Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Sustainable development and North-South trade

Chichilnisky, Graciela (1998): Sustainable development and North-South trade. Published in: Protection of Global Biodiversity (0198): pp. 101-117.

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The present acceleration of environmental destruction can be linked to the economic trading strategies that came into vogue after World War II. The theory of comparative advantages of trade, which recommends that developing countries emphasize resource exports and exports of labor-intensive products, has proven devastating to both the economies and environments of Latin America and Africa. In contrast, the Asian Tigers approach based on external economies of scale, has generated knowledge-intensive products where benefits spread across whole industries and whole economies, leading to more economic growth with much less environmental degradation. Such an approach should be promoted throughout the world trading system instead of the resource-intensive patterns of growth that continue to threaten our global environment. This is particularly important because other resource-conserving strategies, such as green accounting and property rights regimes, remain politically unattainable.

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