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No. 5, December 2010

The 2010 issue of El Norte offers three research articles on Latin America from different disciplines and on a variety of topics. The first article discusses brilliantly the globalization of the pulp and paper industry and the consequent flexibilization of environmental legislation in Brazil from the viewpoint of legal sociology. The second article focuses on estimating the size and implications of the informal economy in Venezuela, utilizing economics. The third article discusses the 12.000 years of history and identity in Costa Rica's Guanacaste culture from the perspective of Archeology.



Between Strictness and Flexibility: How Law enables the Globalization of the Pulp and Paper Industry

By Iagê Zendron Miola

The article discusses the role of law in the globalization of the pulp and paper industry. The central hypothesis, assessed through empirical research, is that legal frameworks in the global North and South enable the sector’s globalization by reacting contradictorily to it. The tensions generated by the European Union’s Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive are discussed as an illustration of the increasing strictness of the environmental regulation in the global North. Contrarily to this trend, the production of the environmental zoning for the plantation of eucalyptus in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, is taken as an illustration of the flexibilization of environmental regulation in the global South. By comparing these regulations, the study identifies and discusses the contradictory trends in four dimensions: regulatory trend, form, procedures and scale.


Size of the Informal Economy in Venezuela

By Josefa Ramoni Perazzi, Giampaolo Orlandoni Merli, and Laura Castillo Paredes

Informality is a worldwide phenomenon with special prevalence in developing countries. In Venezuela, informality has experienced a rapid growth since the eighties, reaching its peak in 2003. In fact, a significant part of productive activities are informal, with sometimes informal employment exceeding the formal one, generating distortions in the economy. In an attempt to understand the informal economy in Venezuela, this study revises some theoretical aspects of the informal sector, such as causes and consequences. The article also quantifies the size of the informal sector and compares different calculation methods and data. Findings indicate that the sector is characterized by a high prevalence of women over men; relatively older and unskilled workers; and low levels of investment, organization and productivity. Informal economy’s contribution is one fourth of the non-oil real GDP, and it employs a significant part of the working population.


Guanacaste, más de 12.000 años de historia e identidad

By Eduardo José Reyes Paniagua

The article is a compilation on the archeology of Guanacaste, with a special emphasis on linguistic processes that led to the first "Guanacastecos", how their agriculture started and in different cultural practices such as ceramic production, burial practices, settlement patterns, among others. The early history of Guanacaste began over 12,000 years ago. The article argues that the analysis of identity formation should be holistic, including all historical processes, if the goal is to fully understand the complex historical dynamics of cultures such as Guanacaste.


 Notes & Reviews

Contemporary Latin American Studies in Finland

By Jussi Pakkasvirta


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