IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Globalisation, Development and the Metabolic Rift


  • Barbara Harriss-White



The metabolic rift describes the relation between the relatively short extractive cycles of the economy and the very long cycles involved in the creation and restitution of natural resources. This rift is now globalised and so acute that nature is failing in both its long-cycle roles. Responses that focus on politically chosen goals for limiting climate change (‘2 degrees’) reduce to one dimension a set of processes that has many dimensions and calls for a far wider set of changes. The main political response – international ‘deals’ for collective action by countries to limit the output of greenhouse gases - is shown to be not only reductionist but also a discursive tower of babel involving more procrastination than serious will to act. The lecture will outline the (sometimes surprising) responses not so much of countries as of the most powerful economic actors on the planet in terms of the way they see the crisis, how urgent they are, and what they are doing or proposing to do. [ The 2015 Globalisation Lecture as delivered at SOAS on March 2nd 2015]

Suggested Citation

  • Barbara Harriss-White, 2015. "Globalisation, Development and the Metabolic Rift," Working Papers id:7912, eSocialSciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:ess:wpaper:id:7912
    Note: Institutional Papers

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ess:wpaper:id:7912. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Padma Prakash). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.