whole_KonstantinidisGeorge1979_thesis.pdf (2.66 MB)
Uneven development and the environment: towards a theoretical framework for the study of environmental issues
thesisposted on 2023-05-26, 21:44 authored by Konstantinidis, G
The central concern of this paper is an examination of the political economy approach to the questions of regional and national imbalance in the distribution of economic activity, and an application of this approach to environmental issues in general as well as to the specific economic and environmental problems facing Tasmania. Basic tenets of the centre-periphery approach to the question of spatial imbalance include (a) that regional imbalances are but the spatial expression of certain characteristics of the private-enterprise system; (b) that the relevant characteristics include i) private investment decisions according to considerations of private gain, ii) divergence and conflict between the public and private costs and benefits of such decisions, resulting in iii) uneven development manifesting itself in inequalities of various forms and at various levels, which are both undesirable and cumulative; and (c) that a vital link exists between the various parts of the system so that each part can only be studied in the context of the operations of the whole. These arguments are exemplified by consideration of the two most important applications of the centre-periphery approach: its application in explaining inequalities between regions and its application in explaining inequalities between nations. At the level of regions, it is argued that, contrary to the assumptions and expectations of orthodox theory, not only do inequalities exist and persist but also that they are growing over time and, further, that this constitutes a problem. It is found that the 'centre' is almost invariably favoured by private investors over the 'periphery', thus reinforcing the advantages that the former already holds over the latter in terms of an economic structure more favourable to growth. The argument is extended to the level of nations and the centre-periphery (or dependency) approach is contrasted to orthodox development theory. The former views both development and underdevelopment as the necessary result and contemporary manifestation of a single system, the product of a single yet dialectically contradictory economic structure and process whose mechanisms are colonial and neo-colonial relations between the developed and the underdeveloped parts of the capitalist world. Where the orthodox approach sees poverty, tradition and backwardness as the defining characteristics of underdevelopment, to the dependency theorists poverty and backwardness are symptoms of underdevelopment and underdeveloped countries are not 'traditional' societies. According to this approach the defining characteristics of underdevelopment are external dependence of a form which results in (and is perpetuated by) the disarticulation of the various sectors of the economic system and the extraction of surplus. Persisting and cumulative inequalities between nations are explained in terms of the 'mechanisms of imperialism', to be found in the forms of trade and other linkages between developed and underdeveloped countries and reflected in the latters' internal structures as well as in their external relations . It is finally argued that the centre-periphery approach to questions of intra- and inter-national imbalances and inequalities offers significant insights to the study of environmental issues and can contribute to the construction of a more satisfactory theoretical framework for this purpose.
Rights statementCopyright 1979 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (M.Env.St.)--University of Tasmania, 1979. Includes bibliography