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Argument: Free trade and markets benefit the environment

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Supporting evidence

  • “Is Globalization Causing A 'Race To The Bottom' In Environmental Standards?”A 1998 World Bank study of organic water pollution found that pollution intensity fell by 90 per cent as per capita income rose from $500 to $20,000, with the fastest decline occurring before the country reached middle income status (Figure 6. Hettige, Mani and Wheeler, 1998). Average air quality in China has stabilized or improved since the mid-1980s in monitored cities, especially large ones - the same period during which China has experienced both rapid economic growth and increased openness to trade and investment.

Markets and free trade do better than state-intervention in producing positive environmental results

  • Martin Wolf, Why Globalization Works?. Yale University Press. 2004. ISBN 0-300-10777-3. pp 56. - "Business is supposedly indifferent to the environment. That, indeed, is one of the principal criticisms of a market economy. Yet, we now know that supposedly benevolent state-socialist economies were environmental catastrophes. The market economy has avoided these disasters for at least four reasons: first, it provides the means for independent critics of environmental abuses to flourish; second, it generates the prosperity that makes people concerned about the environment; third, it implies a separation between companies and the government that makes independent regulation possible; and finally, companies are concerned about their reputations and will act to protect them, in response to campaigning against them. For these reasons, effective environmental pressure groups have emerged only in market democracies."

Companies must maintain an environmentally sound reputation or suffer market consequences

Counter-argument

See also

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