Inderscience Publishers

Globalisation and local sustainability: the case of the US–Mexico border

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Local environmental issues appear caught up in the rhetoric of planetary problems. Nevertheless, the unequal allocation of ecological strains can entail a specific idiosyncrasy of issues at the local level, which could combine with the idiosyncrasy of the local patterns of development. This paper addresses the relationship between competitiveness and environment by intertwining the global and local levels of analysis in the case of the US–Mexico border, for which there is a specific link between international trade, local development and North–South relationship. The rising level of environmental degradation in the border area is linked to the process of industrial development that the area has experienced during the past thirty years, but this impact may be more indirect than direct. The growing awareness of this degradation and the subsequent steps which have been taken, either at a public or a private level, have been fuelled by the institutional process of economic integration between the two countries, culminating in NAFTA. These steps have impacted the strategies of firms in the border area and provided an incentive to the development of an EGS sector. But the characterisation of the local industrial development reflects itself in the kind of response firms have given to this incentive. To sum up, globalisation is marked by specific patterns of concentration of economic activity which entail specific local dimension of environmental issues.

Keywords: EGS industry, environment, globalisation, local development, sustainability, US–Mexico border

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