Saturday, January 22, 2011

Two excellent essays on the relationship between economic growth, the environment and the world's poor. Well worth the time.

In today's Wall Street Journal there are two excellent essays, one by Pete Singer and one by Bjorn Lomborg, on the relationship between economic growth, the environment and the poorest among us in the world.  Both essays are well worth a read if you need two different perspectives on this issue...

Pete Singer: Does Helping the Planet Hurt the Poor? No, if the West Makes Sacrifices.

""All of us who are middle class or above in the U.S. and other industrialized nations spend money on many things we do not need. We could instead donate that money to organizations that will use it to make a huge difference in the lives of the world's poorest people—people who struggle to survive each day on less than we spend on a bottle of water. For decades, that is what I've been advocating we should do.

But this concern for the poor appears to be in tension with the need to protect our environment. Is there any point in saving the lives of people who will continue to have more children than they can feed? Don't rising populations in developing countries increase the pressure on forests and other ecosystems? Then there is climate change. How would the world cope if everyone were to become affluent and match our per capita rate of greenhouse gas emissions?"" Read the Rest HERE

Bjorn Lomborg: Does Helping the Planet Hurt the Poor? Yes, if We Listen to Green Extremists.
""In a curious way, Mr. Singer's essay is an example of one of the stumbling blocks to making smarter policy decisions. He starts out saying we want to do a variety of good things, but almost reflexively he ends up focusing on green issues—and doing so in a very predictable way: The developed world has sinned and needs to atone.
Mr. Singer correctly points out that concerns over the environment and poverty are often linked. But he thinks about this only in terms of how poverty is bad for the environment, since poorer, less educated people tend to have more children, which puts more pressure on such things as forests and biodiversity.

But his argument can—and should—be taken further. As we get richer and such immediate concerns as water, food and health become less of an issue, we become more open to environmental concerns. Among other things, we become more willing to pay extra for technology that pollutes less and to accept more costly regulations to limit pollution."" Read the rest HERE
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