Environmental Impacts of Globalization and Trade: A Systems Study

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The relationship between trade and the environment has become an increasingly contentious issue between economists and environmentalists. Economists maintain that trade helps the natural environment because rich countries can better afford to protect their unspoiled areas. Environmentalists counter that the pursuit of national wealth drives global environmental degradation and that free trade accelerates the process.Instead of arguing one side or the other, this book uses new analytic methods, including a systems dynamics model, to seek an answer to the impasse. Using lateral pressure theory to account for politics within and among nations, it extends the theory's initial application (which was to explain the onset of war) to the environment by specifying additional connections between the natural and social spheres. In making explicit the complex causal connections between world trade and environmental degradation, the book finds that GNP increases in the rich,developed countries are linked to deforestation in the poorer, developing countries.

It also uses insights derived from this finding to critique current trade policy prescriptions.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"This intriguing study applies lateral pressure theory previously used to understand great-power wars to global North-South relations and the environmental consequences of free trade. Lofdahl's work is notable for its use of multiple methodologies to analyze complex systems."—Joshua S. Goldstein, Professor of International Relations, American University

"Lofdahl asks a bold question and chooses an uncommon path to find an answer. He shows an admirable command of the literature and impressive mastery of a wide range of analytic methods. And all this is presented through the clearest writing I have seen in years." Brian M. Pollins , The Mershon Center and Department of Political Science, Ohio State University

"Lofdahl asks a bold question and chooses an uncommon path to find an answer. He shows an admirable command of the literature and impressive mastery of a wide range of analytic methods. And all this is presented through the clearest writing I have seen in years."—Brian M. Pollins, The Mershon Center and Department of Political Science, The Ohio State University

"In an era of increasingly micro-based literature, it is refreshing that there are still international relations scholars who attempt to theorize the international system as a whole. In this highly innovative study, Lofdahl brings sophisticated statistical and simulation techniques to bear on complex policy issues prompted by the process of globalization. His provocative conclusions challenge the orthodox view that free trade always benefits the global environment and the Third World."—Lars-Erik Cederman, Department of Government, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Corey L. Lofdahl is a Senior Scientist for Charles River Analytics in Cambridge,Massachusetts.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
1 Introduction: The Challenges 1
1.1 Current Views 5
1.2 Social and Natural Environments 10
1.3 The Role of Computation 22
1.4 Meeting the Challenges 27
2 Lateral Pressure Theory 29
2.1 The Classics 31
2.2 Clarifying Concepts and Contentions 35
2.3 Lateral Pressure as Linkage Theory 40
2.4 Lateral Pressure Extended 44
2.5 Methods and Strategy 53
2.6 Toward Robust Specification 58
3 Contextual Imperatives 65
3.1 Geographic Analysis 68
3.2 Time-Series Analysis 78
3.3 Conclusion 95
4 Untangling Complex Linkages: Statistical Analysis 99
4.1 Prevailing Contentions 99
4.2 The Simplest View: Univariate Analysis 106
4.3 The View Less Simple: Bivariate Analysis 111
4.4 The Complex View: Multivariate Analysis 116
4.5 Conclusion: Revising the Contentions 124
5 Exploring Complexity: System Dynamics Analysis 127
5.1 Recalling Analytic Tensions 128
5.2 Representing Analytic Tensions 131
5.3 The Environmental Lateral Pressure Model 136
5.4 Critical Inferences and Implications 149
6 Conclusion: Implications for Theory, Methods, and Policy 155
6.1 Theoretical Extensions 158
6.2 Methodological Advances 161
6.3 Policy Consequences 164
6.4 Next Steps 167
App. A Complex Structures and Dynamics 171
App. B Conditional Plot Analysis 177
App. C Latitude and Longitude Analysis 189
App. D TC x GNP Texts 191
App. E Dynamic Model Equations 201
App. F Nonlinear Relationship Analysis 211
App. G Dynamic Equilibrium Analysis 219
Notes 221
Bibliography 227
Index 241
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