Socioecological Transitions and Global Change
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Socioecological Transitions and Global Change

Trajectories of Social Metabolism and Land Use

Edited by Marina Fischer-Kowalski and Helmut Haberl

This significant new book analyses fundamental changes in society-nature interaction: the socioeconomic use of materials, energy and land. The volume presents a number of case studies addressing transitions from an agrarian to an industrial socioecological regime, analysed within the materials and energy flow accounting (MEFA) framework. It is argued that by concentrating on the biophysical dimensions of change in the course of industrialization, social development issues can be explicitly linked to changes in the natural environment.
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Chapter 7: Transition in a Contemporary Context: Patterns of Development in a Globalizing World

Nina Eisenmenger, Jesus Ramos Martin and Heinz Schandl


Nina Eisenmenger, Jesus Ramos Martin and Heinz Schandl 7.1 INTRODUCTION Three earlier chapters in this book discuss the process of industrialization in Europe, taking the United Kingdom and Austria as examples for early and late transition respectively from an agrarian, solar-based socioecological regime to a fossil-fuel-based industrial regime. These are examples of endogenously driven industrialization in which domestic agricultural development yielded a surplus that could be invested in other sectors of the economy. Recent transitions in countries, often denoted as developing countries, are confronted with quite a different development context. They are integrated in a global economic system where the division of labour assigns each country a specific role within the world economy. Thus, socioeconomic change within a developing country is not mainly dependent on internal processes, but rather is strongly influenced by the international context. This has become particularly evident since the 1980s, the time period for this analysis, during which the accelerated incorporation of developing economies into world markets occurred. This chapter focuses on two world regions, South America and Southeast Asia, and takes a comparative view. The analysis is based on a set of countries in these regions, that is, Lao PDR (Laos), Vietnam, Philippines and Thailand in Southeast Asia, and Venezuela, Brazil and Chile in South America, for all of which we engaged in detailed case studies except for Chile (Giljum 2004). Both South America and Southeast Asia are developing regions undergoing a rapid transition process. They are very different in terms...

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