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Growing Public Unrest Leads China To Admit To 'Cancer Villages'

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the cheeriest-places-on-earth dept.

China 174

eldavojohn writes "A new report from China's environment ministry has resulted in long-overdue self-realizations as well as possible explanations for 'cancer villages.' The term refers to villages (anywhere from 247 to 400 known of them) that have increased cancer rates due to pollution from nearby factories and industry. The report revealed that many harmful chemicals that are prohibited and banned in developed nations are still found in China's water and air. Prior research has shown a direct correlation between industrialization/mining and levels of poisonous heavy metals in water. As a result, an air pollution app has grown in popularity and you can see the pollution from space. China has also released a twelve-year plan for environmental protection."

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Typo Last Sentence (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984117)

China has also released a twelve-year plan for environmental protection.

Should read:

China has also released their twelfth five-year plan for environmental protection.

My apologies!

Re:Typo Last Sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984995)

That doesn't matter, we who lived behind the Iron Curtain know exactly how much useful X-year plans are, for any value of X.

Cancer cities, next? (2)

turkeydance (1266624) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984147)

after my wife returned from China, and told me about the red air, it seems like a possibility now.

Re:Cancer cities, next? (2)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984375)

In other news, according to the Chinese government, the red air is just propaganda highlighting China's communistic heritage.

Re:Cancer cities, next? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985289)

Was she speaking metaphorically?

Re:Cancer cities, next? (1)

Khyber (864651) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985383)

Come out to the Inland Empire and you'll see that, no, she was not speaking metaphorically.

Re:Cancer cities, next? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985849)

after my wife returned from China, and told me about the red air, it seems like a possibility now.

In another forum someone posted some photos of air and water pollution. It's no surprise (or shouldn't be to anyone) about the water pollution in the lake behind the Three Gorges Dam, which means effectively the who river downstream suffers the same ills. Skyrocketing rates of esophageal cancer in China have made me eliminate any further purchase of food which has been grown or processed in China. As goes the air and water, so goes the crop.

The price of their economic growth has been explored by a few BBC specials, even if your factory has permits there's a good possibility they were obtained with the help of a bribe. Time to look inward to clean up their mess.

Industrial revolution standard procedure (5, Insightful)

Gabrill (556503) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984173)

I've maintained for years that China, Mexico, and similar countries going though industrial booms are simply in early stages of industrial revolution. Next we shall see environmental, wage, and health reforms, as these countries realize the need for sustainable management of their labor base.

Re:Industrial revolution standard procedure (5, Funny)

DFurno2003 (739807) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984241)

When can we begin shipping our politicians their way?

Re:Industrial revolution standard procedure (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984359)

Didn't you read Gabrill's post? They are trying to cut DOWN on pollutants.

Re:Industrial revolution standard procedure (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42985975)

When can we begin shipping our politicians their way?

Didn't you read Gabrill's post? They are trying to cut DOWN on pollutants.

DFurno2003 did not specify the politicians ARRIVE in the underdeveloped countries. half-way accross the Pacific is ON THE WAY to China.

Re:Industrial revolution standard procedure (3, Insightful)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984323)

Issue is that just because start of the road is the same for them, assuming that they will end up at the same goal is quite strange. East Asian countries have a very different culture, with very different approach to even most basic of things. Expecting them to end up at the same goal is rather ignorant to say the least.

Re:Industrial revolution standard procedure (-1, Troll)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984395)

In fact, given traditional Asian morality for governments, I'd expect the norm to become to simply stop shipping food to any such village and enslave whomever survives in the factory. It's what they've been doing for 3000 years.

Re:Industrial revolution standard procedure (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984655)

I spent a few weeks in China with an anthropologist friend. We'd go to National Parks and preserves and such, only to find that someone had built a roller coaster or slide or some other tourist attraction in them. My friend explained that the Chinese culture doesn't have a particular appreciation for nature in its raw state; that rather than seeing "pristineness" as a virtue in itself, the Chinese kind of see it as a null state, such that a pristine area can always be improved by adding something to it.

Then again, other than freaks like Thoreau, most Americans weren't out hugging trees at the beginning of our Industrial Revolution either. We were busy chopping them down to build places to live out of them. (And anybody who knows the history of Niagara Falls can understand the idea of "cancer villages" quite easily...)

Re:Industrial revolution standard procedure (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984931)

Then again, other than freaks like Thoreau, most Americans weren't out hugging trees at the beginning of our Industrial Revolution either.

Bingo. This idea that "asian culture" is so different from "western culture" is just intellectually lazy. Sure there are differences, but fundamentally people are people, they all want the same stuff - food, air, water, sex, sleep, security, health, family, respect, creativity, etc.

