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    Inequality of global goods distribution

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    You decided to post the following provocative statement on your website this week for discussion, "In a market economy, food flows in the direction on economic demand. Need is not taken into consideration. To illustrate, in the event that there are hungry cats and hungry children, the food will go to the cats if the owners of the cats have money and the children's parents don't."

    Objective: Discuss the themes of Environmental Science in Today's World.

    We are now shifting our focus on to product availability. This means we have to start thinking about economics.

    Now, think about distribution of goods. Is distribution of goods equal throughout the world?

    If not, how would unequal distribution of goods affect population numbers? How would it affect food availability? How would it affect sustainability of an ecosystem?

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    Solution Preview

    It is not difficult to prove that some pets are better off than some children. According to the 1998 UN World Development Report, the three richest people in the world own assets that exceed the combined Gross Domestic Products of the world's 48 poorest countries, and Forbes Magazine reports that 358 billionaires had a combined net worth equal to the combined income of the bottom 45 percent of the world's population. You can be sure that some of these billionaires have pets. Each day, over a billion people in the world lack basic food needs. No doubt many of these are children.

    The UNDP Human Development Report of 1999 (http://hdr.undp.org/reports/global/1999/en/default.cfm) states that the fifth of the world's people living in the highest income countries has 86% of world GDP, 82% of world export markets, 68% of foreign direct investment, and 74%of telephone lines. The bottom fifth, in the poorest countries, has about one per cent in each category. The average consumer in rich industrial countries uses approximately twice as much agricultural land residents of developing countries. One quarter of the world's population living in rich industrial ...