Tag Archives: market

David Bollier, Think Like a Commoner: A Short Introduction to the Life of the Commons – Book Review (A. Grear)

Author

Anna Grear

Keywords

business as usual, collective commons, commoners, digital commons, dispossession, market, neoliberal ideology, norms, property rights, urban food production, values

Abstract

At a time when there is widespread disillusionment with ‘business as usual’, attention is turning, thanks in part to the high-profile publication of books such as Jeremy Rifkin’s, The Zero Marginal Cost Society, towards the notion of ‘collective commons’ as an
alternative paradigm to neoliberal free-market economics.

David Bollier’s book broadens the focus to identify the centrality of commons (and ‘commoning’) to an epochal shift in consciousness now emergent across the world. Such scholarship suggests that a fundamentally different mode of being appears to be surfacing from beneath neoliberal market hegemony and the assumptions of ‘business as usual’ – presenting a renaissance of something much more ancient in the light of which the free market economy and the rise of homo economicus stand revealed as a historical anomaly.

This book provides a short, engaging and important introduction to the commons and to the dynamics of commoning, while unsettling important mainstream assumptions underlying life in the ‘real world’ of neoliberal globalization and the duopoly of the state-market complex.

Citation

(2014) 5/2 Journal of Human Rights and the Environment 213-9

Paper

David Bollier, Think Like a Commoner – Book Review

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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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Green Cities Urban Growth and the Environment (M.E. Kahn)

Author

Matthew E. Kahn

Keywords

Urban Environmental Quality, Kuznets Curve, Income Growth, Urban Environment, Market, Income Growth, Greener Governance, Population Growth, Spatial Growth, Cost, United States, Urban and Global Sustainability

Abstract

Rapid urban growth and suburban sprawl have heightened concern in many quarters about sustainable development. Are economic growth and environmental health always mutually exclusive goals? Nearly everyone would choose to pursue both given the chance, but many believe that it would be overly optimistic—perhaps naïve—to expect both. “Green city” proponents, however, do hope to realize both ambitions.

What exactly is a green city? What does it mean to say that San Francisco is greener than Houston, or that Vancouver is a green city while Beijing is not? When does urban growth lower environmental quality, and when does it produce environmental gains? These are the questions that drive this smart and engaging book.

In Green Cities, Matthew Kahn surveys the burgeoning economic literature on the environmental consequences of urban growth. He discusses the environmental Kuznets curve, which theorizes that the relationship between environmental quality and per capita income follows a bell-shaped curve. The heart of the book unpacks and expands this notion by tracing the environmental effects of economic growth, population growth, and suburban sprawl. Kahn considers how cities can deal with the environmental challenges produced by growth. His concluding chapter addresses the role of cities in promoting climate change and asks how cities in turn are likely to be affected by this trend.

Kahn considers the evidence for and against rival perspectives throughout the book. Despite being labeled as purveyors of a “dismal science,” economists are often quite optimistic about the relationship between urban development and the environment. In contrast, many ecologists remain wary of the environmental consequences of free-market growth. Green Cities does not try to settle this dispute. Instead, it marshals data and arguments to convey the excitement of an ongoing debate, enabling readers to formulate well-informed opinions and priorities on this critically important issue.

Citation

Matthew E. Kahn, Green Cities Urban Growth and the Environment (Brookings Institution Press, 2006)

Book

Green Cities Urban Growth and the Environment

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Environmental Governance (M.C. Lemos & A. Agrawal)

Author(s)

Maria C. Lemos and Arun Agrawal

Keywords

Climate change, cogovernance, decentralization, ecosystem degradation, globalization, market

Abstract

This chapter reviews the literature relevant to environmental governance in four domains of scholarship: globalization, decentralization, market and individual incentives-based governance, and cross-scale governance. It argues that in view of the complexity and multiscalar character of many of the most pressing environmental problems, conventional debates focused on pure modes of governance-where state or market actors play the leading role-fall short of the capacity needed to address them. The review highlights emerging hybrid modes of governance across the state-market-community divisions: comanagement, public-private partnerships and social-private partnerships. It examines the significant promise they hold for coupled social and natural systems to recover from environmental degradation and change and explores some of the critical problems to which hybrid forms of environmental governance are also subject.

Citation

(November 2006) 31 Annual Review of Environment and Resources

Paper

Environmental Governance

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