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Patterns of change in material use and material efficiency in the successor states of the former Soviet Union

Patterns of change in material use and material efficiency in the successor states of the former Soviet Union
Heinz Schandl
James West
Fridolin Krausmann
Jan Kovanda
Tomas Hak
Journal Article
Ecological Economics, Volume 105, Pages 211-219
The successor states of the former Soviet Union present a unique opportunity to study the changes in the socio-metabolic profile of a cohort of nations which underwent a radical and contemporaneous shift in economic system. That change was from being regions within an economically integrated, centrally planned whole, to being independent nations left to find their own place in the global economic system. The situation of these nations since the dissolution of the Soviet Union provides a rare experiment, in which we might observe the influence of the different starting conditions of each nation on the development path it subsequently followed, and the attendant socio-metabolic profiles which resulted. Here we take the opportunity to examine patterns for the region as a whole, and for three individual countries. We also examine the relative importance of three different drivers of material consumption using a version of the IPAT framework. Finally, an area for follow-on investigation was suggested by a significant positive correlation observed between the economic growth of individual successor states, and the degree to which they improved their material productivity. This latter is of potential importance in assessing whether dematerialization acts primarily to accelerate or retard economic growth.
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