Moving beyond the corporate vision of sustainability

Published on Intrepid Report, by Rajesh Makwana, February 12, 2014.

… The green economy vs. the greed economy:

Invariably, the big business lobby advocates for market-based solutions to environmental problems and the ‘greening’ of economic growth, and essentially works to safeguard opportunities for private sector investment and shareholder profit. But environmentalists and civil society organisations have long argued that there is something deeply misguided about putting corporate profits and market-based solutions at the forefront of our response to climate change and the wider environmental crisis. Indeed, it is widely accepted that the endless pursuit of profit and consumer-driven growth, the deregulation of corporate activity, and the privatisation of natural resources are some of the key drivers of ecological degradation.

Most market-based solutions necessitate putting a monetary value on nature, which plays into the paradigm of commercialisation: the value of the natural world is reduced to its potential for generating financial returns. Such solutions adhere to the logic of a neoliberal economic model that continues to dominate mainstream policy discourse even despite its role in precipitating the global financial crisis in 2008. But endless growth is a primary driver of resource consumption and environmental degradation, and GDP is now widely regarded as an inappropriate measure for human progress. On the question of whether economic growth can ever be sufficiently green, the evidence suggests that we cannot decarbonise economic activity fast enough to meet pressing climate targets.

In her latest book ‘Making Peace with the Earth,’ Dr Vandana Shiva reflects on the environmental impacts of a world order built on limitless growth, corporate greed and the commodification of nature. She concludes that “Green economics needs to be an authentic green, it cannot be the brown of desertification and deforestation. It cannot be the red of violence against nature and people, or the unnecessary conflicts over natural resources.”

There is clearly a huge gulf between corporate proposals for a green economy and the ‘deep green’ alternatives of environmentalists who call for extensive reforms at the national and global level. At the heart of the more progressive proposals is a vision of a new economic paradigm that is not dependent on producing and consuming ever-greater quantities of material goods for its continued success. Instead, it recognises that if we want to safeguard planet earth and survive as a species, governments need to find new ways of cooperating internationally and sharing the world’s resources sustainably. Economic sharing on a global scale means respecting planetary limits and ensuring equitable access to natural resources for present and future generations, wherever they might live.

Reclaiming a democratic future: … //

… (full text, inclusive many hyper-links).

(Rajesh Makwana is STWR‘s director and he can be contacted at rajesh [at]
See also on Megaslumming:
- book: a journey through sub-Saharan Africa’s largest shantytown, 2010;
- The seven Myths of Slums, challenging popular prejudices about the world’s urban poor


Find on Russia Today RT/news 13 Feb 2014:

  • Oklahoma pharmacy blocked from selling drug to Missouri for execution,
  • Employee who allowed Snowden to use his NSA log-in resigns,
  • 65 accused Afghan militants freed from former US prison – official,
  • …;

Criminal Bankers, Guns, and Silver, on Outsider Club, by Nick Hodge, Feb 12, 2014;

Divergence at the top – the 0.01%, on Real-World Economics Review Blog, by David Ruccio, Feb 12, 2014;

Macroeconomics is not about investigating ideas but about investigating the macro economy, on Real-World Economics Review Blog, by merijnknibbe, Feb 12, 2014.

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