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…]

Wall Street’s costly reputation problem

Not since the Great Depression have Americans harbored so much ill-will against what were once called “the monied interests.”

This should worry Wall Street and the big banks.

The latest evidence: Bank of America’s decision this week to drop its plans to charge customers $5 a month for making purchases with their debit cards, in the wake of a customer revolt.

Jay Leno

On change.org, a 22-year-old Washington, D.C., activist named Molly Katchpole started a petition against the BofA fee that gathered 306,000 signatures in less than a month. Politicians chimed in (for better or worse) and even Jay Leno got into the act, saying on Halloween night:

One kid wanted to charge me five bucks to give him candy…I said, “Who are you supposed to be?” He said, “Bank of America!”

BofA reversed itself after rivals Wells Fargo, J.P. Morgan Chase, Sun Trust and Regions Financial said they’d drop customer tests of new debit fees. Analysts say this will cost the banking industry as much as $8 billion in foregone revenue.

In other words, the banks are giving up billions of dollars because people don’t trust them to do the right thing.

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