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Ethics Case - Poverty and Pollution

Essay by   •  July 12, 2011  •  Essay  •  287 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,622 Views

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Poverty and pollution, they seem to go hand in hand. This is true for Brazil's "valley of death", the Earth's most polluted place. In this valley called Cabatao, industrial factories fill the air with toxins, which create a variety of problems such as respiratory diseases, leukemia, and an increase in mortality rate for the residents located near the industrial plants. Although the local residents want to move, their desire for a job far outweighs the cost of their health. The factories are their source of income and ultimately what keeps them alive but at the same time, it is killing them in the long run. Because it's cheaper for companies to "dump their waste" in poorer countries, shouldn't this be an ethical concern?

As the great economist, Milton Friedman said, "A company should go as far as the law takes it. Company's have only one duty, and that duty is to maximize profit". Friedman would also say that having industrial factories in third world countries that create large amounts of pollution is not illegal; therefore it should and can be done. From an economic business point of view, having a higher rate of pollution in big cities like Los Angeles would cost more due to the concern for the environment is much greater in these areas. The higher the concern, the more money is required to protect the pollution, and as a result, there would be a higher cost of living in that city. Hence, putting the pollution in less affluent and developed areas, such as Brazil's "valley of death", is more reasonable because the concern for the environment do not exist. It is not affordable to the locals therefore, nothing needs to be done.

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