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Case Analysis- Poverty and Pollution

Case Analysis- Poverty and Pollution

Attitudes and Values

Areas like the Valley of Death in Cubatao emerge due to the industrialists’ and local administrations’ negative attitudes and lack of values. When business people have only the sole purpose of maximizing their profits by any means without thinking of the corporate social responsibility of environmental protection and community development, areas such as the Valley of Death came into existence. This is because industrialists who established industries in this area did not think of environmental conservation (Rezaee, & Fogarty, 2020).  These people established their industries here to exploit cheap labor from the poor communities around them. On the other hand, the local administration failed to act when the Valley of Death was developing. The administration has also failed to protect the poor population against the population from the factories within. Therefore, both the industrialists operating in this area and the local administration have neither moral values nor positive attitudes.

Third World and Pollution

Heavy polluting industries should not be taken to third world countries, and Lawrence proposes. Moving dirty industries to third-world countries would be suicidal because the poor people will be added a health care burden. People in these countries are already poor; hence, they cannot afford decent medical care (Shaw, 2017). Therefore, bringing polluting industries to such countries would worsen the situation. If dirty industries are moved to less polluted countries, the pollution will be delocalized since every part of the world will be polluted. Moreover, these industries should remain in developed nations with the capacity and resources to fight pollution and afford medical care for their population.

Pollution Is The Price Of Progress Assertion

The statement, “pollution is a price of progress,” is very wrong and misleading. This statement may mean that for a nation to progress, the environment must be polluted. This is a misconception since nations can still make good progress without polluting the environment. Industrialists who think that pollution is a price of progress are lazy and irresponsible. With modern technology, industrialists can carry out their operations with minimal pollution, achieving progress in a clean environment (Shaw, 2017). From the given context, the term progress is used to mean development band expansions of industries. This notion of progress is wrong since the true meaning of progress is the ability of society to meet its basic needs and establish building blocks that enable people to live a comfortable and quality life.

Those who pay the price are the poor masses living in the highly polluted valley of the Valley of death. These people are being exposed to health dangers at the expense of the industrialists’ profits. The economic aspect attached to the assertion that pollution is the price of progress is that it is for progress to be achieved, there must be causalities, and thus, societies should be ready to accept pollution if they want to progress (Rezaee & Fogarty, 2020). The moral aspect of this assertion is that industry expansions for profits surpass the benefits of environmental conservation. There is a close connection between economic progress and development and pollution controls (Shaw, 2017).  Nationals that have to achieve economic progress and development have a great capacity to carry out pollution controls. Third-world nations have less capacity to fight environmental pollution because they have not achieved economic progress and development.

Livable And Nonpolluted Environment

Human beings have the moral right to a livable, non-polluted environment since a good environment leads to good health. Every human being has a right to good health, and a healthy environment is a prerequisite for good health (Shaw, 2017).  If the people living in the valley of death do not raise complaints, they seem to have accepted and contented with the risks of living there. However, when these people are quiet and do not complain, it does not mean that the polluters are doing the right thing. Likely, the death of valley dwellers cannot do anything about the predicament because they are poor and polluting areas with power and money (Rezaee, & Fogarty, 2020). Therefore, these people are in a state of helplessness despite their right to a good environment being violated.

Response to Pollution in Third World Countries

People in third-world countries should indeed learn from the first-world countries’ mistakes regarding pollution matters. Suppose these countries can learn and have a good approach to environmental conservation. In that case, they may not experience the problem of environmental pollution as it is being experienced in developed countries. Developing nations should develop robust environmental conservation laws and put in place institutions to deal with the issues of environmental conservation and pollution controls (Shaw, 2017). There should not be uniform global environmental standards. Each country has different challenges regarding environmental conservation, and the priorities of developing nations on environmental conservation are quite different from the priorities of developed nations (Rezaee, & Fogarty, 2020). Thus, having uniform global standards could lead to ineffective environmental conservation and pollution control measures in some nations.

Dealing with the Consequences of Global Warming

Developing nations can be hit hardest if the menace of environmental pollution becomes more pronounced in these countries. This is because these nations have less resources. Hence, they cannot be in a better position to fight pollution and implement conservation. The rich nations owe to the emerging nations in the curbing of their emissions. Richer nations should act as a brother’s keeper to the developing nations to prevent pollution (Rezaee, & Fogarty, 2020). The reason developed nations should help developing nations prevent pollution is that when heavy pollutions occur in these developing nations, the burden will remain on the shoulders of the rich nations.

Therefore, prevention is better than cure; rich nations should help prevent rather than wait until the situation is bad so they can intervene. Richer nations must help emerging nations develop greener industries because it is the United Nations’ goal, which comprises both the rich and developing countries (Shaw, 2017). For the world to achieve collective progress, the rich nations must come and help the developing nations develop to grow together and achieve the UN development goals.


Shaw, W. (2017). Business ethics. Cengage Learning 9th Ed.

Rezaee, Z., & Fogarty, T. (2020). Business sustainability, corporate governance, and organizational ethics.             Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, Inc


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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 the 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 have argued that the bank should encourage the migration of dirty, polluting industries to the poorer, less-developed countries (Shaw, 2017, p. 275). Read Case 7.2 “Poverty and Pollution” in the textbook on pages 275-276 and address the following questions in a paper that will be submitted to Dropbox:

Case Analysis- Poverty and Pollution

Case Analysis- Poverty and Pollution

What attitudes and values on the part of businesses 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 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.

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