Material flow accounting in Chile, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru (1980-2000)
Ana Citlalic González
José Carlos Silva-Macher
Joan Martínez Alier
María Cristina Vallejo
In this paper we compare the resource flows of Chile, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru between 1980 and 2000. In this time span, the domestic extraction of materials increased in the four countries, mainly due to the mining sector in Chile and Peru, biomass and oil in Ecuador and construction minerals in Mexico. Imports and exports increased too, due to the increasing integration in the international markets, prompted by the liberalization policies undertaken by the four countries between the late 1970s and the late 1990s. The four countries had a negative physical trade balance for most of the period analyzed, meaning that their exports exceeded their imports in terms of weight. However, the increase of imports reduced the physical deficit in Chile, Mexico and Peru. Ecuador’s physical deficit was the highest and did not decrease in the period analyzed. Also, a diversification of exports away from bulk commodities could be observed in Chile and Mexico, and to a lesser extent in Peru, whereas in Ecuador the export sector remained mainly based on oil and biomass. More research is needed to explore the environmental effects of this phenomenon. Also, the indirect flows associated to the direct physical flows deserve to be subject to further analysis.
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