The sort of reforms we saw that came in on the western industrial revolution aren't culturally specific, they are human-specific. The implementations will surely vary along with the timelines, but the end result will be the same because if it does not get to a similar point of satisifying universal human needs, it will collapse because the humans won't tolerate it indefinitely.

Re:Industrial revolution standard procedure (2)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985553)

I'm from Utah.

I was quite shocked to see amusement park rides at State Parks in some states East of Mississippi.

I grew up thinking that State Parks were semi-sacred natural places like National Parks. And that's in conservative, consumptive-model-of-natural-resourse-management, Utah.

Re:Industrial revolution standard procedure (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985955)

I'm from Utah.

I was quite shocked to see amusement park rides at State Parks in some states East of Mississippi.

I grew up thinking that State Parks were semi-sacred natural places like National Parks. And that's in conservative, consumptive-model-of-natural-resourse-management, Utah.

That reads like you are alluding to Dollywood, a greater blight in the midst of the Smoky Mountains one will never find.

Re:Industrial revolution standard procedure (-1, Offtopic)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985611)

Let me give you a couple of examples of cultural difference between China and Western Europe.

Your wife goes on a long work trip. You, the husband are going to be left without her for sexual relief for quite a while. What will wife do about it?
Guess which option belongs to European wife and which one is the choice of the Chinese one:

1. Tell her friend to look for her husband potentially cheating.
2. Organise a friend or a prostitute to visit her husband in regular intervals to make sure he's satisfied.

Situation two:

You, the husband, see your mother, your wife and your daughter drowning. You only have a chance to save one out of three. Which one, according to your wife you SHOULD save?

1. Daughter
2. Mother
3. Wife

Answer: #2 is Chinese option. #1 and potentially #3 are Western European ones.

Re: Industrial revolution standard procedure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42985033)

the Chinese kind of see it as a null state, such that a pristine area can always be improved by adding something to it.

Well, they got their wish. They've added pollution and cancer to that null, pristine state.

Re:Industrial revolution standard procedure (3, Informative)

Jeeeb (1141117) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985461)

Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong are all East Asian nations (or special administrative areas) which are to varying degrees culturally similar to China and provide good examples of this. South Korea and Taiwan are particularly dramatic examples of moving from autocratic to democratic government. Although it is not in East Asia, you could also add Singapore and Malaysia to this list. Singapore interestingly still has an autocratic government, while (less developed) Malaysia is in a kind of transitional phase towards proper democracy. They all have cleaned up their environment a lot as citizen awareness and sensitivity towards environmental problems has increased.

Re:Industrial revolution standard procedure (1)

UPZ (947916) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984363)

Next we shall see environmental, wage, and health reforms, as these countries realize the need for sustainable management of their labor base.

And when that happens, their costs will rise too. It's not like manufacturing is magically expensive in the western nations for no reason (generally speaking).

Re:Industrial revolution standard procedure (1)

jandrese (485) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984469)

Then they'll just have to find some third world country to offload their pollution to. Maybe the government of North Korea could be convinced to let them open factories there in exchange for whatever riches the Chinese can dump on the Kim family.

Re:Industrial revolution standard procedure (3, Insightful)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984413)

Ya, but it seems, the states & Europe got the best of the globe's tolerance for pollution, I don't think we can expect the same weather if every single country in the world goes through an "industrial revolution" adding to the accumulating pollution.

Re:Industrial revolution standard procedure (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984675)

as these countries realize the need for sustainable management of their labor base.

Seems to me that it was realized a long time ago. Then people realized that they could setup the system to reward shortsightedness, and could cash out before the consequences of their actions happened. Witness most of the financial industry. China seems to have already skipped over the step of making happy, productive workers and went right to the "bleed it dry immediately" model.

Re:Industrial revolution standard procedure (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984801)

Japan went through the pollution problem, as well. And they solved it in a typical Japanese way, as seen in "Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godzilla_vs._Hedorah [wikipedia.org]

Well, maybe a schlocky Chinese movie might at least increase awareness of the problem . . . like, "The Drunken Shaolin Master vs. Cancer" . . . ?

Re:Industrial revolution standard procedure (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985059)

I've maintained for years that China, Mexico, and similar countries going though industrial booms are simply in early stages of industrial revolution. Next we shall see environmental, wage, and health reforms, as these countries realize the need for sustainable management of their labor base.

Actually, they are in the LATE stages of the industrial revolution (as any casual use of Google Earth would reveal). They are entering that state where increased disposable income and increased levels of education cause individual citizens making purchasing choices that drive the economy in a direction of more open-ness, more freedom, and more environmental responsibility. These people enter government and start working toward taking care of the environment.

