Most people in history had a habit of dying from their environment.
There are people who live that way even now. There are people who have to include in their household chores the job of walking down to a water source, and then bringing back as much as they can carry. It is extra hours of exhausting daily work. And what happens when they drink it? Quite often they get sick and weak from the stuff they need to live that took them hours of time and much sweat to acquire.
The environment wants to kill people. Many of those who are not Americans still know this because they still have to deal with it.
There are exceptions, like some cities in China, where man-made pollution has reached a noticeable level. But most of the developing world longs for the day when their top worry about the environment will be man-made pollution.
So no wonder that developing countries are refusing to impose regulations on themselves that will restrain their economic growth!
The New York Times reports,
The Obama administration is retreating from previous demands of strong international environmental protections in order to reach agreement on a sweeping Pacific trade deal that is a pillar of President Obama’s strategic shift to Asia, according to documents obtained by WikiLeaks, environmentalists and people close to the contentious trade talks.
The negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would be one of the world’s biggest trade agreements, have exposed deep rifts over environmental policy between the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations. As it stands now, the documents, viewed by The New York Times, show that the disputes could undo key global environmental protections.
The environmental chapter of the trade deal has been among the most highly disputed elements of negotiations in the pact. Participants in the talks, which have dragged on for three years, had hoped to complete the deal by the end of 2013.
I’ve already pointed out how insane these non-free highly-regulated trade agreements are. I’ll ignore the issue in this post except to say that I’m thankful for WikiLeaks’ work to nullify the Obama Administration’s attempt to negotiate in secret.
Putting those issues aside, I want to ask, why anyone would ever expect a developing country to be willing to regulate their economies to protect the environment. Many of these people are too close to their environments. They want a change! They are never going to agree to impoverish themselves so they can match U.S. sensibilities.
This approach to the environment, that would expect other nations to limit themselves in this way, is closely related to the mindset that claims the government can deal with “economic inequality.” Rose Wilder Lane was a famous libertarian author—and the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder of Little House on the Prairie fame. As the daughter of a pioneer who loved economic freedom, Lane was able to really show the connection between expecting the government to take care of the economy and thinking of the environment as something completely benevolent that only needs protection:
Anyone who says that economic security is a human right, has been too much babied. While he babbles, other men are risking and losing their lives to protect him. They are fighting the sea, fighting the land, fighting disease and insects and weather and space and time, for him, while he chatters that all men have a right to security and that some pagan god – Society, The State, The Government, The Commune – must give it to them. Let the fighting men stop fighting this inhuman earth for one hour, and he will learn how much security there is.