Tag Archives: capitalism

Payment for ‘ecosystem services’ and the ‘green economy’: green-washing or something new? (K. Wilkinson)

Author

Kate Wilkinson

Keywords

ecofeminism, green economy, payment for ecosystem services, ecosystems, environment, capitalism, free market, economics, REDDES, REDD+, UNFCCC, ITTO, forests, natural resources, gender, participation

Abstract

Using an ecofeminist critical analysis, this paper examines the extent to which two forest-related ‘payments for ecosystem services’ (PES) schemes maintain a mainstream anti-nature and exploitative conceptualization of human/nature relationships. It does so by integrating various ecofeminist themes to analyse the two PES schemes and to assess the extent to which they can protect women and nature while marketizing and commodifying the environment. The author examines the justifications for integrating PES into a green economy, including the proposed benefits resulting from the implementation of PES, and safeguards ensuring the inclusion and participation of local communities. The author concludes that an ecofeminist examination highlights the inherently exploitative nature of PES and its continuation of the currently exploitative free market paradigm.

Citation

(2014) 5/2 Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 168-191

Paper

Payment for ‘ecosystem services’ and the ‘green economy’: green-washing or something new?

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The logic of ecosystems: capitalism, rights and the law of ‘ecosystem services’ (B.Pardy)

Author

Bruce Pardy

Keywords

law, ecosystem service, capitalism, environmental right, market, ecosystem, negative right, property right, natural selection, evolution

Abstract

‘Ecosystem services’ consist of natural processes on which humans depend, such as photosynthesis, waste decomposition, pollination, and water and air purification. Current proposals for the targeted protection of ecosystem services ignore the logic of ecosystems: interactions between organisms are driven by competition for resources in a contest for survival, in which successful adaptations are responses to system conditions. Preserving or protecting ecosystem services is not possible without protecting the operation of the system within which they exist. Ecosystems have no purposes, interests or objectives, but only dynamics and consequences. While changes to ecosystems can harm human interests, ecosystems themselves cannot be harmed, but only changed. Therefore, the question for environmental law is not whether ecosystem services deserve protection, but whether people have a right to ecosystem services. Contrary to prevailing academic opinion, the answer to this question lies within the principles of capitalism. In its pure form, capitalism is a system of governance based upon the logic of ecosystems, modified in only one main respect: in interactions between people, physical interference is prohibited. Competition is thus transformed from physical struggle into a contest for commercial survival. The principle of non-interference is the conceptual foundation of negative human rights, including self-ownership, property rights, and the freedom to contract in markets. The question is: does the principle of non-interference mean that people have a right to restrict other people from changing ecosystems?

Citation

(2014) 5/2 Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 136-152

Paper

The logic of ecosystems: capitalism, rights and the law of ‘ecosystem services’

 

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Ecosystem services and capitalism: a valuation or de-valuation of ‘nature’? K Morrow

Author

Karen Morrow

Keywords

Ecosystem services, payment for ecosystem services, capitalism, valuation, de-valuation

Abstract

As with many of Oscar Wilde’s amusing but apparently flippant statements, the quotation above, on closer consideration, raises something much more profound, and here seems to get to the heart of the concerns raised by the thematic topic of this edition of the Journal of Human Rights and the Environment – ecosystem services and capitalism, with a particular focus on the currently topical incarnation of this wider debate in the form of payment for ecosystem services (PES).

Citation

(2014) 5/2 Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 107-111

Paper

Ecosystem services and capitalism: a valuation or de-valuation of ‘nature’?

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Environmental Human Rights: Power, Ethics and Law (J. Hancock)

Author

Jan Hancock

Keywords

Environment, human rights, political, ethical, legal, environmental values, capitalism

Abstract

This text redefines the political, ethical and legal relationships between the environment and human rights. Through a focus on the operational dynamics of social power, it details how global capitalism subjugates concerns of human security and environmental protection to the values of allocative efficiency and economic growth. The capacity of social power to construct ethical norms and to determine the efficacy of law is examined to explain how ethical and legal concepts have been selectively applied to accommodate existing patterns of production, consumption and exchange that cause environmental degradation and human rights violations. By looking at how environmental values have been systematically excluded from the human rights discourse, the book claims that human rights politics and law has been constructed on double standards to accommodate the destructive forces of capitalism.