Progress is slow, but this is exactly the predicted pattern that has been seen all over the world as prosperity and education increase, people start taking better care of their environment, investments, and themselves. Much of the west went thru this in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. You rarely hear of smog alerts in the US any more. They used to be common and long lasting in the past. You actually see clear skylines over most cities these days. Hell, even the Hudson river is recovering.

They chose their path in 1989 - despotism (1)

sethstorm (512897) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985367)

You overlooked their attempt on June 4, 1989, which resulted in the Tiananmen Massacre. People were disappeared and history revised to disappear any memory of the conscious choice of the country to choose individual freedom - instead of just being content with letting multinationals keep their workers occupied while giving the people a few economic distractions.

A few trinkets wont change the general lack of freedom that the People's Republic of China maintains. The country's face will have to be ripped clean off with a change to a more Western-friendly government that grants freedom to people of all levels of prosperity and status- much like Taiwan and British Hong Kong before each got invaded by pro-mainland sentiment.

Re:They chose their path in 1989 - despotism (2)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985797)

No I did not overlook Tiananmen, which happened 23 years ago, the same year as the Exxon Valdez disaster, and the US invasion of Panama.

This is not a political issue, it is an economic issue.

My point is that it is simply ridiculous to state that China is just now entering the industrial revolution, when the truth is that China is in the later stages of that revolution, and is quietly entering a social revolution, which is being allowed to happen by the (nominally) communist government.

Contrary to your assertion, I don't expect any violent upheaval in China, nor do I expect progress toward greater freedom and environmental responsibility to slow. China has never known democracy as we understand it in the west. Yet for the average Chinese citizen these are the Good Old Times. They have never had it so good in their long history. They have always lived in a feudal serfdom. It will take perhaps 50 years but they will eventually get to current western standards.

Nope. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985239)

Bring enough of the developed world in with its standards and you bypass this nasty and unnecessary part of "industrialization" - especially if it uses the displaced to help enforce it.

Re:Industrial revolution standard procedure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42985275)

I've maintained for years that China, Mexico, and similar countries going though industrial booms are simply in early stages of industrial revolution. Next we shall see environmental, wage, and health reforms, as these countries realize the need for sustainable management of their labor base.

By that time the USA will have reverted to early Industrial revolution society and be ready to allow our corporate masters to pollute our land, air and water...again.

Re:Industrial revolution standard procedure (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985929)

I've maintained for years that China, Mexico, and similar countries going though industrial booms are simply in early stages of industrial revolution. Next we shall see environmental, wage, and health reforms, as these countries realize the need for sustainable management of their labor base.

Slight difference between how Europe when through its industrial revolution - most of what was in the air came from coal burning. Bad, but nothing like substances which modern manufacturing pumps out into air and water.

The US had its adventures with air and water pollution, sometimes in the name of Victory or progress, but finally coming to grips with it in the 1960s (Pogo sez: We have met the enemy and he is us.) EPA cleanup is still going on, with billions spent to clean up after defunct factories and such.

China was too smarth, though. Believed too strongly in its destiny. Overlooked completely the damage the government was allowing to happen in the name of progress, more interested in pinning that 10 Yuan to the Dollar. Birds are home to roost and they look ugly.

Lest we become hypocrites... (4, Interesting)

Anachragnome (1008495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984209)

Lest we become hypocrites...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Susana_Field_Laboratory [wikipedia.org]

Re:Lest we become hypocrites... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984303)

Lest we become hypocrites...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Susana_Field_Laboratory [wikipedia.org]

Okay, sure, we've had disasters happening there since... oh... the 50s? The 60s? That's what I could glean from that article.

Despite all the time available to know this, however, China didn't bother learning from our mistakes? It's not like the Santa Susana Field Laboratory incidents just happened last week or so, nor that China's industrial factories stretch back to the 20s or so.

Re:Lest we become hypocrites... (3, Insightful)

Gabrill (556503) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984383)

The problem isn't mismanagement. It's lack of management. Industrial oversight is not intuitive to new industrial booms, because the short term profit will always outweigh the long term unseen consequences until they come to light.

Re:Lest we become hypocrites... (2)

poity (465672) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984949)

I realize you're trying to be tolerant of a different country, but being accommodating to corruption and lack of management is not the moral kind of tolerance. China has been booming for over 30 years, and people have an expectation for a certain quality of life, yet instead of supporting them we see excuses. Imagine Slashdot Europeans reading about inferior labor protections in the US and waiving it off, or even telling other Europeans they should not say anything about the US because of their own countries' prior lackluster history in labor protection. Utterly unfathomable, but this is what we see when the topic is about China.

