan & Martinez-Alier, Joan, 2001. "Trade and the environment: from a 'Southern' perspective," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 281-297, February.
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    Cited by:
    1. West, James & Schandl, Heinz, 2013. "Material use and material efficiency in Latin America and the Caribbean," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 19-27.
    2. Muñoz, Pablo & Strohmaier, Rita & Roca, Jordi, 2011. "On the North-South trade in the Americas and its ecological asymmetries," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(11), pages 1981-1990, September.
    3. Demaria, Federico, 2010. "Shipbreaking at Alang-Sosiya (India): An ecological distribution conflict," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 250-260, December.
    4. Fander Falconí & María Cristina Vallejo, 2012. "Transiciones socioecológicas en la región andina," Revista Iberoamericana de Economía Ecológica, Red Iberoamericana de Economía Ecológica, vol. 18, pages 53-71, Abril.

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