Environmental Responsibility in Global Capitalism
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Published: Thu, 27 Apr 2017
Environmental Responsibility in Global Capitalism
Global capitalism refers to an economic system and a method of production in which industries, trade, and means of production are mostly owned by private investors and corporations for profits. In a capitalist economy, capital accumulation, stiff competition for the markets and wage labor are common to the parties to a transaction. Even as capitalism and democracy increase human wealth, leading to an improved lifestyle, nations should regulate their industries and agricultural production so that they become environmentally friendly. This essay will thus seek to clarify how capitalists strive to maximize profits with environmental conservation as a critical issue.
In my reading, the stronger governments may be disadvantaged when they implement policies that work towards environmental responsibility. The regulations are in favor of avoiding pollution and encouraging recycling. Their weak counterparts may continue with the whole idea of environmental degradation; hence producing cheaper products. The result is unfair competition in the world market. (Rolston, 2012, p. 2) For fair competition, both the strong and weak governments should enforce regulations that would ensure the industries only carry out production activities that are friendly to the environment.
China’s current advancement in its economy shows its willingness to trash its environment for earning profits and exposing its citizens to a lot of health risks. The author of the book “a new environmental ethics” states that coming out of poverty requires an efficient state to enforce workers rights and environmental health. Without the implementation of such policies, workers may suffer from pollution, especially from air and water. Health problems are not only meant for the poor who, in this case are the workers but also the rich who suffer the consequences of pollution caused by the environment.
Trading blocs such as the World Trade Organization have been against the environmental regulations by their member states. Capitalists are also up to the point that environmental concerns do not directly affect international entrepreneurs as capital will flow to the poorer countries. The investors argue that the development in poor countries would make them rich enough to afford environmental protection after some time. The environmental race seems to be moving to the bottom instead of heightening. Capitalists should find ways of maximizing profits for their businesses while keeping in mind the whole concern of environmental conservation.
The world Trade Organization has not considered the consumption of genetically modified foods to be of a discussion in the health sector. The trading bloc argues that so long as the food is safe for consumption, there is no need for raising an alarm. The only advice the trading bloc gives is for consumers to boycott the products if they wish. Such misunderstanding brings confusion to the users who do not know which direction to take considering consumption of certain products. Statements that are issued by capitalists regarding their products make consumers have the notion that environmental conservation is a voluntary activity. Ever since, voluntary programs have never been done to the best, and that is the case in voluntary environmental protection. (Rolston, 2012, p. 3)
A major problem with globalized capital based development is that the rich grow richer as the poor become poorer. Capitalists have continued to look for cheap labor in order to maximize their production. Such global inequalities created by capitalists have made the attempts to secure the environment unsuccessful. Wealth is inappropriately distributed leading to a gap between the economic statuses of nations. (Rolston, 2012, p. 3)
It is unethical to conserve nature but fail to take full measure of the distribution of the benefits of exploiting natural resources. The overconsumption among the rich developed countries and under -consumption among the poor in developing nations is a cause of environmental degradation in both the sets of nations. The escalating consumption patterns with changes in population growth continue to create a difference in the state of the environment. Utilization of natural resources in countries varies, depending on the population and the consumption patterns. The author of the book also explains how both the developed and underdeveloped countries suffer from environmental degradation in different capacities. (Rolston, 2012, p. 5)
Social fairness is associated with environmental protection and a more fair distribution of the world’s wealth is needed for the environmental preservation to last. Both the wealthy and the environmental ethicists are faulted for overlooking the poor in their concern to save the elephants. The setting aside of the biodiversity reserves and forest reserves makes the poor more unfortunate as the wild animals cause destruction to plants and crops in the areas inhabited by the poor people. Such damage to crops may be a source of environmental degradation in the areas. The crops and vegetation play an important role in the control and prevention of soil erosion that causes water pollution. The silt deposited in water bodies will not only have an impact to the poor but the wealthy as well. Sediments cause clogging of water pipes that are used globally hence affecting everybody. (Rolston, 2012, p. 6)
It the book, it is noted that international markets and religion are the two places where humans learn a sense of global concern and fairness. The dimension of faith is expected in the world religions that compare individual behavior with the act of compassion and respect for human beings. In Christianity and Buddhism, for instance, fairness in markets would be encouraged to show concern for the poor. (Rolston, 2012, p. 8)
The dimension of religion in environmental conservation should be given a priority in order to show respect for the gods. Global fairness would ensure that the developed countries carry out activities that do not lead to unfair competition in the world markets. The same would apply to the developing countries who should not take advantage of the opportunity they are given to production. Locally, fair trading can be reinforced by punishing the breakers of the laid rules and regulations. In international markets, the implementation of punishment for law breakers is hard. Thus, it is upon the competitors to promote the peaceful existence and fair competition. For such to exist, religion plays a significant role in guiding those involved in the transactions.