Industrial oversight is not intuitive as you say, but that's only because modern industrial oversight is NOT based on intuition -- it's based on past knowledge on well-documented cases and sound practices grounded in very basic science. One does not need intuition to have proper oversight, one needs only to heed operational standards that are publicly available. This is why Chinese protesters are out there protesting: knowledge that is KNOWN is not heeded.

Re:Lest we become hypocrites... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985183)

The problem isn't mismanagement. It's lack of management.

No, you're wrong. In China it's not the lack of management it's corruption. Corruption so rampant that if you have enough money, anything can happen, and as long as not too many people are killed even the central planners in Beijing will look the other way as long as everyone gets their cut and someone else can take the fall, and you continue to pump money in.

People like to decry the corruption in the west here, it's got nothing on China. It's the way you do business there, or you won't do business.

Re:Lest we become hypocrites... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42985329)

i'm not calling you wrong, but *SOURCE* please!

Re:Lest we become hypocrites... (1)

poity (465672) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985733)

https://www.google.com/search?q=%E8%85%90%E8%B4%A5%E5%AE%98%E5%91%98%7C%E8%85%90%E5%AE%98++inurl%3Aforum%7Cforums [google.com]

https://www.google.com/search?q=%E8%85%90%E8%B4%A5+inurl%3Aforum%7Cforums&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS490US490&oq=%E8%85%90%E8%B4%A5+inurl%3Aforum%7Cforums [google.com]

First is a search for two common ways of writing "corrupt official", limited to sites which have forums (filters out official news so you can actually see what people's opinions are). Second is a search for "corruption" also limited to forums. Delete the inurl:forum option for greater breadth. Use your preferred translation service.

Re:Lest we become hypocrites... (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985985)

Industrial oversight is not intuitive to new industrial booms, because the short term profit will always outweigh the long term unseen consequences until they come to light.

Unseen consequences? If this was still the 1800's and science was less advanced it would be excusable, but this is the 21st century and the effects of the industrial revolutions of the U.S. and Europe and the environmental problems they caused are known history now. Did China think that if they took a similar path they would magically be exempt from the same problems? No, they knew what would happen. The Party simply chose to ignore it to see how far they could raise themselves before they started killing off a large enough portion on their peasants that it became a political issue.

They could have demonstrated a little smart growth by outlawing these chemicals and practices at the very birth of these industries so there were no bad habits to undo. But the government realizes that being environmentally conscious is economically less efficient.

Re:Lest we become hypocrites... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984357)

I'm more concerned about where something like this might have happened in this century.

I'm sure we can find something if we try hard enough, but let's not play the stupid slashdot game of, "see news about something awful somewhere, then try as hard as we can to draw parallels to the US."

Re:Lest we become hypocrites... (1)

poity (465672) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984531)

There can't be hypocrisy unless those commenting or criticizing the Chinese government were directly involved in the US government's cover-up back in the 50s and 60s. Unless we go down the path where we regard every Briton who comments on African genocide as hypocrites, every Ghanan who comments on slavery as hypocrites, every Ukrainian who comments on Fukushima as hypocrites.

Re:Lest we become hypocrites... (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984753)

Where's the hypocrisy? I'm not seeing it. Can you explain it, other than posting Wikipedia? How does a single place correlate to 400 villages? Please explain it like I'm a 5 year old.

Re:Lest we become hypocrites... (1)

sdguero (1112795) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984957)

I grew up a few miles from there in the 80s. It was awesome hearing/feeling the rocket engine tests. I don't think there has been any correlation between higher cancer rates and the communities around that facility, so I'm not sure what that has to do with the story. Progress requires some sacrifice. If we aren't wiling to sacrifice anything we will never progress. The trick is finding the right balance and personally I feel we have swayed too far into the unwilling to sacrifice territory of the last few decades.

Re:Lest we become hypocrites... (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985673)

I don't think there has been any correlation between higher cancer rates and the communities around that facility

#ScienceFail

Just one of many (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42985123)

Silicon Valley [epa.gov] . Not sure if this is the same as the Mountain View site, where problems with the soil and groundwater are ongoing.

See also, Willits, in Mendocino County where toxins were dumped in a stream that flows to the watershed to the north. There's a cancer cluster there too; with the company trying to blame it on residents tendency to smoke, drink, do drugs, etc.

California in general has a lots of sites due to mining activities extending from gold rush times well into the late 20th century.

Yeah, you'd think the Chinese would have learned from looking at what happened to us. So much for the idea that only Americans are short-sighted and/or ignorant.

Don't Worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984211)

Don't worry once China has to enact those bothersome environmental and safety laws that cut into profits the corporations will move on to the next 3rd world country.

