Case 7.2 “Poverty and Pollution”
The city of Cubatao located in Brazil is considered the most polluted place on Earth. More than 100,000 people live in valley, commonly referred to as “Brazil’s Valley of Death.” Dr. Oswaldo Campos, a university professor of public health views the dirty air in Cubatao simply as the result of economic priorities. Some, such as, Lawrence Summers, former director of the National Economic Council and a past president of Harvard University has argued that the bank should encourage the migration of dirty, polluting industries to the poorer, less-developed countries (Shaw, 2017, p. 275).
- What attitudes and values on the part of business and others lead to the creation of areas like the “valley of death”?
- Should the third world have more pollution, as Lawrence Summers argues? Assess his argument that dirty industries should move to poorer and less-polluted areas.
- Some say, “Pollution is the price of progress.” Is this assertion correct? What is meant by “progress”? Who in fact pays the price? Explain the moral and the economic issues raised by the assertion. What are the connections between economic progress and development, on the one hand, and pollution controls and environmental protection, on the other?
- Do human beings have a moral right to a livable environment? To a nonpolluted environment? It might be argued that if people in the “valley of death” don’t complain and don’t wish to move, then they accept the risks of living there and the polluters are not violating their rights. Assess this argument.
- Assess the contention that people in the third world should learn from the errors of the West and seek development without pollution. Should there be uniform, global environmental standards, or should pollution-control standards be lower for less-developed countries?
- Even though they will probably be hit hardest by it, poor nations are less able than are rich countries to deal with the consequences of global warming. As a result, do rich nations owe it to poorer nations to curb their own emissions more than they otherwise would be inclined to do? Do they have an obligation to provide poorer nations with, or help them develop, greener industries and sources of energy? Explain why or why not.
- 2-3 pages, not including title or reference pages.
- APA writing style must be used for all formatting. (Double-spacing required)
- Please see the “Case Analysis Rubric” below for specific grading details.