The Chinese remarkable economic growth has been among the most histrionic development progress in the universal economy over the past few years. Nevertheless, the evolution of Chinese financial progression has had tremendous ecological effects. In the previous couple of years, the brief ascent in social and in addition budgetary irregularity, natural griminess, amassing rural emergency, predominant focal debasement and fading frequent administrations have developed to unsafe heights that could hypothetically lead to a volatile state (Chun, 2013 ,p. 34).
In this part of the essay we emphasis on the conservation influence of Chinese e entrepreneurship improvement. China’s vast populace and also its developing significance in the universal economy makes the environmental disaster go far beyond China itself. It is a significant portion of the evolution of the international ecological crisis (Lu, 2007, p. 19).
Capitalism is focused in the search of profit and the continuous, strong force from the competition makes private industrialists, associations and the conditions to take after revenue accretion on progressively higher scales; this leads to populace intensification.
The activities of the entrepreneurial financial scheme tend to result in endless incline in the revenue imbalance and prosperity distribution among nations (Rolston, 2012, p. 21). The inclination concerning slanting the slanting unevenness could, in the long run, lead to finish decays in expectations for everyday comforts for some individuals universally, coming about to a socially untenable state.
The developing economic activities results in the exhaustion of materials. Besides, production and manufacture activities lead to material wastes that are a significant adverse effects on the ecology. Limitless economic development outcomes to drain off the resources and lead to environmental squalor. By use of a formula, the impact of capitalist buildup on the ecology can be figured:
Ecology effect= Population ×Affluence×Technology
Hypothetically, if technological advancement can result in less ecological effect per dollar in central the population, then affluence can be immense (Philander, 2012, p. 54-56).
As the Chinese drifts to a market entrepreneurial scheme connected to the universal entrepreneurial economy and ethos, resources deplete plus ecology deterioration takes into the course in vast and large levels. During the economy developing years, China was and still is a major producer of industrial wastes. China is a global factory in addition to a dumping site (Lu, 2008, p. 61). The environmental crisis is calamitous not only for China but also for the entire world.
Conferring to a World Health Organization report, seven of the ten most inhabited cities in the globe are Chinese. Air contamination results to approximately 300,000 demises annually. In excess of 35 percentage of the aggregate lives claimed by air pollution are Chinese. Acid rain affects approximately more than a quarter of China (Gallagher, 2007, p. 37-39).
Large scale air pollution from automobiles has recently worsened the situation. Most of China’s inhabitants who rely on bicycles and public channels of transport suffer from the dirty, polluted air as well as inclining traffic brought by the combustion of fuel in the automobiles. The consumption autos in China is increasing at 18.5 percent annually. Cleaner technology tried to be put in place cannot regulate the pollution if this tendency continues.
Water scarceness issue in China is immense (Lu, 2008, p. 16). Upper China mainly experiences water inadequacy. Yellow River flows beneath Loess Plateau where much of vegetation is swept away by erosion; this leads to a decrease in the capability of the plants to hold and reserve water and the water supply from Yellow River has decreased. There is violent rivalry for water amid many farming upstream districts and the industrialized downstream districts. Owing to water scarcity, as well as mass contamination of shallow water, many towns and villages are progressively getting water from subversive reserves. Effluence is deteriorating the aquatic catastrophe. In a preceding report, in Pearl River Deltas besides Yangtze River Delta areas, the water crisis is dominant and the water is considered inconsumable due to heavy effluence (Gallagher, 2007, p. 57).
China’s 27.9 percent total land is an expanding desert and more than a quarter of the land suffer from high extents of erosion. More than 35 percent of the total land is tainted due to erosion plus pollution (Chun, 2013, p. 35-39).
The high growth of industries and urban centers is demanding more agricultural land. The rest of the agricultural land is affected by pollution from chemicals, mining activities, and effluence from industries.
According to an International Energy Agency report, the Chinese are the reason for 7 percent consumption of the global primary energy in 1974 besides 14 percent in 2003. China’s energy consumption is approximately 4 percent and if this trend endures it will double in less than two decades (Chun, 2013, p. 41). Recently, China’s energy demand has risen. Amid the years 2000-2004, China was accountable for 40 percent of the worldwide total increase in energy depletion. The escalation in the use of individual automobiles in the past decade lead to a vigorous increase in oil consumption.
