ساختار بیوفیزیکی از اقتصاد اکوادور، تجارت خارجی، و پیامدهای سیاسی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|23654||2010||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||10050 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Ecological Economics, Volume 70, Issue 2, 15 December 2010, Pages 159–169
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.
This paper discusses issues of resource use in Ecuador by using the approach of societal metabolism (Ayres and Simonis, 1994, Fischer-Kowalski, 1998, Fischer-Kowalski and Haberl, 1993 and Fischer-Kowalski and Haberl, 1997). This framework allows an analysis of the structure and trends in internal and foreign physical flows. The metabolic profile of Ecuador and its physical flows of exports and imports are placed in a global context to explore trends in ecologically unequal exchange. This is particularly relevant because the country's participation in world trade has implied environmental depletion and deterioration. Second, this article takes a broad perspective on the internal interactions that exist between the economy and the natural environment, through material flow accounting (MFA) over a forty year period. MFA describes in a simplified way the relationship that exists between the economy and nature. Physical flows illustrate some of the pressures that the use of materials puts on the natural environment. A third contribution of this article is the analysis of resource extraction conflicts in light of MFA, linking the study of social metabolism to the study of political ecology. A current debate on economic policy confronts those in Ecuador who push for export-led growth (where mining exports would be added to – and substitute in the future for – declining oil exports) and those who take an ecological economics line (Acosta, 2009), emphasizing the environmental and social costs of primary exports. The present analysis is intended to contribute to this policy debate which is relevant also for other countries. Should Ecuador continue to be a primary exporter or should a totally different post-petroleum economy be developed? A related concern is the existence of a hypothetical ‘resource curse’ in the country, as abundant natural resources are progressively depleted or deteriorated because of the requirements of unsustainable economic growth. This article presents direct material flows and indicators that have been calculated for the Ecuadorian economy (1970–2007). Flows assessed are domestic extraction (DE), physical imports (M), and physical exports (X). Material flow indicators are: direct material input (DMI), domestic material consumption (DMC), and physical trade balance (PTB). Although these accounts do not include unused extraction, nor do they include indirect flows of foreign trade, they describe the main biophysical dimensions of the economy. This article is divided into four sections. The first section is the introduction; the second one explains the methodology used to calculate the material flow indicators of the Ecuadorian economy and identifies the data sources. The next section gives results for foreign trade and the domestic economy, including a brief analysis of the socio-ecological transition in the economy, a comparison with the global scale, and an analysis of resource extraction conflicts. The fourth section introduces some options for the future of the economy of Ecuador, taking into account the current debate on economic policy, and the growing visibility of environmental conflicts, and draws final conclusions.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Ecuador faces a double challenge. Simultaneously maintain the integrity of sensitive territories because of their social or ecological characteristics, and improve standards of living of the population. The theory of socio-ecological transitions leads one to think that, despite much slower population growth, the amount of materials and energy used in the economy will increase in the next years provided there is economic growth. There is need for progress in terms of material efficiency to achieve sustainability. This implies a larger generation of economic value added in the production as well as changes in the material and energy bases of the economy towards renewable sources that do not enter into conflict with the livelihoods of peasants and indigenous populations, and that do not destroy the enormous biodiversity of the country. Diversification of exports is not a sufficient condition. In addition, it is necessary to export less in quantity, and at better prices. Strengthening the participation of the country in OPEC, promoting regional efforts to create ‘cartels’ for crucial environmental resources, and establishing export quotas, are some policies to be addressed. Another component of this set of policies could also be the establishment of eco-taxes on the depletion of natural resources to compensate also for local and global negative environmental externalities (Daly, 2007). This paper has explained the societal metabolism of the Ecuadorian economy (focusing on material flows more than energy). The material flows of Ecuador have been analyzed using the Eurostat standard methodology. The period 1970–2007 is covered. Building materials have increased in periods of economic growth but DE is still dominated by biomass. A progressive shift towards building materials shows that this economy has reached a more advanced stage of development, when infrastructure and housing become material priorities. The physical growth of the economy of Ecuador has been a bit faster than the (rapid) growth of population. The rate of population growth is now declining whereas material use per capita is increasing. Other signs of an industrial socio-ecological transition are appearing. One is the diminishing participation of agricultural labor and rapid urbanization, another is the prevalence of oil in the domestic supply of energy although most of the energy consumption is still comprised of biomass, and a third one is the growth of the service sector. The aggregate DE increased by a factor close to four, whereas DMC by a factor three. Comparisons are made with