Conflicting National Economic Goals

Many situations occur both across the United States and across the world in which the goals of a country conflict with the goals of nearby countries or in some cases, even with other goals within the same country. Governments quite often find themselves asking what their priorities are. Many politicians, of whom the government is comprised, will usually determine what these priorities are at least in part based on which decisions will increase their popularity among electors and thereby increase their time in office.

A prominent and relevant example of two conflicting goals within the same country would be the goal of increasing jobs and the goal of preserving the environment, specifically in the United States. Ever since the colonization of America in the sixteenth century, people have long debated what land to develop and put to use as farmland, for manufacturing, etc, and what land to preserve in its original state. There are many reasons for preserving the original state of the environment, including for historical and sentimental reasons, however one of the most practical arguments given for preserving the environment, and more specifically forest environments, is the notion that the trees are needed for the preservation of a healthy balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the atmosphere. These combined arguments constitute many’s desire and rationale for protecting environmental resources like trees and land from excessive harvesting and consumption.

On the other hand, there remains the view that developing the land by deforestation is necessary to support an ever-increasing population in the United States and around the world, as well as to maintain a steady supply of jobs, which is crucial to a healthy economy. The goal of creating jobs can often conflict with the goal of preserving the environment since deforestation, construction, architecture, engineering, and many other fields are available to be filled through the development of land; workers who may have been unemployed and looking for work, or contractors who were searching for projects to take on in order to stay in business, would now be able to but their skills and labor to good use through these projects, thus increasing their pay and possibly circulating more money back into the economy. Development of land not only affects jobs directly through the contractors and laborers working to develop that land but also indirectly down the line through those who start stores and businesses on that land that was previously inhabitable. This opens more employee positions like sales managers, real estate agents, and lawyers.

Despite there being a positive aspect to each extreme, most people will agree that no large country should resort to either one or the other in its entirety. Many national parks in the United States for example, as well as state parks, private parks, and many other monumental locations, are landmarks for many important historical events that took place in our country’s history, while others such as the Everglades. The Smoky Mountains, and Yosemite, serve as a beautiful landmark in and of itself. There is still much land in the United States that is not serving a specific purpose, specifically in the Western states that do not even have trees. In preparation for a growing population and in favor of creating jobs, lands like this could probably be a more agreeable location for development. At some point, however, likely hundreds of years down the road when most land has already been developed, there may come a time where the county has to make the decision to completely halt the spatial development of land, in favor of preserving any remnant of natural environment that remains.

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