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VOLUME 1 (1999), ISSUE 2 (WINTER)

 

FINANCIAL GLOBALIZATION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN MEXICO

DAVID BARKIN

 

SUMMARY

As the first Latin American nation to join in the United States' project to forge a "Free Trade Area of the Americas," the Mexican authorities wholeheartedly assumed a new role for themselves as ideological and political marshals, shaping a new policy environment in which institutional changes might occur. This process, which began with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), is an example of the heightened sensitivity of its leadership to the demands for greater "environmental responsibility" as part of the process of international integration. The environmental side agreement, negotiated as part of NAFTA, with its new oversight and consultative institutions, were the price that the governments were "forced" to pay in exchange for the approval of the expanded free trade agreement.

This article offers a discussion of some of the environmental impacts resulting from globalization. Mexico's remarkable reversal from its historic position of inward-oriented development to the wholehearted embrace of international integration was never subjected to domestic debate. From our analysis, it is clear that, in spite of Mexico's heightened awareness of and sensitivity to environmental problems, the increased volume of international financial flows is having a significant deleterious impact on the environment.

KEYWORDS

Globalization - Economic Development - Sustainable Development - Environment - Mexico - NAFTA

AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION

David BARKIN received his doctorate in economics from Yale University and teaches at the Metropolitan University in Mexico City. He was awarded the National Prize in Political Economy and is a fellow of the Mexican Academy of Sciences; he is also a member of the National Research Council of Mexico. He is a Research Associate at the Mexican Center for Ecology and Development.

His current work involves the analysis of the problems of the impact of international economic integration on the environment and on economic opportunities for communities in Latin America. He continues with an interest in the process of uneven development which engenders serious disequilibria throughout society. He is the author of more than one dozen books and hundreds of articles in eight languages; among his books are: Distorted Development : Mexico in the world economy (in English, Japanese and Spanish), and Monarchs and Peasants: A strategy for sustainable development in Eastern Michoacan, available only in Spanish. His latest book is bilingual edition of Wealth, Poverty and Sustainable Development.

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