Vulnerable Places, Vulnerable People

Vulnerable Places, Vulnerable People

Trade Liberalization, Rural Poverty and the Environment

Edited by Jonathan A. Cook, Owen Cylke, Donald F. Larson, John D. Nash and Pamela Stedman-Edwards

While some argue that trade liberalization has raised incomes and led to environmental protection in developing countries, others claim that it generates neither poverty reduction nor sustainability. The detailed case studies in this book demonstrate that neither interpretation is universally correct, given how much depends on specific policies and institutions that determine ‘on-the-ground’ outcomes. Drawing on research from six countries around the developing world, the book also presents the unique perspectives of researchers at both the world’s largest development organization (The World Bank) and the world’s largest conservation organization (World Wildlife Fund) on the debate over trade liberalization and its effects on poverty and the environment.

Chapter 2: Trade Liberalization, Rural Poverty and the Environment: A Case Study of the Forest and Salmon Sectors in Chile

Raúl O’Ryan, Mario Niklitschek, Edwin Niklitschek, Nicolo Gligo and Andres Ulloa

Subjects: development studies, development economics, economics and finance, development economics, environmental economics, environment, environmental economics, environmental geography


Raúl O’Ryan, with Mario Niklitschek, Edwin Niklitschek, Andrés Ulloa and Nicolo Gligo The rapid growth of the Chilean economy over the last few decades has earned the country its reputation as the most solid and dynamic economy in Latin America, with poverty rates now among the lowest in the region. Deep macroeconomic and microeconomic reforms, including a dramatic opening to international trade, that were initiated in the 1970s are credited for this export-led growth. However, these reforms came with significant social, economic and, possibly, environmental costs. The country’s macroeconomic indicators are strong, but it is not so clear that the increase in exports is benefiting all local economies, or the most vulnerable of the rural poor, equally. And the concentration of exports in the naturalresource-based sectors – such as mining, forestry, agriculture, fishing and aquaculture – has raised questions about the environmental impacts, as well as the overall sustainability, of an economic model that relies heavily on natural-resource-based exports. Many environmental nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and local organizations have argued against the current economic model on the grounds that it is unsustainable, contending that the environment has been degraded over the last 20 years. Other stakeholders, particularly producers, tend to dismiss the significance of these effects, pointing to the key role of exports in economic growth and poverty alleviation. Different studies have addressed some of these issues, without resolving the dispute. This study aims to shed light on this complicated relationship among trade liberalization, the environment and rural poverty by examining...

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