Re:Don't Worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984431)

Don't worry once China has to enact those bothersome environmental and safety laws that cut into profits the corporations will move on to the next 3rd world country to stock our shelves with the low prices we enjoy so much.

FTFY.

Re:Don't Worry (2)

lgw (121541) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985633)

Don't worry once China has to enact those bothersome environmental and safety laws that cut into profits the corporations will move on to the next 3rd world country.

Yes they will - and that's how progress happens! There are a finite number of places that haven't finished their industrial revolution yet, and this just speeds the process along. Eventually, the whole world will have made it to the good side of the industrial revolution, and that's not at all a bad thing.

China will soon have a plan for clean-up... (5, Funny)

swschrad (312009) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984233)

as soon as they hack the EPA.

Re:China will soon have a plan for clean-up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984545)

I hope they do!

And if their effort to use EPA's knowledge base is successful, perhaps they'll be able to share whatever it was that enabled their effort to overcome the politics of wealth vs. health that U.S. 'conservative' right-wingers trot out when they're supporting their donors, like the Koch bro.s, at the probable expense of the rest of us.

Re:China will soon have a plan for clean-up... (2)

letherial (1302031) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984831)

Koch bro has only our interest at heart, they really care....they really do!

really!

Seen from space = BS (1, Insightful)

diodeus (96408) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984263)

You can see any surface feature "from space" including the licence plate on my car with the right equipment. I'm so sick of people throwing around this meaningless term.

Re:Seen from space = BS (4, Insightful)

WilliamGeorge (816305) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984397)

You can't see clean air from space - it is clear. You can see heavily polluted air, though. The idea is that there are so many pollutants that the effect is visible on a large scale - you can see where it is heavier and where it is lighter (or completely not present, though I suspect little of China's populated area has truly clean air).

Re:Seen from space = BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984875)

oh, you don't think we could colorize a properly captured image of the atmosphere to display "clean air?"

On second thought, since we're polluting the entire atmospher, I guess you're probably correct.

Re:Seen from space = BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42985371)

You can't see clean air from space

Yes you can, regardless of whether you're looking through the atmosphere from Earth's surface or orbit, the water vapor in the air makes it blue/green tinted. Pollutants just add colors. There's also atmospheric refraction, which makes air visible by distorting light (think desert mirages).

Re:Seen from space = BS (1)

lgw (121541) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985691)

You can't see clean air from space - it is clear.

"Why is the sky blue?"

Re:Seen from space = BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984437)

You can see any surface feature

Pollution is not a surface feature. These were atmospheric.

Re:Seen from space = BS (1)

Gabrill (556503) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984445)

True, but I usually take the "from space" figure of speech to be visible from low earth orbit with 20/20 unassisted human vision. Yes I am aware that low earth orbit is a grey area, and not 100% entirely "outer space".

Re:Seen from space = BS (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984935)

You can see any surface feature "from space" including the licence plate on my car with the right equipment.

Everyone but you knows that "from space" means that the equipment involved is the naked eye. (Presumably, through glass and inside a comfortable bubble of atmosphere.)

Low low Walmart prices (4, Insightful)

Tailhook (98486) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984285)

We are feathering [cnn.com] our environmental nest at home and stocking our shelves from unregulated hell holes.

At some point this evacuation of our industrial base to China will emerge as a moral issue. It's already an employment issue for the working class and a fiscal issue for the nation, but neither of those seem to comfortable office people and the ruling class.

Maybe the shame of all this will.

Importing from regimes that do not have equivalent regulatory rigor is exploitation.

Re:Low low Walmart prices (1)

Gabrill (556503) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984543)

Sure it's exploitation. Given that there is no way to practice inter-nation commerce with a nation that does NOT have identical environmental, wage, and human rights policies, the only alternative is to seal our borders and live without the benefits of global economies. You know, things like foreign oil, electronics, rare minerals, and imported EVERYTHING.

Re:Low low Walmart prices (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984823)

There are many nations that are close enough. There's no need to seal our borders, just avoid the worst offenders, in particular the ones that have at some point introduced poison into the food supply.

Re:Low low Walmart prices (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985717)

Given the natural resources of the United States, what makes you think we couldn't do it?

It Also Does Directly Affect the US (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984673)

We are feathering our environmental nest at home and stocking our shelves from unregulated hell holes.

Submitter here, this link [slashdot.org] was removed from my submission. To be fair it was a link heavy submission so it was probably smart. Obviously we're on the same planet as China and when this negatively affects the planet it also affects us.

