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Old 02-26-2013, 11:30 AM
 
Location: In the heights
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Before the environmental movement really gained traction in the 60s, cities such as Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and London suffered from intense environmental pollution whether it was short and concentrated incidents such as The Great Smog of 1952 in London (cited as responsible for 4000 to 12000 deaths) or a general shortening of lifespans/productive years through prolonged exposure. Still today the US is riddled with superfund sites even within its major cities (i.e. Newton Creek and Gowanus Canal in NYC) which are incredibly costly to clean up but whose effects if allowed to stay as they are would be even costlier.

Now since that time, a good deal of heavy manufacturing has left the US and Europe and instead been done in China. What I wonder is just how does the balance sheet work out there? Environmental costs are generally externalities that are off the books so it's hard to track and it's even harder when talking about hypothetical externalities from if the manufacturing had been done in the US. I'm curious if anyone's come across any studies that try to put some sort of realistic scenarios and numbers for what the costs and savings of offshoring are for all these different countries when factoring in such costs. I know that there's this report by the World Bank that tries to account for the costs of pollution in China where it estimates about 5.8% of GDP is annually lost but it certainly doesn't delve into comparisons of hypothetical scenarios of what the balance sheets would be if manufacturing and subsequent environmental costs (costlier to manufacture in the US, but possibly more strict environmental regulations in the US balances out to what exactly?) took place elsewhere instead of in China.

It's a pretty random question.
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Old 02-26-2013, 01:25 PM
 
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When you say costs, do you mean, the costs of the eventual cleanup that will have to take place? That is assuming they have not crossed the point of no return, as in, they still have an environment left to save, and not just concrete streets, and man made structures, but actual real nature left for people to enjoy.

I imagine will be the same costs the US paid to enact the environment protection laws. I imagine China is going through everything the US already has in terms of industrialization. Not that long ago, China had very little industry. But when they began, the Chinese started off their industrialization with better tech, and science than, and thanks to places like the US. So any kind of cleanup should be similar to what the US has and is doing right now in the current times.

I always thought that polluting, and not trying to avoid leaving a "footprint" is meant to save money.
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