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UNIT 24: Globalization and Economics

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VIDEO SEGMENT: Global Economy and Environmental Change: Chile

While the social and economic effects of globalization can be ambiguous, the ecological effects of globalization are dramatic and obvious. This segment examines the ecological impact of globalization in one area — Chile's virgin temperate rainforest. During the twentieth century, worldwide demand for forest products — especially timber — resulted in unprecedented and widespread destruction of this unique environment. Some of the demand originated in Chile itself; the country's expanding population has needed more open land as well as wood for fuel and construction. Still more demand originated from multinational corporations who sought the cheapest international price for wood products.

Because the cost of Chilean timber in the 1980s was internationally competitive, timber companies from many nations built paper mills and processing plants there in order to ensure access to cheap wood. They also continued an earlier trend toward establishing forest plantations-the deliberate monoculture of fast-growing trees-in the spaces of cleared rainforest. By 1990, 80% of the Chilean timber industry was based on tree plantations. While these plantations generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and employ thousands of Chileans, they have also displaced many native, rural farmers and have contributed to a drastic decline in biodiversity in the region.

Very recently, the Chilean government has sought to regulate the multinational timber industry, because it is clear that the global market does not regulate either the environmental or cultural destruction that results from the worldwide demand for natural resources.

SELECTED IMAGES AND MAPS


Anonymous, CHILEAN PRESIDENT GENERAL AUGUSTO PINOCHET ADDRESSES SUPPORTERS AT A RALLY ATTENDED BY SOME 5,000 PEOPLE. THE RALLY WAS ORGANIZED BY A RIGHT-WING POLITICAL GROUP CALLED "AVANZADA NACIONAL" TO MUSTER SUPPORT FOR PINOCHET IN THE FACE OF OPPOSITION ATTACKS ON THE PRESIDENT FOR ALLEGED FRAUD IN THE PURCHASE OF A 35-ACRE MOUNTAIN RETREAT, SANTIAGO, CHILE (1984). Image donated by Corbis - Bettmann.

Anonymous, TRACTOR AND TRUCKS LOADED WITH TREE TRUNKS (1978). Image donated by Corbis - Bettmann.


Anonymous, TRANS-AMAZON HIGHWAY (1971). Image donated by Corbis - Bettmann.

Obder Heffer, A MAPUCHE FAMILY (c. 1890). Courtesy of the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural, Santiago, Chile.



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