Environmental Politics

Topics: Globalization, North America, Pollution Pages: 4 (1008 words) Published: May 4, 2014
Waste Generation in a Global Economy
Michaela Bolden

Waste generation in North America has grown considerably within the last century and it is only projected to increase in the future. Many politicians and economists will argue that this increase in waste over the years is due an increase in population during the last century. Their argument is essentially, more people create more waste. Their argument is logical, however a more probable cause for this increase in waste may lie in the ever-increasing consumer economy that is being facilitated through globalization. Globalization has spawned the creation of transnational commodity chains. Transnational commodity chains create problems with managing and reducing waste by way of distancing between consumers in the global North and their waste; This characteristic of transnational commodity chains make it easier for consumers to ignore or be ignorant of the true costs of their waste, which is problematic in determining a solution to the ever-growing problem of waste throughout the world. A commodity chain is a system of processes by which a firm acquires resources and transforms them into commodities. It is a series of linkages between the countless places of production of a commodity, and how it gets to the consumer. A transnational commodity chain’s production and distribution processes extend beyond state boarders by means of international markets. The structures of many transnational commodity chains today makes it easier for consumers in the global North to distance themselves from their waste. Increases in the generation of waste can be linked to the development of larger, more intricately structured transnational commodity chains that spawned from the “drive towards economic liberalization in the North and South alike within the 1980s.1” Making it easier for commodities to be traded with the aid of lower trade tariffs and lower regulation standards that expanded transnational corporations options for...
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