Citation

Jan Hancock, Environmental Human Rights: Power, Ethics and Law ( Ashgate , UK 2003)

Book

Environmental Human Rights: Power, Ethics and Law (Critical Security Series)

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Beyond the rhetoric of a right to development (L. Amede Obiora)

Author

L. Amede Obiora

Keywords

Poverty; development; human rights; sustainability

Abstract

Paul Simon’s popular lyric about these being “the days of lasers in the jungle” reflects the stark contrast, contradiction, or even exploitativeness of conventional strategies of development. Once paraded as the ultimate recipe for progress and the solution for poverty, the idea of development itself is now being criticized for its poverty of substance, as well as for its impoverishing and regressive propensities. Apparently, development as we know it has been indicted for the social production of poverty because it can only exist in symbiosis with conditions of underdevelopment. Within its capitalist framework, it is impossible for all to be “developed” and there can be no rational distribution of resources across the board; massive one-sided accumulation and the co-existence of surplus wealth with severe poverty are more consistent with the present process and reality of development. Increasingly, people are questioning the very paradigm of development and its dominant blueprint which is predicated on a presumption of the superiority of the Western system of production and signification. Some critics advocate alternative development and others reject the concept entirely, arguing instead for alternatives to development. My reading of the controversy surrounding development suggests that it is largely a critique of the discrepancy inherent in its unidimensional conceptualization and implementation.

Even as oppositions to established discourses and practices of development are gaining ground, the most (dis)affected, the so-called lesser developed countries (LDCs), are agitating for redress through the recognition of a right to development. How do we interpret, and respond to, this initiative or subversive act by those who were never given the option to elect out of (mal) development, but were forced to put up with its effect? Do we continue to disregard it or do we engage it as a forward to a tentative proposal – a point of entry for inclusion, or as an invitation to begin to explore what development should be by revisiting and revising problematic orthodox models and modes? Can we see it as a challenge to idealized conceptions of human rights and a case for harnessing the human rights regime to make it more actualizable and sustainable? At the very least, can we approach claims about the right to development as seeking to secure the dignity and well-being of the human subject? If seen in the light of conquering poverty and protecting the physical environment for the general good of humanity, would the right to development be better appreciated as a prerogative of and a mandate for both the North and South. After all, communities in these places that once “marginalized the economy” and achieved relative equilibrium are now violently compelled to contend with the colossal hunger, scarcity and social disintegration dictated by their place of insertion in the world economic structure? Could the right to development be seen as espousing the entitlement of the dislocated and disempowered to a reciprocation of the benefits of development and/or to compensation for the sins of (mal) development? What are the possibilities for the emergence of a concept, devoid of the baggage traditionally associated with development, that caters to the aspirations of the “LDCs” to equitably compete and exercise their full potentials in the context of the modern world; how do we facilitate the development of an under-developed concept?

Several reasons have been proferred to explain why the right to development has failed to attain definitive status and effectiveness as a rule of law. By and large, it appears that the right to development has not been widely embraced because of concerns which, while valid, are not beyond containment. Meaningful implementation of the right to development requires committed clarification and strengthening of its conceptual framework. Primarily, a feasible paradigm of development must go beyond simplistic dichotomizations, polarizations or prioritizations. At the same time, it must celebrate the realities and possibilities of reciprocity and dependence among processes and phenomena. In this article, the resounding argument revolves around the reciprocity of paradigms, relations, rights and responsibilities. It posits the principle of reciprocity as rudimentary for (re) interpretations and (re) appropriations of the idea of development, and as both a norm and a justification for the recognition of development as a human rights ideal. The over-arching thesis is that conceptualizing and analyzing development from the perspective of the metaphor of reciprocity attenuates many of the problems of articulating it in terms of the conventional rhetoric and politics of rights. With particular emphasis on the norm and functioning of reciprocity within the context of gift and return, the article ultimately delineates the ubiquity of varied ranges of reciprocity as an anchor for a claim to development.

Citation

(1996) 18(2) Law & Policy, 355-418.

Paper

Beyond the rhetoric of a right to development

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