Clearly governments all stripes have done their share of environmental
damage. The air and water in such different countries as Mexico,
India, and China is dreadful despite their extremely varied political
and economic structures. The most notorious capitalist depredations
have taken place outside the borders of the capitalist countries:
Americans in Brazil, the Japanese in Maylasia. However, the Soviet
Union turned large areas of Eastern Europe and its own territory
into toxic wastelands far worse than anything in the capitalist
At least in capitalist economies, countervailing economic forces
can sometimes create anti-polluting pressures: real estate interests
oppose nuclear plants, fishing interests oppose dams. Unilateral
development projects which are not forced to take such factors into
account are far more likely to damage the environment.
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