Full text: Expansion, Stagnation und Demokratie - 1982 Heft 2 (2)

Environmental Aspects of
Development
Paul Streeten
Both Teddy Prager and Philipp Rieger have shown concern for the
physical and social environment in which we live. Some thoughts on
this subject might therefore be an appropriate contribution to a volume
honouring them. Since my main recent work has been concerned with
the developing countries, I shall link this environmental concern with
development, although I believe that much of what I shall say also
applies to the industrialized countries of the North. As in other fields,
the initially separate study of the problems of the developing countries
has yielded a bonus for the understanding of our industrialized coun¬
tries.
Threats to the environment of developing countries
The principal threats to the environment of developing countries can
be grouped under the following headings.
1. Continuing rapid rates of population growth
2. Accelerating rates of urbanization
3. Atomic energy
4. Damage done by persistent pesticides
5. Damage done by industrial trace materials
6. Destruction of forests and soils
It will be seen that this list overlaps, but is not identical, with a similar
list that could be drawn up for developed countries.
The rapid rates of population growth are the result of the introduction
of modern death rates, resulting from modern death control, into
societies with traditional birth rates, with little birth control. The
transition from an equilibrium in which both death rates and birth rates
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