So you already have an interest in not purchasing materials from heavily polluting companies. The problem is that the "free market" as it exists (yeah, I know it's not truly a free market) does not give a single fuck about the environment. We don't even have a way of rating products by their pollution and even if we did, China would just bribe that all away locally. Really all you can do is observe and report so more people become informed.

Re:It Also Does Directly Affect the US (2)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985845)

...which also doesn't work. I think people just aren't designed to grasp a community as big as the one we have. When you live in a village, you see the consequences of your actions, so you avoid shitting in the pond. Today, we have no idea where our shit comes from and who's dying in the manufacturing process. It's not just that there's no available time in our lives to inspect what we buy (both because we buy too much crap and because our time is limited and information simply isn't readily available). We don't even follow politics anymore, because everything is too big and bureaucratic. We can dismiss everything because we live very abstracted lives, so lots of people do it.

12 year plan leaked! (4, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984463)

It says "In twelve years there will be no environment left to protect. So carry on"

World War Z (1)

root_brewski (2839457) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984483)

IIRC, in the novel, the zombie outbreak began in a village in China. Looks like it may be time to head for the hills!

Still waiting.. (5, Insightful)

Daetrin (576516) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984581)

Where's the explanation on how the free market is going to fix this problem without the need for burdensome regulation? Anyone? Anyone?

Re:Still waiting.. (4, Informative)

chrylis (262281) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984849)

Because I just can't resist feeding trolls, a free market is dependent on property rights. In a free market, those whose air, water, or land was polluted could take the polluters to court [probeinternational.org] , and in fact government protection of polluters [ssrn.com] has been a consistent feature in wide-scale environmental problems.

Re:Still waiting.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984947)

and in fact government protection of polluters [ssrn.com] has been a consistent feature in wide-scale environmental problems.

So what you're saying is that if there wasn't any government, the small guys would be able to stop the big guys from shitting all over their air, water or land? Because without something like the already pathetic EPA, I just don't see that happening and think you're full of shit. Also, it's one of those things that just can't magically be undone after your little free market experiment falls flat on its face.

Re:Still waiting.. (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985243)

No, government needs to do its job -- stopping people from wrecking what they don't own. The confusion is with you, not the libertarian concept.

Ironically, a fine use for democracy is determining how much pollution is fine. Too much, degrades life. Too much regulation, also degrades life by lagging development. During the industrial revolution, lifespans skyrocketted even as London choked with smoke.

Someone demanding a slowdown would have killed more than they would have saved.

Re:Still waiting.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42985465)

I could wreck land that I own with no readily provable immediate harm to others, but with nicely noticeable long-term effects.

Who's gonna stop me from cutting down the forest I own? Whose responsibility is it to prove long-term effects on my neighbor's fields, which will be open to winds now that forest wall's gone, and whose responsibility is it to maintain that forest?

Re:Still waiting.. (1)

Applekid (993327) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985265)

and in fact government protection of polluters [ssrn.com] has been a consistent feature in wide-scale environmental problems.

So what you're saying is that if there wasn't any government, the small guys would be able to stop the big guys from shitting all over their air, water or land? Because without something like the already pathetic EPA, I just don't see that happening and think you're full of shit. Also, it's one of those things that just can't magically be undone after your little free market experiment falls flat on its face.

Can you not tell the difference between criticism of government protection of polluters and criticism of the existence of government?

Re:Still waiting.. (1)

chrylis (262281) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985479)

The citation you quoted described how, contrary to the usual narrative, the Cuyahoga had been improving for several years before the passage of the Clean Water Act and how efforts by individuals to stop pollution had been preempted by state and federal permitting agencies. The one you didn't quote gave a number of examples of what you "just don't see [...] happening", including the very successful Angler's Co-operative Association, a fishing club in England that had a highly successful record of stopping pollution through fishing-rights lawsuits.

Re:Still waiting.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42985047)

So, just buy big enough swath of land not to pollute your neighbour's property?.. Who will take me to court if I reduce a county worth of land I own to Mordor-like state?

Re:Still waiting.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42985683)

So, just buy big enough swath of land not to pollute your neighbour's property and [reduce it] to Mordor-like state?

Yup, then cover it with dirt and sod. Optionally build homes, schools or a playground on top. If there's a barrier to prevent ground water contamination and controlled outgassing, then it really isn't immediately bad. It would only be bad when those measures eventually fail somehow - aside from not helping property value.

There's a big open quarry near where I live, which is being filled in with garbage. Another county nearby is a sod covered landfill mound, circled by houses.

