us china gas cartoon (source)

We’ve all heard about global warming, heavy pollution and deforestation, but have we ever thought how this effects the global economy? And that maybe the reason some environmental issues are being struggled with have to do with the world economy? Population and poverty also weigh in significantly to the global economy and the environment.

Back in the early stages of industrial production air and water quality was found to be deteriorated, showing how economic growth might actually worsen environmental conditions in the short term (Dauvergne, 2011). This can be seen in countries like China and India who have “booming economies” and are the “planetary powers that are shaping the global biosphere” (BBC News, 2006). According a news article by the BBC (found here), the high economic growth that these countries had hid the heavy levels of pollution affecting it’s environment and the lives of it’s citizens.

O’Brien and Williams go to say that “conflicts arising from the international trade, pollution control, the preservation of biodiversity and sustainable development have all figured prominently on the international agenda” (2013, p. 253). The biggest issue between the global economy and trying to be environmentalists is that on one side, you have people who believe that opening up trade barriers will help, rather than hurt, environmental viability. But on the flip side there are those who think “…free trade promotes unsustainable patterns of production consumption” (O’Brien & Williams, 2013, p. 256).

Economic growth and corporate globalization could be blamed for the “global environmental crisis” (Dauvergne, 2011, p. 462). While the rich get to continue to bathe in their wealth, the poor are left stuck in worsening environments. A crucial part of keeping a happy and healthy planet is striving for a world free of poverty. Of course, no one expects poverty to go away quickly, but we have been fighting it for quite some time now. Though, we also can’t expect the levels of poverty to diminish without doing something. Luckily, “…strong economies naturally tend to move away from heavy industry, and toward service and information industries” which means that this could help many get out poverty, and get stable jobs and lives.

P. Culver


Dauvergne, P. (2011) Global Political Economy. New York: Oxford University Press.

O’Brien, R. & William, M. (2013) Global Political Economy. 4th Ed. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

BBC NEWS. (2006) Booming nations ‘threaten Earth.’ [Online] Available from: here. [Accessed 27th Nov 2015]


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