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Eco-nomics: Are the Planet-Unfriendly Features of Capitalism Barriers to Sustainability?

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  • Merrill Singer

    () (Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention (CHIP), University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA
    Department of Anthropology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA)

Abstract

This paper argues that there are essential features of capitalist modes of production, consumption, and waste dispersal in interaction with the environment and its built-in systemic features that contradict long-term sustainable development. These features include: (a) contradictions in the origin and meaning of sustainability; (b) the central role of the productivity ethic in capitalism and its reproduction in emergent green capitalism; (c) the commodification of nature and the continued promotion of expanding consumption; (d) globalism and the contradictions of continued Western-style development; and (e) the emergence of anthropogenic ecocrises and crises interaction. In light of these barriers to capitalist sustainability, an alternative social narrative is needed, one that embraces values, understandings, and relationships that promote ecological stability and justice.

Suggested Citation

  • Merrill Singer, 2010. "Eco-nomics: Are the Planet-Unfriendly Features of Capitalism Barriers to Sustainability?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(1), pages 1-18, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:2:y:2010:i:1:p:127-144:d:6723
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    sustainability; development; capitalist modes of production; environmental degradation; barriers to sustainable development; pluralea;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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