Innovation Is Often Driven By The Pursuit Of Profit And Economic Growth

Sample essay

Every technological breakthrough or invention that we have access today is a result of innovation. Without innovation we would not have achieved what we call progress today. Businesses, especially those in the field of science and technology, are constantly innovating. It is true that they are driven by their hunger for higher revenues. Some people, however, argue that addressing social and environmental concerns should be the primary objective of innovation. Both views will be discussed in this essay.

When private companies do research, they have only one goal – increase their profit. In order to achieve this, they often flout the norms. Sometimes they exploit natural resources to achieve their goals. Take, for instance, the case of lithium ion batteries. They power nearly all devices we use today. Electric vehicles are also powered by these batteries. Governments all over the world are encouraging people to switch to electric vehicles because they are thought to be eco-friendly. However, the extraction of lithium for making these batteries is a hazardous process. It has serious repercussions for the environment. Hence, many countries that lead in the electric vehicles market do not extract lithium from their soil. Instead, they are buying it from other countries where people care more about the short term economic gains than about the long term environmental problems. This is clearly an example of how profit driven innovation can be harmful for the environment and poor communities.

Hence, some people argue that innovation should not be at the expense of the poor or the environment. I support this view. We are living in a world of grave inequalities. Innovation mainly benefits rich people living in the first world. Many of the high end technological products that they use today have rare earth metals and minerals extracted from mines in poor countries such as those in Africa, Asia or Latin America. Many of these mines employ young children. Poverty drives parents to send their children to work in these hazardous industries. Some of them are unaware of the health consequences of mining jobs. Others have no option other than forcing their children to work. This situation has to change. Innovation should benefit everyone. It must not be reserved for the rich. Nations must come forward to share the burden of such commercial and mining activities. There should be international protocols controlling the operation of mines. More importantly, labour laws should be the same for all countries.

In short, innovation is driven by profits and its beneficiaries are not necessarily the ones paying its price. This situation has to change. Governments all over the world have the responsibility to come together to minimize the social and environmental impacts of innovation and to ensure that its benefits are evenly distributed to all sections of humanity.   

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Useful vocabulary for the Writing Module

Breakthrough (noun)

A breakthrough is a sudden advance in knowledge or technique.

Innovation (noun)

Innovation is the implementation of ideas that results in the production of newer and better goods and services.

Flout (verb)

To flout is to show contempt for something or to treat something with disdain

  • She flouted convention by wearing black at her wedding.

Synonyms – defy, mock, insult, spurn

Antonyms – respect, esteem, revere, regard

Hazardous (adjective)

Synonyms – dangerous, unsafe, perilous, risky

Antonyms – safe, secure

  • Working in mines is a hazardous way to earn a living.
  • These steep stairs are hazardous.

Grave (adjective)

  • The international situation is becoming a matter of grave concern.

Synonyms – critical, crucial, urgent, significant, serious etc.

Antonyms – unimportant, uncritical, petty, mild, inconsequential

Repercussions (noun)

Synonyms – result, effect, aftereffect, side effect, reaction, reverberation

  • Are you aware of the repercussions that could occur if we carry out this plan?
  • The repercussion of the blast could be heard for miles.


A beneficiary is a person who benefits from something.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I'm Manjusha. This is my blog where I give IELTS preparation tips.