P.S. If you've heard the horror movie cliche about haunted houses built on ancient indian burial grounds, then you might appreciate a high school built on an insane asylum, complete with the old graveyard in the front. I'm not making this up, it's where I went to high school: Anoka - Halloween capital of the world, coincidentally. There were freakin' ghosts everywhere! (some of them were probably goths)

Re:Still waiting.. (1)

Daetrin (576516) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985087)

I'm curious, what makes you qualify me as a troll? Is it because i indicated i hold an opinion that disagrees with yours? Or is it because i stated my opinion in the form of a joke, rather than using highfalutin phraseology like "I believe situations like this support my hypothesis that a central government body with regulatory power over corporations is necessary for the continued well-being of the general populace, and furthermore... [etc, etc]"?

Re:Still waiting.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42985179)

Probably because your phrasing assumed that nobody disagreeing with you on this issue has a legitimate viewpoint. That tends to sound trollish.

Re:Still waiting.. (1)

Daetrin (576516) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985395)

Actually, what my phrasing assumed was that supporters of free market systems are quick to jump in with comments on stories showing the fallacies of governments and/or regulations, but tend to remain quiet until prompted on stories showing fallacies of corporations harming the average person, so i figured i'd get the ball rolling. Perhaps your interpretation of the phrasing was different, but that's another matter.

Re:Still waiting.. (1)

chrylis (262281) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985527)

I interpreted your phrasing as snide rather than joking. As a reply to this comment itself, an honest supporter of free markets will note that the very existence of corporations is a government intervention in the market.

The case of pollution is an excellent example of the utilitarian rationale behind a market economy, which mostly boils down to the agency problem: The EPA (meaning, of course, the individuals employed there) doesn't have much direct incentive to prevent pollution, and people are always more vigilant about their own interests than about the interests of those whom they're supposedly working for. By preventing individuals from immediately seeking court orders stopping pollution, the government-will-handle-it system tends to let known pollution drag on for months or years, and finally to leave the directly harmed with little or no compensation.

Re:Still waiting.. (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985233)

What happens when the offender is a homeless bum? And the plaintiff is a not-for-profit daycare for crack mothers who are trying to get on their feet, which now has to close down? Then the crack mothers go prostituting, leaving their kids in another junkies hands to pass on all wisdom... then what? Is that the free market? One big cascade of failure you spend your life hoping it doesn't affect you? I don't want it then.

Re:Still waiting.. (1)

istartedi (132515) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985247)

Ahhhh... so what you're saying is that fences have holes. It's even possible for a thief to steal a fence post, approach the house, smash the windows, knock me on the head and steal all my stuff.

Therefore, fences are evil and we should not build them. The logic is impeccable, and I don't know why I didn't see it before

(yes, that was sarcasm)

Aside from that, court means lawyers. Lawyers mean money, which poor people don't have. The poor can organize--if they aren't too tired from slaving in the rich man's fields just to survive. Their pool of money is no match for the rich man's pool which comes from their labor!

In other words, any appeal to civil court as the remedy is objectively pro oligarch. Aside from that, how do you put a price on the extinction of salmon that once sustained a town? There would have been, say, 1000 people sustained by the fishery indefinitely. Justice implies finding some other way to sustain the population indefinitely. Lots of luck getting such a ruling from any court, or with the shell corporation that did the polluting actually having any money on the balance sheet or even existing.

Re:Still waiting.. (1)

chrylis (262281) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985587)

This reply is so full of evidence-free Marxist cant that I'm not going to fisk it, but (a) I already provided a number of examples where "the poor" prevailed over "the rich" in such cases, and (b) the discussion isn't between private legal action and perfection, it's between private legal action and action taken at the discretion of a government agency who has no skin in the game and who is predictably coopted by your oligarchs [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Still waiting.. (1)

istartedi (132515) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985981)

How about comparing the 19th century US vs. the modern era? In the 19th century there was virtually no regulation; but anybody could sue. It was about as close to your Libertarian utopia as we are going to get. Kids worked in factories and got their arms hacked off, never mind what got dumped in streams.

Such a comparison is anything but "evidence-free Marxist cant" and I resent being classed with Marxists. A moderate Progressive stance with the framework of the Constitution is what made this country great. I consider the operation of checks against FDR (while Eurasia raged with Fascism and Communism) to be one of our greatest achievements. This is also why I'm equally upset by the notion that one cannot be both moderate and passionate; but that's another battle for another thread...

Re:Still waiting.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42985277)

In a free market, those whose air, water, or land was polluted could take the polluters to court [probeinternational.org]

HAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAHA.

You mean to tell me you believe that the little guy, in any country, can actually go against the big corporation (and their swags of money) and actually win something in court?

isn't the courts a form of regulation anyway? i.e. they are upholding an existing law (property rights) or regulation (accepted/allowed levels of pollution)

The free market, my friend, would consider this an 'external cost' and not factor it into their pricing. In other words, they would not price themselves out of the picture (market) by selling their product at the correct price had they factor in the cost of a) cleaning up after themselves b) using more sustainable (less polluting) practices.