China uses its energy much more inefficiently compared to other developed capitalist nations thus China needs to fuel its vigorous economic advancement by upgrading its efficiency instead of inclining energy consumption. In relation to other countries, China’s energy consumption per dollar of GDP is greater than the global average only by a small percent that proposes that China has bounded its potential to increase energy efficiency (Larsen, 2004, p. 68).
China’s developing interest in vitality and hunger for oil happen against the foundation of a creating worldwide vitality emergency. The world right now relies on upon oil and gas for 56 percent and all types of fossil powers for 80 percent of its aggregate essential vitality utilization. There is developing confirmation that worldwide oil and gas creation could achieve a top and begin to decrease in the advancing decade. A developing reliance on coal would quicken the consumption of coal and significantly intensify the effect on an unnatural weather change (Gallagher, 2007, p. 62). Soon it is exceptionally impossible that the different types of renewable energies can supplant the fossil fills to manage the present levels of world vitality utilization and future monetary development. The current Chinese development example could enormously quicken the happening to the worldwide vitality emergency and lead to possibly exceptionally perilous geopolitical circumstances.
Climate structures forecast that global warming would result in reduced rainfall in northern China and increased the fuel in southern China. The North China Plain has been experiencing water shortage since thirty years ago. On the other hand, southern China has regularly been covered by floods (Philander, 2012, p. 51-56). Climate alteration in China could cause a decrease in its agricultural yield especially affecting rice, maize as well as wheat. In short, climate change may significantly worsen the Chinese water crisis as well as loom if food security.
Recently, environmental awareness amid city inhabitants has advanced. Cities like Beijing is being cleaned up and cleaner, gas-fueled power stations are being constructed. However, polluting firms are moved to rural areas in place of being retrofitted to decrease effluence and waste water should be treated instead of being sent away to the sea. As a result of these actions, the rural inhabitants are affected by environmental squalor unfairly (Philander, 2012, p. 61). For example, the profit- making capitalist firms has a huge role in generating pollution. Farmers endure the consequences of heavy metal pollution without any mode of reimbursement. More than 100 million are affected by this crisis.
Farmers may be ignorant of the ecological effects of the polluting firms at early levels in any case, which is evident to that something is not right when the waterway runs dark or when a kid pass away. Nevertheless, complaints from the poor rural farmers are not considered and little is done (Larsen, 2004, p. 73). The central government is contingent on the revenues made by the firms. In other circumstances, the administrators are major shareholders of the contaminating firms; therefore have a direct interest to retain the firms in a production mode and reduce expenditure as much as possible. When the affected have no valid channels to discourse their complaints, social turbulence is inevitable.
Finally, Chinese capitalist growth is bearable. In the event that the ebb and flow development example proceeds, in the not extremely inaccessible future, China may need to battle with significant vitality emergencies, intense decreases in sustenance generation, fatigue of usable water assets, wild general wellbeing emergencies and calamitous characteristic debacles (Larsen, 2004, p. 89-93). Not just the Chinese economy would need to develop and the current social structure would fall, the potential outcomes on the populace could be excessively terrible, making it impossible to envision.
To forestall such a self-annihilation from happening, it is important to change generally the whole existing social and financial structure. The economy must be arranged towards meeting the populaces’ essential needs as opposed to the quest for benefit and capital aggregation (Philander, 2012, p. 65). To balance out and enhance China’ ecological conditions, China needs to most importantly settle its general utilization of vitality, water, and area assets and afterward steadily decrease the utilization of these assets to manageable levels.
In conclusion, as capitalism teaches anyone never to be satisfied with their income, and instead promote endless growth, environmental conservation should also be brought to a high gear. The escalating consumption in developed countries and an increasing world population, in general, should be a motivating factor in controlling environmental degradation. We ought to be reminded that the escalating numbers of people, who would if they could, work together in preventing and controlling environmental pollution. It is through the efforts of everybody that the beautiful environment will be preserved even as production activities are growing.
Chun, Lin. China and Global Capitalism. 2013. 19 May 2015.
Gallagher, Mary Elizabeth. Contagious capitalism globalization and the politics of labor in China. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2007.
Larsen, Lene. Responsibility in world business managing harmful side-effects of corporate activity. Tokyo: United Nations University Press, 2004.
Lu, Haitian. The role of China in global dirty industry migration. Oxford: Chandos, 2008.
Philander, S. George. Encyclopedia of global warming & climate change. 2nd. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE Publications, 2012.
Rolston, H. A new environmental ethics. New York: Routledge, 2012.
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