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Conference paper2006Peer reviewed

It's About Getting Value for Your Money – But How Fair Are the Resource Flows?

Rydberg, Torbjörn; Cuadra, M


This paper is a study on resource flows between Nations using emergy as evaluation method. Prices represent essentially only work that humans have contributed and not the work that nature has carried out to create and form the different kinds of raw materials and products necessary to support our wealth. Emergy evaluates both those resources that are considered to be free from a market perspective as those resource flows associated with money. The emergy-monetary quotient is supposed to reflect the average real buying power for the concerned monetary unit. Economically developed countries have lower emergy-monetary quotient than developing countries. As a consequent, when one dollar circulate between Nicaragua and Sweden, used as an example, in average 11 times more emergy goes to Sweden than what is transferred to Nicaragua. Coffee grown in Nicaragua and further exported to other coffee buying nations is also evaluated in order to find out the exchange ratio for coffee when exported to different countries. Emergy advantage to importing countries was found to be considerable. Some coffee buying countries have an emergy advantage that is 20-fold. If prosperity and demonstrated degree of sustainability is ultimately dependent upon draining other nations or regions of their resources and the production capacity of their ecosystems, then that kind of wealth creation and sustainability is not much to brag about

Published in

Title: Proceedings of the 3rd Biennial Emergy Conference
ISBN: 0-9707325-2-X
Publisher: The Center for Environmental Policy, University of Florida Gainesville, FL 32611-6350


Emergy Synthesis 3, Theory and Applications of the Emergy Methodology

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Economics and Business
    Agricultural Science
    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

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