Environment and Society

Markets and Commodities

This section stood out to me.  It is interesting to examine the market response to commodities.  Because many commodities are scare but highly demanded, people will find ways to get the supply needed. People need innovation when there is scarcity in commodities.  People will exploit resources for social good. Jevon’s Paradox discusses how imposed or voluntary conservation leads to preservation outcomes in the market.  “Conservation and conservation technology, if carried out at a wide scale, theoretically lead to a market response where prices for a conserved good fall, which may lead to increased consumption of the good by other consumers, who might not have otherwise utilized the good at all”(32).  This sounds like a grand idea with positive effects for all involved, but many people are not willing to reduce their use of a resource just so someone they have no connection to can increase there use. People work to support themselves and their own families for the most part. Also, if there is the conservation of a resource or commodity and more people can use it, the resource will be depleted at a more rapid pace.

Political Economy

Politics greatly affect the impact that society has on the environment. With the rapid increase of globalization do to advanced technology and the increase of transnational organizations, firms are not just harming the environment in their country of origin but other countries as well. “ This is the logic that leads to offshoring…in an attempt to lower productions costs and create new consumers. Often production is moved to countries with fewer labor and environmental regulations”(109).  It has been a trend since the 1970s that many north American and European firms are moving there production plants toasiaand south America. This has definitely contributed to the great amounts of pollution that are destroying the natural environments of countries such asChinaandIndia.  These firms take advantage of the lax or in some cases absent environmental policies or restrictions in these countries. Companies such as Pepsi and Nestle have been “blacklisted” inChinafor repeated water pollution. These countries are trying to enforce their environmental restrictions, but it has proven difficult when it hasn’t held such importance in the culture of the past.


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