One of the more thought-provoking articles in the World Bank Discussion Paper on trade and environment (1993) is Lucas et al's Economic Development, Environmental Regulation and the International Migration of Toxic Industrial Pollution: 1960-1988. Here, the authors go about the task of linking growth and trade openness to levels of industrial waste across countries through time. Globalization and economic activity have been bringing thorough and unqualified damage to the environment.
The question that begs itself, therefore, is this: how has the pursuit of economic growth contributed to the worsening of these global environmental problems? Will such growth and prosperity consign the planet to a quicker death or will it, as some claim; remove the single biggest hindrance to a more caring attitude toward the ecosystem? And finally, did the nations of the world do themselves and the earth a favor when they created the World Trade Organization and pledged to reduce barriers to trade-or have they merely institutionalized the tendency toward overproduction and environmental neglect?