Capitalism, Globalization, and the Environment

Capitalism, globalization, and the environment

Effluents and Affluence

In Chapter 2 we examined contrasting, and often conflicting, ontological and philosophical perspectives on global environmental problems and politics. In this chapter we will focus on capitalism and its role in environmental degradation. Free market capitalism is really a mixture of several ontological and philosophical perspectives, combining competitive, cooperative, and developmental elements in a social institution of increasingly global scope. Although capitalism has long been internationalized—perhaps as long ago as the 1500s—it is only over the past couple of decades that it has become manifest in what is often called globalization. As we shall see, the links between globalization and global environmental degradation are sufficiently compelling to suggest that the two are causally related.*

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