Values File

43 intuition suggests that economic growth causes

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Unformatted text preview: hollow ring to the universal declaration of human rights and the more recent instruments all the way to the declaration of Vienna of 1993. There is a certain hypocrisy in a world system that recognizes the rights of citizens if they are on one side of that imaginary line we call a political frontier but not if they are on the other, and then claims to adhere to the universality of these basic rights. Reliance on markets, however, is not an ideological construct as much as a pragmatic adoption of what works. It was the failure of the centrally planned economies that led to the almost universal adoption of a free market stance in most countries. True, some ideologues are trying to elevate free markets to the level of ideology and to urge the elimination of government and the privatization of everything in sight. But most reasonable people do not adopt such extreme positions. They recognize that the ruthless efficiency of the market must be tempered by the compassion of a caring and nurturing government, much as justice must be tempered by mercy to be more than legalism. Furthermore, the needs of the public in terms of health, security, and environmental protection will require a degree of regulation and control and standard setting, even if pragmatically one would rely on incentives and markets to obtain the desired results. Economic growth improves environmental policies in developing countries Ismail Serageldin, Vice-President of Environmental Sustainable Development for the World Bank, Nurturing Development: Aid and Cooperation in Today's Changing World, 1995, p.43 Intuition suggests that economic growth causes environmental deterioration. Growth requires more raw material and energy inputs-causing depletion of natural resources. And growth brings more output, which causes more pollution. Fortunately, as in many other areas, facts give little support to intuition. Careful statistical analysis demonstrates three patterns of relationship between income growth and environmental damage. These are illustrated in box figure 3-6 (p. 44), which is derived from an analysis of cross-country data in the 1980s. Some problems decline as income increases. This happens because increasing income makes available the resources for society to prov...
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