CEPAL Review

Cepal Review is the leading journal for the study of economic and social development issues in Latin America and the Caribbean. Edited by the Economic Commission for Latin America, each issue focuses on economic trends, industrialization, income distribution, technological development and monetary systems, as well as the implementation of economic reform and transfer of technology. Written in English and Spanish (Revista de la Cepal), each tri-annual issue offers approximately 12 studies and essays undertaken by authoritative experts or gathered from conference proceedings.

English Spanish

Comparative advantages and the exploitation of environmental resources

This article analyses five types of international trade based on the competitive advantages afforded to under-developed countries by their environmental resources endowment. First of all, specialization of such countries in the production of highly polluting goods and services is studied, recalling the conventional specialization in the production and export of goods making intensive use of natural resources. The commercial exploitation of the recreational services of natural parks and the exploitation of biodiversity in pharmaceutical research is then referred to. The use for profit of some environmental services involving these resources which are in the nature of public goods and which would require some type of bilateral or multilateral international agreement is addressed. The access of these countries on an equal footing to a number of global and common resources is then considered, and finally some conclusions are presented. According to these conclusions, it is hard for trade relations between developing and developed countries, based on specialization in the use of the endowment of environmental and natural resources, to provide any solution to the problems of poverty and environmental degradation. However, more efficient, more imaginative and, in the final analysis, more equitable exploitation of these resources could make a much bigger contribution to the solution of these two serious problems. In this case, in order to attain economic and social efficiency it is necessary to receive the collaboration of the advanced countries, in view of the fact that environmental resources are in the nature of public goods.

English Spanish

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