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date: 21 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Neo-liberal principles of individualism, privatization, consumption, and unconstrained choice underpinning advanced capitalism are rapidly becoming the predominant strategy used in response to widespread environmental degradation and climate change. This essay describes and analyzes capital’s production of negative environmental externalities. Despite a slew of environmental legislation passed by governments the world over—a response to the demands of the environmental movements of the 1960s and 1970s, environmental degradation persists. Indeed, as the continual rise in greenhouse gas emissions exemplifies, environmental degradation has worsened. How has this happened? On the one hand, the rise of neo-liberal governance and the forces of patrimonial capitalism have compromised the action of the state; on the other, capital has corrupted the autonomy, discourse, and activist charge of the mainstream of the environmental movement, turning it into an ally of private wealth.

Keywords: neo-liberalism, environmental externalities, environmental movements, neo-liberal governance, privatization

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