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Financialisation of the environment; A literature review

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  • Eric Clark
  • Kenneth Hermele

    (Lund University, Department of Human Geography and Human Ecology Division)

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    Abstract

    This paper provides a review of research into financialisation of the environment, focusing on the role of financialisation in the interface between social and natural dimensions of sustainability, the geographical penetration of finance into environmental sectors, and its increasing control over the production of nature and environmental governance through regulating flows of capital and consequently material flows. Financialisation is conceptualised as a profoundly spatial process, forging financial ecologies with consequences crucial to conditions for sustainability of social-ecological systems. The paper introduces the theme by framing financialisation in historical contexts. Financialisation of the environment is then related to processes of commodification, privatisation, neoliberalisation and accumulation by dispossession within the broader context of intersections between political economy and political ecology, highlighting the distinction between use-value/object-oriented investments and exchange-value/’investor’-oriented investments, the right to inhabit place, and the shift from control and command to economic incentives, drawing out implications for sustainability. Research on financialisation of agriculture and land resources, and on financialisation in relation to economic and social dimensions, is reviewed, and current moves towards re-regulation are considered from the perspective of a Polanyian countermovement. Conclusions reconsider the nature of the relationship between financialisation and sustainability and the challenges of bringing financial systems into the service of achieving social and natural sustainability.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Financialisation, Economy, Society & Sustainable Development (FESSUD) Project in its series Working papers with number wpaper32.

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    Length: 89 pages
    Date of creation: 03 Dec 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:fes:wpaper:wpaper32

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    Postal: FESSUD Co-ordinator (Malcolm Sawyer) Leeds University Business School Maurice Keyworth Buidling Leeds LS2 9JT

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    Keywords: financialisation; sustainability; commodification; political ecology; land;

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