Which is worse for the environment, mass affluence or mass poverty?



  1. 0 Votes

    I would argue that the former tends to cause the latter. Much of the environmental degradation associated with affluence comes from the wholesale exploitation of poor countries or regions. You’ll never find a garbage dump next to a rich neighborhood or worry about deforestation next to a sky resort. This concept is very much linked to the idea of environmental justice (EJ). If you find this interesting I highly suggest you read up on EJ, the link below can get you started.

  2. 0 Votes

    Mass affluence certainly is detrimental to the environment in that it promotes consumer spending (through the perception of disposible income).  Consumer spending has a large carbon footprint, given the carbon output of a good or service’s production, supply, usage, and disposal. 

    On the other hand, affluent consumers also have the ability to purchase items that are produced in ecologically responsible ways (as these items are generally more expensive).  Whether they do this or not, however, is determined based upon individual values. 

    Mass poverty means that people will not have enough money to spend on goods or services that can be detrimental to the environment.  Conversely, given product options, they will likely not spend more money for an eco-conscious commodity. 

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