The Cost of Economic Growth

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The Cost of Economic Growth

In Chapter 7: The Environment – Part II, Hite and Seitz (2016) discuss the existing tension between development and the environment. Development brings economic growth as well as social and environmental changes. To a developing country, economic growth may be of a higher priority than the consequences to the long-term health of its citizens or its environment. On the other hand, poverty can also harm the environment such as how searching for land to farm contributes to deforestation.

Do wealthy nations using the labor of developing nations have responsibilities to the people and environment of that country? Why or why not? Be sure to use examples of existing companies to support your response.


The Cost of Economic Growth Example Response:

In the early 2000’s, Coca Cola came under fire for indirect child labor. The sugar cane plantations they frequent for their sugar in El Salvador (and likely other countries as well) were using child labor to harvest the cane. Harvesting the cane requires the children to use machetes and other very sharp knives and were made to work between four and nine hours a day.

(1) The sugar used for Coca Cola products was for the consumption of Salvadoran plant/population and was not distributed to the United States. When the Human Rights Watch confronted Coca Cola about their indirect use of child labor, the corporation stated that it had a very strict code for their suppliers — that extends to the sugar mill and not to the plantations themselves.

Coca Cola has plants in over 200 countries. They have a strict code for their suppliers and believe they are doing their part to stimulate local economies by using locally sourced materials in their products, employing thousands of local residents at the plants, and even finding ways to give back to those communities through other means.

(2) I believe the question of weather wealthy nations using the labor of developing countries have responsibility to the people and environment of that country is answered through corporate social responsibility. My personal belief extends to that as well, as in I do believe it is owed to the people and environment of the country. It would be very irresponsible to go into a country, create a plant for labor and pollute the environment with toxins from the plant itself. And what would happen to the economy if the corporation decided to pull its business out of the country? So many people would lose jobs and be struck into instant poverty.

Coca Cola, along with most corporations, releases a Sustainability report either annually or quarterly outlining their efforts towards corporate social responsibilty. Coca Cola releases allocates 1% of their annual income, at a minimum, to charitable contributions. Those funds are divided into different categories such as labor and human rights, the environment, health and safety, educating workers, disaster relief and more. (3)


Last Updated on September 8, 2019 by Essay Pro