No, they will continue to pollute until told otherwise (regulation) and only then adjust their product / practices to the bear minimum standard.

Re:Still waiting.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42985705)

That's not how you feed a troll....

Free market works, cause I bought a Samsung, not a Chinese-polluting iPhone.

That's how you feed a troll.

Re:Still waiting.. (1)

Daetrin (576516) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985809)

So who do the people in the big cities in China sue over the air pollution? All of the hundreds or thousands of companies and all of the millions of people who are collectively responsible for the problem? Do you really think that's a viable solution?

Re:Still waiting.. (2)

vux984 (928602) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985857)

In a free market, those whose air, water, or land was polluted could take the polluters to court

The victims would have to establish that they have been harmed. And we all know how easy it is to prove that the cancer you got was because of the pollution from a particular factory, and not the other factory down the road owned by someone else, or perhaps something else entirely.

Good luck individually suing a city full of factories because collectively you think they caused your cancer.

And that's assuming a remotely fair fight. It won't be. Because collectively they have more money to hire more and better lawyers then you do.

And that's not even considering that you are out of work, sick, and have expensive health bills to cover... what with the cancer and all.

Re:Still waiting.. (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985999)

So where do the people who suffer from the pollution go to get the necessary expertise to determine who did the polluting and how harmful it is? What function acts as the equalizer between the deep pockets and the turned out pockets?

Re:Still waiting.. (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about a year and a half ago | (#42984921)

Probably China couldn't be called a free market. However, the traditional free market response to this issue has been upholding the property rights of those who are being polluted via courts or voluntary agreement, making air pollution too expensive compared to the alternatives. No free market advocate believes polluters should not be held accountable for their actions, that's what lawsuits are for.

Re:Still waiting.. (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#42986027)

What of people who own no property yet still breath the polluted air? Does libertarianism accept the existence of the commons?

Translated: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984615)

Expect your next iPhone/Nexus/Lumia to be more expensive (and probably without visible effect on Chinese worker's quality of life).

Or may be corps will start looking for next 3rd world hole where fat cats will be glad to welcome new products into not-really-regulated factory lines.

Bejing, Moscow and Mexico City (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42984701)

Put out more pollution in a day than the entire U.S. does in 6 months.

But go ahead and pay extra for that Prius and plaster your house with solar panels.

Its a drop in the bucket compared to what the 2nd world is cranking out.

Re:Bejing, Moscow and Mexico City (1)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985005)

Reminder, energy independence and renewables are different than anti-pollution.

I'll go out and drive my electric car charged from solar panels because it gives me more (energy) freedom. Furthermore, while some forms of pollution are global, others are not. Even with all the green tech available, factories still produce byproducts. NIMBY and EPA requirements mean some goods will always* be manufactured in 3rd world** countries.

The EPA, as worthless as they are/seem to be, is responsible for New York no looking like Mexico City or Beijing. Do you really think most people drive cars with ridiculously expensive emissions control technology because they want to?

* The bulk of them will, for the foreseeable future.
** any country where there is little to no industry regulation.

Re:Bejing, Moscow and Mexico City (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42985145)

But every time we have a Super Storm Sandy followed by record low snowfall people scream climate change.

So you can crow all you want about energy freedom but that energy will need to be put into massive dykes, breakwaters and causways.

Meanwhile you need to spend the money you save on repairing and weather proofing your community all the while shipping the toxic waste from your Prius batteries and dead solar panels back to China for disposal.

Lost all my hair after living in China (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42985079)

I spent a year living in China. At 30 years old, the month after I left all the hair on the top of my head turned grey and fell out. It eventuelly grew back. Most likly explanation was heavy metal poisoning. It happened in one of the largest cities in China, Nanjing.

Re:Lost all my hair after living in China (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985335)

I notice you said the *month* after you left. Are you by chance a werewolf?

Look here first. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42985539)

Before worrying about China, Google "Cancer Cluster [google.com] " and check out this country.
From Clyde, OH [toledoblade.com] to St.Louis, MO [ksdk.com] , we have plenty!!

This only proves... (1)

Sentrion (964745) | about a year and a half ago | (#42985771)

...that Chinese are just as delicate as Californians. Here in Texas we have oil running through our veins, we breathe ozone recreationally, and we consider lead and mercury "performance enhancing substances". It's just one reason why we can still buy all sorts of products known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, brain injury, and all sorts of ailments that we aren't concerned about much here.

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