December 31, 2006

Economic growth and the environment

J.S. says that the current economic growth in developing countries is
the biggest anti-poverty event in all of human history. As to the environmental angle, here's the catch: which force will outweigh the other, the increasing demand for environmental quality that will come with this increased wealth or the environmental degradation caused by it? Any thoughts?
Particulate matter and toxic gases in the air, and toxic chemicals and pathogens in water and food will decrease. As a result human health will improve. Carbon in the atmosphere, and nitrogen and phosphorus in ecosystems will keep increasing. Natural habitats and species will keep disappearing.

In other words, the environment closer to humans will improve; the environment farther removed from our current everyday lives will get worse.

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