Evolving Challenges for Sustainable Growth
Edited by Roberta Capello and Tomaz Ponce Dentinho
The distribution of activities in space reflects a set of past and present comparative advantages and may change in the future, depending on economic factors that affect the competitiveness of regions. By comparing the present and past situation of countries, it is possible to observe a number of changes that can be taken as examples. Although persistence in regional concentration and inequality is typically the case, there is a set of examples indicating that the possibility of change is concrete, albeit requiring long periods for any change to occur. For example, the dominating role of the northeast of the United States in manufacturing in the past was largely replaced by service activities. The region to which the state of Sao Paulo belongs in Brazil had minor importance in the mid-nineteenth century, and is now responsible for more than half of the national GDP, and about two-thirds of value added in manufacturing. At the same time, the neighbouring state of Rio de Janeiro lost two-thirds of its participation in national manufacturing value added, and more than a third of its share in national GDP. The southern part of the state of Rio Grande do Sul was the richest area of that state up to the first half of the twentieth century, but is now experiencing stagnation and poverty. Global climate changes may be an important element in the process of changing the regional competitiveness framework prevailing today in countries worldwide. Despite the existing arguments about the intensity of these changes, their characteristics, and even about their very existence, the prevailing opinion is that there will be significant climate changes in the future, with increases in temperature, sea level rise, higher incidence of extreme events and, although with most controversial results at the regional level, changes in rainfall.
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