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

  • Vallejo, Maria Cristina
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    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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    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
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Muradian, Roldan & Martinez-Alier, Joan, 2001. "Trade and the environment: from a 'Southern' perspective," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 281-297, February.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Heinz Schandl & Marina Fischer-Kowalski & Clemens Grunbuhel & Fridolin Krausmann, 2008. "Socio-metabolic Transitions in Developing Asia," Socio-Economics and the Environment in Discussion (SEED) Working Paper Series 2008-05, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
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    11. 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.
    12. Sachs, Jeffrey D. & Warner, Andrew M., 2001. "The curse of natural resources," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 827-838, May.
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