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Beyond Individual Responsibility: Environmental Governance and the Affluenzic Society

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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

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5848/CSP.1786.00022

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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  • Democracy, Ecological Integrity and International Law
    Democracy, Ecological Integrity and International Law is the latest product of research by the Global Ecological Integrity Group (www.globalecointegrity.net), an organisation that has been meeting annually since 1992 to discuss scientific, philosophical, political and legal aspects of ecological integrity. This collection examines various aspects of governance from the standpoint of integrity: from democracy, to forms of Native governance, from globalization and neocolonialism to specific human rights to food, water and climate.
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