Political Science Essay

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Question

I will upload an introduction and 2 reading to help you the main point we talk about international trade, and then you find a recent article (except e-waste event) relevant the main point.

Answer

A classic example “rotten trade”: PPG Industries’ Exportation of Lead Paints to Poor Countries despite a Ban in the Domestic Market

 Domestic Market Is Proscribed

On May 13, 2015, the Huffington Post reported that PPG Industries, one of the largest manufacturers of paints in the world, was still exporting leaded paints to poor countries despite the fact the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission banned the use of leaded paint in 1971 (Peeples, 2015). The news items also reiterated the well-known scientific fact that exposure to lead paint causes developmental, cardiovascular, and neurotoxic risks to human beings especially children. Based on this news item, I want to argue that the exportation of lead paints to poor countries in a country (United States) where their sale in the domestic market is proscribed is a classic example “rotten trade”. This practice is unethical and should be halted with immediate effect.

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Evidence of the hazardous effects of lead has been evaluable to humankind as far back as during the 1900s. During this time, lead-based paints were easily identified as a serious hazard to human health. Children who ate paint chips could easily suffer seizures, coma, and ultimately death. Children who escaped death ended up having serious behavioral and learning disabilities.

Nevertheless, a number of efforts have been made to remove lead from consumer items. In the United States, these efforts culminated in the establishment of the Consumer Product Safety Commission which promptly banned the use of lead-based paints in the domestic market in 1971. However, many U.S. companies continued manufacturing lead-based paints for export to poor countries. Today, PPG Industries is one of the companies that have refused to phase out the production of lead paints for export.

According to the SAIS Review, Rotten Trade is simply the trade in goods that are legal, but which portend potentially dangerous consequences for those who consume them (Bhagwati, 2002). Lead-based paints pose a major health problem for the consumers of the poor countries that continue to be targeted by the unscrupulous American companies such as PPG Industries.

It is worthwhile to note that the United States has established agencies that play a critical role in identifying and proscribing hazardous products. One of these agencies is the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The commission has done an excellent job of facilitating the banning of hazardous products such as lead-based paints.

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However, poor countries have not been as fortunate in terms of establishing institutions that can fight the importation of hazardous products. Many U.S. companies are taking advantage of this institutional weakness to dump hazardous products that can easily kill local citizens. This is what Rogue Trade is all about. By exporting what has been proven to be a hazardous product since the 1900s and even banned in the domestic market, U.S. companies are perpetuating Rotten Trade. They continue to demonstrate utter disregard for the lives of poor consumers in foreign companies by taking advantage of their weaknesses.

I think developed countries should do more to fight Rotten Trade, particularly in poor countries. The best way of justifying this claim is by invoking the concept of duty of assistance (Reidy, 2007). The duty of assistance is founded on the view that well-ordered peoples owe a duty to assist those burdened societies that are not well-ordered and are not to blame for this disorderliness (Reidy, 2007).

America is a well-ordered society, and one way it can help burdened societies that are forced by circumstances to neglect the task of developing strong institutions that can impose regulations on what people consume is by helping them.

References

Bhagwati, J. (2002). Deconstructing Rotten Trade: A Dialogue with Jagdish Bhagwati. SAIS Review, 22(1), 39-44.

Peeples, L. (2015). Feds Block Shareholders’ Attempt to End Production of Toxic Lead Paint. Huffington Post, May 13, 2015. Online.

Reidy, D. (2007). A just global economy: In defense of Rawls. The Journal of Ethics, 11, 193–236.

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