President Obama's chief economic heavyweight, Lawrence Summers, who, 18 years ago was vice-president of the World Bank.
In a memo to staff of the bank, Summers wrote: "'Dirty' Industries: Just between you and me, shouldn't the World Bank be encouraging MORE migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs [Less Developed Countries]? I can think of three reasons: "...the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that; ...under-populated countries in Africa are vastly UNDER-polluted, their air quality is probably vastly inefficiently low compared to Los Angeles or Mexico City; ... The demand for a clean environment for aesthetic and health reasons is likely to have very high-income elasticity. The concern over an agent that causes a one in a million change in the odds of prostrate [sic] cancer is obviously going to be much higher in a country where people survive to get prostrate cancer than in a country where under five mortality is 200 per thousand."
Some politicians in Europe are bending over backwards to put dirty industry profits before public interest.
The World Bank's Human Development Report for that year said global inequalities had increased in the 20th century to the point where they count as violations of human rights. The inequalities have increased "by orders of magnitude out of proportion to anything experienced before". The gap between the incomes of the richest and poorest countries was about three to one in 1820, 35 to one in 1950, 44 to one in 1973, and 72 to one in 1992. Today it is more like 150 to one.
Ten years ago, in 2000, Mr Bill Gates' wealth was estimated at over $100 billion, just slightly less than the wealth of 600 million people in the least developed countries.