Why globalization is (mostly) green

Shipping millions of containers of stuff around the world might seem to be bad for the planet but in the long run globalization will help us solve our environmental problems.

With apologies to anyone who took Econ101 in college and at the risk of oversimplification, here’s why:

  1. The global economy is not a zero-sum game.
  2.  Trade benefits buyers and sellers
  3. Rising incomes and wealth are good for the environment.

Ergo, globalization is mostly green.

This may seem self-evident to some but as I follow the conversation about business, the economy and sustainability in a number of venues — from the sparring over China in last week’s presidential debate to Mark Bittman’s musings about an ideal food label to the argument from some enviros that what we need is not economic growth, but “degrowth” — I’m surprised by lack of understanding of the benefits of trade, globalization and growth. [click to continue...]

Edgar Gunther, RIP

This blog has been quiet for a few days because my father, Edgar Gunther, died last Saturday morning. My dad was 88 years old. He’d suffered since last fall from an irreversible heart ailment that left him increasingly frail; his death was peaceful and not unexpected. But you are never quite prepared for the loss of a parent. I’m writing about him today because, despite an often-difficult relationship, his experiences inevitably helped shape my thinking on a number of topics relevant to this blog…immigration, globalization and religion, among them.

Immigration: My dad had lived in Greenwich Village since the late 1990s.  This week, as I’ve wandered around New York, making funeral arrangements, seeing family and thinking about his life. I couldn’t help noticing: The waiters, the cab drivers, the doormen—they’re all immigrants. So were the health care workers who cared for my dad during the last six months, in particular a wonderful Filipino woman who lived with him for the past month or so and offered her love and care.

My dad’s is a classic immigrant story. A Jew born in the Saar region of Germany in 1921, he escaped to New York with his family as a teenager in the late 1930s, fleeing Nazi persecution. Powered by his ambition, energy and intelligence, he created a rich and [click to continue...]