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Capitalism and the Environment

Paige West and Dan Brockington

Capitalism is the dominant global form of political economy. From business-as-usual resource extraction in the Global South to the full-scale takeover of the United Nations 2012 conference on Sustainable Development in Rio, Brazil by corporations advocating the so-called green economy, capitalism is also one of the two dominant modes of thinking about, experiencing, and apprehending the natural world. The other dominant mode is environmentalism. There are many varieties of environmentalism, but the dominant mode we refer to is “mainstream environmentalism.” It is represented by powerful nongovernmental organizations and is characterized by its closeness to power, and its comfort with that position. Th is form of environmentalism is a well-meaning, bolstered by science, view of the world that sees the past as a glorious unbroken landscape of biological diversity. It continuously works to separate people and nature, at the same time as its rhetoric and intent is to unite them. It achieves that separation physically, through protected areas; conceptually, by seeking to value nature and by converting it to decidedly concepts such as money; and ideologically, through massive media campaigns that focus on blaming individuals for global environmental destruction.

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Nature and Knowledge

Contemporary Ecologies of Value

Patrick Gallagher and Danielle DiNovelli-Lang

Current efforts to locate value in material nature arise from the contrary notion that there is no value in nature. The roots of this paradox are entangled with the birth of classical economics, which distinguished itself from what it deemed the superstitions of both its European past and the exotic elsewhere by claiming to have discovered that the wealth of nations lay not in land (as the physiocrats believed), nor in money (as the mercantilists thought), but in the productivity of human labor, which alone could make more of the “necessaries and conveniences of life” from a finite and basically inert natural substrate (Locke [1690] 1960). Once the productive capacity of the land was formally separated, or “disembedded,” from its particular natural qualities (Polanyi 1944), it became a puzzle to retroactively determine the value of the latter’s contribution to the overall means of production. The articles collected in the present volume each operate squarely in the context set by this classical riddle, which situates value, on the one hand, and nature, on the other, as the two absolutely necessary yet diametrically opposed elements of the modern political economy of “sustainability”.

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Evert Van de Vliert

beyond climatic determinism, the climato-economic theory of culture ( Van de Vliert 2009 , 2013a , 2013b ) successfully proposes that available money should be taken into account as it can make life bearable even in places with freezing winters or

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Eleanor Sterling, Tamara Ticktin, Tē Kipa Kepa Morgan, Georgina Cullman, Diana Alvira, Pelika Andrade, Nadia Bergamini, Erin Betley, Kate Burrows, Sophie Caillon, Joachim Claudet, Rachel Dacks, Pablo Eyzaguirre, Chris Filardi, Nadav Gazit, Christian Giardina, Stacy Jupiter, Kealohanuiopuna Kinney, Joe McCarter, Manuel Mejia, Kanoe Morishige, Jennifer Newell, Lihla Noori, John Parks, Pua’ala Pascua, Ashwin Ravikumar, Jamie Tanguay, Amanda Sigouin, Tina Stege, Mark Stege, and Alaka Wali

their customary land from providing for the collective unit to providing the individual with money. Melanesian societies treat land not as a personal commodity but as a public good. No one “owns” land in Melanesia; rather, families and individuals within

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A Crystal Ball for Forests?

Analyzing the Social-Ecological Impacts of Forest Conservation and Management over the Long Term

Daniel C. Miller, Pushpendra Rana, and Catherine Benson Wahlén

Ferraro , Paul J. , and Subhrendu K. Pattanayak . 2006 . “ Money for Nothing? A Call for Empirical Evaluation of Biodiversity Conservation Investments .” PLoS Biology 4 ( 4 ): e105 . doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0040105 . 10.1371/journal

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Joshua Mullenite

but by money, media, and manipulation. They boast that they represent the citizenry, but many citizens regard them as bogus” (10). In this case, it doesn't necessarily matter that the United States has withdrawn from the Paris Agreement against the

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Zenyram Koff Maganda

( Europarliament, 2020 ). This money came from the so-called EU Solidarity Fund. In 2020, political divisions have prevented the EU from agreeing on COVID-19 disaster relief, thereby pitting the EU's four largest economies—Germany, France, Italy, and Spain

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Néstor L. Silva

commodification relies on common metonyms: “Oil is money or modernity or violence or social imaginary, but rarely appears as itself, or in its conditions of technosocial possibility” (2015: 17–18). Petrotoxicity refers to such conditions of possibility, to the

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Eugene N. Anderson, Jodie Asselin, Jessica diCarlo, Ritwick Ghosh, Michelle Hak Hepburn, Allison Koch, and Lindsay Vogt

Itaipú hydroelectricity takes on qualities of money—it easily converts between currencies, it is imbued with moral valences, and its circulation protocol depends on the relations of those exchanging—Folch proposes a new construct, hydrodollars, and

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Latin America

A challenging prospect for regionalism

Ernesto Vivares

, facilitating the power of capital over labor ( Weeks, 2018 ). Neoliberal deregulation is re-regulation. It is not denying regulation on money, but the implementation of policies “that limit the scope of governments to act and intervene in the economy, social