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Introduction

We begin this unit by looking at an estuary, a place where sea, land and sky meet. We have chosen a particular estuary: the Blackwater estuary on the Essex coast in eastern England. Although the Blackwater has its own unique characteristics, it is used here as a setting, a device for approaching the study of environments. Like any other estuary, the Blackwater brings together a diverse range of processes, elements and issues that constitute the environment. It offers us a way into thinking ab
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Acknowledgements

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Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this unit.

Every effort has
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References

Blackhurst, R. (1999) ‘The capacity of the WTO to fulfil its mandate’ in Krueger, A.O. (ed.) The WTO as an International Organization. New Delhi, Oxford University Press.
Finger, J.M. and Schuler, P. (2002) ‘Implementation of WTO commitments: the development challenge’ in Hoekman, B.M., English, P. and Mattoo, A. (eds) Development, Trade and the WTO: A Handbook, Washington, DC, World Bank.

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5 Conclusion

International economic relationships are constituted in large part by international trade and investment. I have argued that the current trade regime, apparently one of voluntary adherence to negotiated rule-making, is actually systematically weighted against the needs of developing countries. This asymmetry is rooted in a context where rich countries are eager to prescribe free trade for others but reluctant to impose it on themselves and able to avoid doing so. Its consequences are exacerba
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4.2 Environmental and labour standards

Question

Look back at Section 1. Why do trade unions in rich countries take up the cause of poor environmental and working conditions in developing countries as they did at Seattle? And why are developing country governments unwilling
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4.1 Uniting the developing countries

Several attempts have been made to form a united front of developing countries to negotiate a better deal at the WTO. They have met with little success because there are substantial conflicts of interest between them, for example between agricultural importers and exporters, and between small countries and those larger developing countries that have been able individually to use the lure of opening their markets to get a better deal from developed countries. Conflicts of interest arise too be
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3.3.4 Dispute settlement

The lack of expertise in the developing countries shows up at a subsequent stage as well. One of the undoubted plus points of the WTO, compared with its predecessor the GATT, is its streamlined mechanism for settling disputes between members – on the whole quite impartially. But although many of the larger developing countries have won cases against the most powerful members like the EU and USA, the smaller ones are hamstrung by their inability to field lawyers specialised in international
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3.2.3 Fighting on too many fronts

Although I have dwelt on the agreements relating to agriculture, textiles, and intellectual property, there are some two dozen others, each involving intricate legal and technical details. These include agreements on:

  • Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures: these are standards applied to imported agricultural products so as to protect plants, animals and humans in the importing country. However, these standards are often arbitrarily used to restric
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3.2.2 The protection of intellectual property: the costs of TRIPS

Apart from the internal redistribution of income resulting from greater exposure to the world economy, the effects of one of the UR agreements in particular have achieved a certain notoriety because the agreement clearly imposes huge costs on farmers and consumers in developing countries, to the benefit of corporations in developed countries. This is the agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which strengthens international rules governing patents, tradema
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3.2.1 Social disruption

In return for being granted enhanced market access by developed countries, which turned out to be somewhat illusory, developing countries agreed to open up their own markets. Indeed, for supporters of the UR, this was its biggest achievement. One of the central propositions of economic theory is that under certain conditions free trade is beneficial to a country – but there are inevitably winners and losers. As a country adjusts to free trade, some sectors of the economy advance, while othe
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3.1.3 Tariff escalation

Added to this was the fact that, although the developed countries had reduced the average level of tariffs on manufactures to low levels as part of the UR agreements, this average concealed much higher tariffs on products that were imported mainly from developing countries. Moreover, higher tariffs were retained on products involving a higher degree of processing. In the EU, for example, cigars are subjected to a higher tariff than raw tobacco, processed foods to a higher tariff than unproces
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3.1 Market access: expectations unfulfilled

A key objective of developing countries in trade liberalisation negotiations is access for their exports to the markets of developed countries. However, the rules have been played out by developed countries in ways that block the hoped-for rise in exports.


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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • understand some of the key ways in which globalisation is shaping the world today;

  • give examples of how ideas of 'proximity' and 'distance' can be used to understand an increasingly demanding world;

  • illustrate the importance of recognising the liveliness of the natural world.


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2.4 Dynamic equilibrium

Homeostasis is the term used to describe the dynamic equilibrium that maintains living systems. Homeostasis could be described as the perfect blend of positive and negative feedback cycles in order to maintain living systems.

Homeostasis occurs at all levels of organisation within living systems. Individual cells are constantly pumping chemicals across their membranes in order to maintain the appropriate chemical composition for crucial functions such as metabolism and DNA repair
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • use the sign graph diagramming technique to develop and communicate a systemic understanding of complex situations;

  • identify feedback relationships as fundamental controllers within systems and as points of intervention to enact change.


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3.2 (2B): Developing a relational model of the Powerdown Show programme

In this activity you will be challenged to reinterpret the following programme extracted from the Powerdown Show DVD: Energy Descent Pathways. The reason this programme was selected, from the many audio-visual programmes currently available online that tackle environmental and social issues, was because it presents an "ecotopian" approach to tackling the converging social, economic and environmental crises. Your challen
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3.1 (2A): Exploring the global implications of different mindsets

In this activity the aim is to investigate the implications of different mindsets with regards to the future unfolding of events on a global scale.

Activity

So far, you have focused your attention on exploring your personal cognitive
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5.3 Order and chaos

How can we explain a sudden switch of behaviour at a particular temperature? There must be two competing influences (say X and Y) that depend differently on temperature. Figure 23 indicates how a unique temperature (a so-called critical temperature, Tc) arises,
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5.2 What's in a phase?

In an engineering and scientific context, a phase is an arrangement of atoms that is identifiable through its recurrence – the same pattern is found time and again. For instance, the compound of hydrogen and oxygen that we call water turns up all over the place in the same form as a runny, colourless liquid; this is a specific phase of the compound H2O. In water, the atoms apparently organise themselves according to what they are and the ambient conditions of temperature a
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4.4 Summary of Section 4

  • Thermal energy is a random thing, so any group of particles possessing it will have a distribution of kinetic energies.

  • The fraction of particles with energy greater than an amount E1 is proportional to exp(−E1/kT).

  • Thermally activated rates follow Arrhenius's law and are characterised by an activation energy.

  • Diffusion in solids and electrical conduction i
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