The semantics of capitalism in context of natural resource management

Topics include major events, persons, and issues spanning the period from the African heritage to contemporary times. Students survey the evolution of African American expressive culture in music, literature, film, art, and dance.

The semantics of capitalism in context of natural resource management

Oliver Schultz 13 January Most discussions of power in natural resource management tend to omit the primary issue of capitalism. The following is a polemic, intended to generate open debate about the critical issue of capitalism and natural resource management.

There is growing recognition that the management of natural resources is fundamentally determined by relations of power.

Although grassroots researchers, activists, and NGO workers have been confronting this reality for decades, it is only recently that policymakers and funding institutions such as the World Bank have begun to formally recognize the degree to which relations of power determine the use and management of natural resources.

While this development should be welcomed, it is noteworthy that most discussions of power in natural resource management tend to omit the primary issue of capitalism. Yet capitalism is the dominant social force which organizes our relation to nature, both materially and symbolically — it is the defining structural context in which it is embedded.

At a symbolic level, capitalism is a cultural system which shapes how we think and speak about the natural world. At a material level, capitalism is a form of global economic organization that shapes our actions in relation to nature, structuring how we utilize and manage natural resources.

A strong argument can be made that capitalism does not facilitate ecological sustainability or social justice. Few would argue that the pursuit of infinite economic growth on a finite planet is rational, or that economic growth has benefited the majority of the global population.

It is worth revisiting some basic realities of contemporary capitalism. For example, corporations are the primary vehicles of capital accumulation, yet they are legally constituted in fundamental opposition to nature and society.

As legal professor, Joel Bakan, has pointed out, corporations are mandated by law to maximize shareholder value before all else. This has a perverse effect on the way that corporations relate to nature and society. Every decision is reduced to a consideration of economic costs and benefits: The destructive logic of corporations is nurtured by the multilateral trade agreements of the World Trade Organization.

According to this discourse, the interconnected and complex nature of socioecological crises requires the application of knowledge and resources by actors in the private sector, civil society, and government agencies.

In the discourse of governance, capital is part of the solution, not the problem. In this context, mechanisms like carbon trading and ethical consumerism such as ecolabelling can be proposed as rational solutions to address environmental problems, because they ostensibly balance the interests of capital, society and the environment.

However, the basis for these mechanisms is profit making within the existing system of capitalism, which is directly implicated in the crises these mechanisms were meant to address in the first place.

It is increasingly difficult to avoid the conclusion that more radical measures are required if we are to continue to live sustainably on this planet. That these measures should include fundamental changes to the structures of global capitalism seems self-evident.

These structural changes would therefore entail a redistribution of political and economic power.

The semantics of capitalism in context of natural resource management

Equitable and sustainable use and management of natural resources is thus a matter of politics, rather than a strictly technical matter.

As researchers, we have a duty to engage in a rigorous analysis of all the relevant factors that shape natural resource management, including the structures and processes associated with global capitalism.

The semantics of capitalism in context of natural resource management

Although there are considerable political and economic pressures against speaking openly about radical structural change, the unprecedented scale and pace of global socioecological crises compels us to take this difficult step. Photo credit main picture: · context, several approaches conducted under the recruitment (e-recruitment), take into account the semantics of used documents (e.g.

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Semesters Taught: Spring School: Law The aim of this course is to understand the evolution of American law in intellectual, political, social, and economic context.

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