The EHCA 1985 (NSW): A Historical Perspective on Issues Arising in the Control of Toxic Chemicals
The paper applies the social systems theory of Claus Offe to a case study of the Environmentally Hazardous Chemicals Act (EHCA) 1985 (NSW). The events of the case study lead to the conclusion that the EHCA represents a failed attempt at democratic rationalisation and reform of toxic chemicals legislation in NSW. Moreover, the values embedded in the legislation reflect the interests of international corporate goals and domestic political expediency. Offe's exposition of the contradictory role of the advanced capitalist state illuminates both critiques. Not only must the state actively foster the process of capitalist accumulation but it must prevent this drive from suffering its own consequences through the violation of 'natural limits' as well as instigate policies to maintain and further its own legitimacy. Hence the paper acts as a study of the structural impediments to environmental policy reform.
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