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Effects of Rapid Economic Growth on the Environment

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Essay plan

I. Introduction:

   Thesis statement: This essay discusses two benefits rapid economic progress has brought to nations and two negative effects of rapid economic growth on the environment, it will conclude that the negative effects are overweight than benefits (Halkos & Tzeremes, 2011) and (Wen & Chen, 2008).

II. Body:

  1. Benefits to nations
  1. military superiority (Beckley, 2010)
  1. high-quality weapon
  2. enough supply
  3. skilful
  1. benefits to people
  1. income increase lead to more happiness (Ferrer-i-Carbonell, 2005) and (Mahadea & Rawat, 2008)
  2. living standards improved (Kamga & Heleba, 2012) and (Alina-Petronela, 2012)
  1. Negative effects on environment
  1. heavier air pollution
  1. industrial gas emissions (Wei, Guo, Marinova, & Fan, 2014)
  2. international trade (Peters & Hertwich, 2008)(Weber, Peters, Guan, & Hubacek, 2008)(Yan & Yang, 2010)(Xu, Chen, & Ye, 2013)
  1. biodiversity loss
  1. climate change (Rosales, 2008)
  2. deforestation (Mills & Waite, 2009)
  3. invasive species(Czech, Mills Busa, & Brown, 2012) and (Gurevitch & Padilla, 2004)

III. Conclusion:

      Rapid economic growth contribute to nations military strength as well as its citizen’s residents. However, it causes serious air pollution and lead to biodiversity loss. The disadvantages of rapid economic development are more important than its advantages.

The role of rapid economic development is a controversial issue which has been widely discussed around the world. Some people believe that a high rate of economic growth contributes to the enhancement of comprehensive national strength. However, others may argue that the pursuit of rapid economic growth is correlated with an increase in environmental degradation. For instance, China has experienced a more than 9 percent increase in GDP annually since 1978 (Halkos & Tzeremes, 2011). While this high rate of growth generated some issues such as excessive development of natural resources and environmental disruption (Wen & Chen, 2008). This essay discusses two benefits rapid economic progress has brought to nations and two negative effects on the environment as well. The conclusion is that negative effects outweigh benefits.

Economic development tends to cause military superiority through three aspects: weapons, supplies and skills. Technological progress as a result of economic growth can be used in producing high-quality weapons. If both sides use similar weapons in a war, the army with higher quality weapons will be more likely to win. An example will make it clear. The American M1 tanks successfully destroyed Iraqi T-72 tanks within 3700 meters during the 1991 Gulf War and Iraqi T-72 tanks were produced by a sluggish and technologically reverse society; whilst some of Iraqi T-72 rounds failed to hit US tanks since they were on fire from distances up to 500 meters (Beckley, 2010). Soldiers will get more supplies during war because of an increasing military budget, which stems from economic growth. For instance, America defeated Japan in the Second World War because their soldiers got good medical care while the Japanese soldiers suffered from diseases (Beckley, 2010). This is important because soldier is the basic unit of the war, and the state of soldiers has a great influence on war. Sufficient supplies such as medical care and logistics can help them be always in a tip-top condition. Furthermore, rapid developing countries are more likely to produce skilful soldiers. These kinds of countries may have more chance to train soldiers and test weapons at a reduced cost due to high productivity (Beckley, 2010). For example, the Soviet MiG-21 fighter aircraft’s repair rate is three times higher than that of numerous Western aircraft, while Soviet T-62 engines broke down after a maximum of 500 hours usage; as a consequence, soldiers can merely use them to carry out particular exercises for less than twice a year (Beckley, 2010). Skills are very important to military superiority as officers need to organize the army skilfully and soldiers need to use weapons skilfully.

In addition to military superiority, people can benefit from economic growth. First, higher income is usually related to happiness. Due to economic growth, output expansion provides more jobs and promotes business development, therefore it creates opportunities for people to earn more money. For example, the East Germany who is living alone may feel the same happiness comparing with people who has a partner when their income increased 61% (Ferrer-i-Carbonell, 2005). People who get a higher income may not only meet their needs by spending money on products and services but also achieve a higher status in society; as a result, they are happier than those with less money (Mahadea & Rawat, 2008). Second, the improvement of living standards is also beneficial towards economic growth. The standard of living can be measured by the access to drinking water, the opportunity to accept education, the access to health care as well as life expectancy. Government may have the power to redistribute resources for more people due to increased economic growth (Kamga & Heleba, 2012). As for drinking water,  the accessibility of this  for  families living in the rural areas is more than five times higher in the 1970s (Alina-Petronela, 2012). Moreover, higher living standards support people to pursue their dreams and contribute to build a harmonious society since people do not need to fight to get what they want.

Nevertheless, rapid economic growth results in severe air pollution. To begin with, air pollution is aggravated by industrial SO2 emissions which is regarded as a critical air contaminant. A reliable resource shows that industrial SO2 emissions occupied 84% of SO2 emissions, 17.05 million tonnes in total (National Bureau of Statistics, 2011, in Wei, Guo, Marinova, & Fan, 2014). Furthermore, the growth of atmospheric CO2 is a significant result of international trade. More than 5.3Gt CO2 emitted into the air among 87 countries in 2001 was positively related to trade (Peters & Hertwich, 2008). In particular, China’s production of exports accounted for around 33 percent of Chinese total emissions in 2005 (Weber, Peters, Guan, & Hubacek, 2008). Not only that, CO2 emissions caused by export increased by 449% from 314.24 to 1725.02Mt between 1997 to 2007 in China (Yan & Yang, 2010). The authors go on to say that the global CO2 emissions would have raised in a range of 0.71%-3.76% because of China’s international trade. The increase in carbon dioxide emissions contributes to air pollution because it is the most important greenhouse gas. It is worth noticing that both short-term and long-term exposure to air pollution are harmful to people’s health. The exposure can increase the risk of some serious diseases such as lung cancer and heart attack. On the basis of Global Burden of Disease Study, 3.2 million people died due to air pollution in 2010 and the number of Asians accounted for 2.1 million (Xu, Chen, & Ye, 2013).



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