Ecology and the World-System

By Walter L. Goldfrank; David Goodman et al. | Go to book overview

world to manage its environment and natural resources. Environmentalists from developed countries attempting to halt development of the Amazon basin are accused of imperialism by interfering in the rights of local peoples to manage their environmental heritage.

This collision between environmental and human rights does not at present have an obvious solution, although ideas of sustainable development are efforts to provide one. The reduce-consumption, lower needs/wants, less-is-more, small-scale, localism, bioregionalist philosophy seems a solution whose appeal is limited to the developed world. Having much allows one to consider downsizing. Having little makes such reductionism less tenable.


SUMMARY

The data analysis showed mixed results. The democracy indicator was positively associated with emission rates even while controlling for level of development, which does not support the idea that democratic openness allows more proenvironmental opinion to influence government and industry to lower pollution rates. The dependency effects were more clear. Direct private investment is positively associated with, and commodity concentration negatively associated with, toxic emissions. But this raises the two meanings of environmental justice once again. Less development is less emissions. Bad for humans, good for the environment. Resolving the competing interests of humans and the environment remain a major issue.


NOTES
1
Ideas of societal dependence on natural ecosystems and environmental economics are movements in a similar direction. See Daily ( 1997) and Costanza, Seguro, and Martinez ( 1996).
2
The differing N's in columns 1-5 reflect missing data on the different variables.
3
The countries used in the regression equations of columns 2-5 in Table 3.1 are marked in the appendix with an asterisk.
4
In a separate analysis we logged direct private investment. The results were not significantly different.

REFERENCES

Bergesen Albert J.. 1995a. Deep Ecology and Moral Community. In Rethinking Materialism: Perspectives on the Spiritual Dimension of Economic Behavior, ed. Robert Wuthnow, 193-213. Grand Rapids, MI: Erdmanns.

------. 1995b. Eco-Alienation. Humboldt Journal of Social Relations 21: 1-14.

Bunker Stephen G. 1984. Modes of Extraction, Unequal Exchange, and the Progressive Underdevelopment of an Extreme Periphery: The Brazilian Amazon. American Journal of Sociology 89(5): 1017-64.

------. 1985. Underdeveloping the Amazon: Extraction, Unequal Exchange, and the Failure of the Modern State. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

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