The Political Economy of the Environment
Economic activities that degrade the environment do not simply pit humans against nature. They also pit some humans against others. Some benefit from these activities; others bear net costs from pollution and resource depletion. In this analysis, James K. Boyce examines the dynamics of environmental degradation in terms of the balances of power between the winners and the losers. He provides evidence that inequalities of power and wealth affect not only the distribution of environmental costs, but also their overall magnitude: greater inequalities result in more environmental degradation. Democratization - movement toward a more equitable distribution of power - therefore is not only a worthwhile objective in its own right, but also an important means toward the social goals of environmental protection and sustainable development.
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