other countries. The economy of Ecuador still uses relatively little of materials per person. For the year 2000, the per capita DMC in high-income economies was five times higher than the Ecuadorian level (6: 31 tons per capita). Oil and banana exports are the main items in a physical trade balance that is heavily negative. Although material flows for domestic use are larger than those traded in the international markets, it would seem that many export goods have more noxious environmental consequences. For instance, petroleum extraction involves forest and biodiversity losses associated with the need for roads, pipelines, and seismic lines. Additionally, processing pollutes water, soil, and air through the burning of gas, oil spills and wastewater dumped into the environment. Similarly, monocrops – as banana, oil palms, pine or eucalyptus – carry an intensive social and material burden. This burden can be analyzed through material flows directly or indirectly linked to exporting activities, by studying the collateral effects that the activity may generate on workers and the surrounding populations. This is relevant for the agrofuels exports planned for the coming years, and which the economic crisis of 2008 has adjourned. If there is economic growth, a large increase of DE and DMC of materials could be expected in the coming years. However, oil extraction is not sustainable. In this context, MFA is a relevant tool to analyze policy options for the country in the current debate on a post-petroleum economy. If sustainability is seriously considered, the economy cannot be based on exhaustible resources. Ecuador is an exporter of primary commodities, and there is a strong debate in the country on what a post-petroleum economy would look like. There are proposals for intensive exploitation of mining resources. If this takes place, it would indeed be reflected in the MFA. To look at the economy not only from a monetary point of view but also from a physical point of view, as in ecological economics, helps to broaden the arguments for the economic policy debate, including proposals for ‘natural capital’ depletion taxes and export quotas. Government policy under President Rafael Correa since 2007 is contradictory. On the one hand, the Yasuni-ITT proposal (leaving oil under the ground) clearly shows awareness that serious changes in the prevailing extractive model are needed. On the other hand, plans to exploit oil reserves elsewhere (and even perhaps in the Yasuni itself), plus large scale open-cast mining contradict such intentions. Those who defend the integrity of the Yasuni-ITT territory like to point out that over the period of extraction of about ten years, it would supply only ten days of oil world consumption. Imagine, however, a world without oil for ten long days. The industrial world economy depends on a continuous flow of energy and materials of enormous proportions. Energy cannot be recycled and materials are recycled only in part. Therefore, with present technologies and consumption patterns there is a need for ‘fresh’ supplies coming from the commodity frontiers. This is the logic of exploitation of oil or copper resources in Ecuador. Hence, the difficulty in establishing new policy options. This paper contributes to the theory of ecologically unequal exchange. As theorized by Prebisch in the 1950s, there is a structural trend towards decreasing terms of trade, which is verified in the Ecuadorian economy by the increasing gap observed between import and export prices between 1970 and 2007. This article has analyzed Ecuador's negative PTB. More materials are leaving the country than entering. This implies that the country helps the societal metabolism of importing countries by exporting at prices that do not take properly into account either exhaustion of resources or local negative externalities. Extractive developing countries such as Ecuador and other countries in Latin America and Africa, are specialized providers of material resources, which cover domestic and foreign requirements, whereas imported resources are small inputs of their societal metabolism (4% of per capita DMI). These countries are advancing towards irreversible exhaustion of ‘natural capital’, whereas industrialized economies show internal improvements towards dematerialization but they employ more materials from abroad. The metabolism of rich industrial societies including parts of China would be economically unsustainable if the prices of imported essential bulk commodities such as the fossil fuels became too high. Not only the exhaustible resources, also some renewable resources are exploited at excessive rates (Ecuador's deforestation rate is one of the highest in Latin America, and the rate of clearance of vegetation could mean a total loss by the year 2050), raising the probability that, like oil, they may at some point vanish. Mangrove coverage of the coast has decreased, and its coastal protection function has also been lost. Countries like Ecuador need to consider not only the costs of local natural resource destruction but also the eventual need to import essential materials from abroad. Extractive activities are the source of a variety of social conflicts that we call ‘resource extraction conflicts’. They include the complaints because of waste disposal during the extraction processes. Pressures exerted on the environmental services upon which poor and indigenous populations depend, give rise to conflicts. One such conflict led to the remarkable court case against Chevron-Texaco claiming compensation for the socio-environmental liabilities. Also, the national and international popularity of the Yasuni ITT proposal is a sign of the increasing general awareness of the damages from oil extraction in fragile environments. This paper has offered a brief description of ongoing resource extraction conflicts. In Amazonia, some communities have tried to stop the oil industry. There are also conflicts on shrimp exports (that destroy mangroves), tree plantations for export, and projects of open-cast mining. So, this article combines the analysis of societal metabolism with the analysis of resource extraction conflicts.