Tasmanian Times

Environment

Pulp friction in South America

Oliver Balch, The Guardian, in Buenos Aires

Paper mills can bring much needed money into poorer countries but a backlash against the environmental costs is gaining force …

When President Néstor Kirchner of Argentina travelled earlier this month to Gualeguaychu with his entire cabinet to lead a protest of 100,000 people against neighbouring Uruguay building two giant pulp paper mills, it was only the latest shot in an increasingly bitter dispute between the two Latin American states. What is being called the “pulp war” is sucking in Spanish and Finnish multinational companies, igniting passionate debate about global environmental standards, and leading to accusations of widescale environmental destruction on the back of potential financing by the World Bank.

Read more here

Cathy Alexander’s earlier report on TT: Pulp fury: in Argentina

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Brenda Rosser

    July 14, 2006 at 4:00 am

    Isn’t it time we examined the very creature that swallows up and decimates our native forests – THE MODERN ‘FOREST’ CORPORATION:

    * The giant ‘forest’ corporation is the characteristic organisation’ of the modern ‘forest’ industry;

    * The shareholders have little power over corporate decision making compared to the top managers and senior specialists in the operations (‘the technostructure’);

    * The members of the technostructure may own significant blocks of stock in their companies;

    * The technostructure of these corporations are likely to be seeking growth with predictable profits.

    * The forest corporation depends on various forms of ‘rent seeking’. For instance, the undervaluation of natural resources, the provision of publically-funded ‘incentives’ and Government artificially-created scarcities in order to make a profit.

    [eg ‘Protection of Agricultural Land Policy, Managed Investment Schemes whereby investors receive a 100% tax deduction in the first 12 months and the forest corps get the benefit of access to the huge streams of superannuation funds
    etc.)

    * Large dollar amounts are directed to politicians and lobbyists to manipulate public regulation and laws that influence their industry and market performance;

    * The ‘forest’ corporation is ‘risk averse’ relying on vertical and horizontal integration and many other strategies to avoid the vagaries of
    the market and competition;

    * The large ‘forest’ corporation will acknowledge other (non-financial/business) objectives if they improve the ‘corporate image’. Thus the attraction of facile environmental certification schemes ;

    * The ‘forest’ corporation relies on advertising plus a national ideology that praises the constant growth of privately consumable goods and services;

    * The modern ‘forest’ industry and corporation faces a CRISIS OF OVERPRODUCTION as a result of State, Federal and international Government’s subsidies and regulations that:

    1) encourage creation of production facilities on such a large scale that the volume of product depresses prices significantly;

    2) set up market entry barriers and put new or smaller firms at a competitive disadvantage, so as to deny adequate domestic outlets for investment capital. The result is a crisis of overproduction and surplus capital, and a spiraling process of increasing statism as politically connected corporate interests act through the state to resolve the crisis.

    QUESTION: Why don’t we dismantle the modern forest corporation and replace them with a model of enterprise that works within the constraints of the world’s biosphere?

    At current rates of forest clearing all native forests will be gone in 170 years. It’s likely that non-linear catastrophic effects of this change will kick in a long time before that.

    References: http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/econn/econn102.htm)
    and the writings of John Kenneth Galbraith and others.

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