Beyond Individual Responsibility: Environmental Governance and the Affluenzic Society
Abstract:Contemporary industrial society is characterized by a condition of affluenza, in which the continuous consumption of material goods sits at the centre of human life and aspirations. Through a set of positive feedbacks, affluenza contributes to and is reinforced by a dysfunctional and self-destructive economic and ecological system. One of the key drivers in this system is the transnational corporation, an entity that wields disproportionate economic and political power in relation to its accountability. While much of the emphasis in policy discussions is on how individuals can respond to the challenges posed by environmental catastrophe and climate change, we argue that a new form of constitutional corporatism is required – one that limits the freedoms of large corporations to exercise political, social, economic and environmental influence, and which will make them accountable again to people and governments. In the absence of limits to the influence and actions of the major corporations, the political and ecological future of the planet is bleak.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2010