Progressives Address Pollution and International Trade
One of the most fundamental differences between progressives and right wingers is that progressives recognize the problematic connection between trade and pollution. Right wingers have an ideological fascination with market-based solutions, and so tend to regard trade as a purely positive thing. Progressives have a more sophisticated, nuanced understanding of trade. While progressives support economic development, they do not give such support unconditionally. Rather, progressives seek the kind of economic development that provides economic benefits without causing harm in the non-economic aspects of people’s lives.
Douglas Barasch, Editor-In-Chief of the magazine OnEarth, reflects the progressive view of trade as he observes the impact of oceanic shipping on the quality of the air we breathe. “Ninety percent of international trade still travels by sea, in immense, hulking freighters that run on the lowest grade, most polluting form of diesel fuel,” he writes. “In the ports of California’s San Pedro Bay, which are the largest in the United States, thousands of container ships pull into harbor every year, belching dark smoke and choking the families that find themselves choicelessly living next door.” Progressives like Barasch believe that it’s important to solve these problems, and that it’s not adequate to automatically accept the suffering they cause as the price of prosperity.
While progressives concern themselves with non-economic effects of economic development, right wingers tend to dismiss such concern as inappropriate. The right wing view of business is that it should only be evaluated according to its economic success. We need a President who has a more balanced model of economics in mind. That’s why, in 2008, it will pay off in the long term to elect a progressive President.
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