Review: The Wrath of Capital: Neoliberalism and Climate Change Politics

By Miller, Ryder W. | Electronic Green Journal, January 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Review: The Wrath of Capital: Neoliberalism and Climate Change Politics


Miller, Ryder W., Electronic Green Journal


Review: The Wrath of Capital: Neoliberalism and Climate Change Politics By Adrian Parr Parr, Adrian. The Wrath of Capital: Neoliberalism and Climate Change Politics. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. 2012. 216pp. ISBN: 9780231158282. US$ 29.95 cloth, durable acid free paper.

With its tangents and multiple subjects, a close reading is required to understand and follow The Wrath of Capital: Neoliberalism and Climate Change Politics by Adrian Parr, but it is worthwhile anyway. The author is an Associate Professor in the School of Architecture and Interior Design, The College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Cincinnati. She explores the impact of neoliberalism on the environment and defining it vaguely because it has different meanings to different people. It is also coopted from the leftist term "liberal," but recast in an economic framework to support such things as libertarianism and free market forces.

Neoliberalism is defined by Parr as "an exclusive system premised upon the logic of property rights and the expansion of these rights, all the while maintaining that the free market is self-regulating, sufficiently and efficiently working to establish individual and collective well-being" (p. 5). Others have a more critical definition, like Wikipedia which posts that it "refers to economic liberalization, free trade and open markets, privatization, deregulation, and enhancing the role of the private sector in modern society.... The term neoliberal is now normally associated with laissez-faire economic policies, and is used mainly by those who are critical of legislative market reform."

Parr explores neoliberal forces on a variety of environmental issues (e.g. green house gas regulation, population control, hunger, water, farming and others) but her message is sometimes one of futility. She is saddened that all our stop measures and corrections have not succeeded in practical approaches to warn offthe doom of global warming. The book is moving and powerful, but it does not acknowledge all of our achievements. The world is now taking arms against global warming!

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