University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Global Political Economy
Sustainable development is defined as development that allows us to meet our current needs without destroying the means of livelihood of future generations. There are three basic elements of sustainable development: (1) economic growth; (2) social development; and (3) environmental protection. Undoubtedly, all of these elements concern our world as a whole. Thus, it is essential to acknowledge that the health of the planet is synonymous with the health of the living beings that occupy it. Protecting the health of the planet is the mutual responsibility of all citizens of the world.
Since the planet is limited with respect to its size and resources, it is a sure responsibility of all governments of the world to collectively ensure that all citizens of the globe have somewhat equal if not absolutely equal access to its resources. There are countless ways to distribute essential resources relatively equally. What is required apparently is more practice than preaching; that is, governments must be diligently finding ways to overcome global economic and environmental problems, and acting on proposed solutions.
There are plenty of global issues requiring immediate outcomes and solutions. It would be wise to answer their call with immediate action. The Wal-Mart Effect: How Wal-Mart Affects the Economy Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is the world’s largest retailer, able to force its small competitors to shut down business as well as drive down wages. On a positive note, the retailer helps to keep down prices or inflation, and productivity at a high level. Wal-Mart sells goods at unbeatable prices. It thus “strikes fear into the establishment of every new industry it considers entering (Shaw et al.
). ” Presently, Wal-Mart is expressing its desire to enter the banking industry in the United States. However, the banking industry is thoroughly intimidated by the kind of competition it would have to deal with. Wal-Mart is certain to be of financial service to the low-income consumer – if it does enter the banking industry in the United States, full-fledged. At least one-fifth of Wal-Mart consumers are low-income families that cannot afford to pay the high prices charged by most consumer banks and financial organizations in the United States (Weston).
Hence, many low-income families do not have bank accounts in the country. Wal-Mart would like to change that, by offering unbeatable prices in the banking sector as well (Zellner). Whether the retailer has a greater positive or negative impact on the economy is, therefore, debatable. Is Capitalism Good for the Poor? A large number of people around the world are of the opinion that capitalists make profits at the expense of the poor. Others believe that capitalists provide jobs to the poor, thereby raising their standards of living.
In early September, 2006, a toxic waste dumping scandal of truly globalized proportions came to light in the Ivory Coast. The Probo-Koala, a tanker chartered by the London-based shipping company, Tranfigura, set off from Amsterdam carrying four hundred metric tons of petrochemical waste to dump in Abidjan, the port city of the Ivory Coast (Vidal; “Ivory Coast Toxic Tanker Impounded by Estonia”). Tranfigura informed the Amsterdam Port Services that the waste was absolutely “conventional (Vidal).
” However, it was later discovered that the waste contained hydrogen sulfide, which happens to be a poisonous gas, smelling as rotten eggs (“Ivory Coast Toxic Tanker”). At least ten people lost their lives in the weeks immediately following the incident in the Ivory Coast (Vidal). Moreover, seventy five thousand people are known to have sought medical treatment with complaints of nausea, nose bleeds, breathlessness, vomiting, diarrhea, skin damage, headaches, and swollen stomachs (Vidal; “Ivory Coast Toxic Tanker”).
This incident was recognized as an illustration of the growth of capitalism at the expense of the Third World, regardless of the fact that capitalists provide jobs to the poor and develop their economies in the process.
Works Cited “Ivory Coast Toxic Tanker Impounded by Estonia. ” Environmental News Service. 28 Sep 2006. 13 Nov 2007. <http://www. ens-newswire. com/ens/sep2006/2006-09-28-02. asp>. Shaw, Hollie, and Carrie Tait. “Wal-Mart eyes banking: Financial services in Canada: It’s a way to strengthen ties with its customers: analyst. ” CanWest Interactive. 31 October 2006.
13 Nov 2007. <http://www. canwestglobal. com/>. Vidal, J. “UK Class Action Starts Over Toxic Waste Dumped in Africa. ” Guardian Unlimited. 8 Jan 2007. 13 Nov 2007. <http://www. guardian. co. uk/environment/2007/jan/08/pollution. internationalnews>. Weston, Liz Pulliam. “National Bank of Wal-Mart? ” MSN Money. 2007. 13 Nov 2007. <http://moneycentral. msn. com/home. asp>. Zellner, Wendy. “Wal-Mart: Your New Banker? – Wal-Mart Can’t Be Or Own A Full-Fledged Bank – Yet – But Its Partnerships And In-Store Financial Services Are Giving The Industry Jitters. ” Business Week. 7 February 2005.