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The Political Economy Of The Environment

James K. Boyce, Professor of Economics and Program Director for Development, Peacebuilding, and the Environment, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, US
In a provocative and original analysis, James K. Boyce examines the dynamics of environmental degradation in terms of the balances of power between the winners and the losers. He provides evidence that inequalities of power and wealth affect not only the distribution of environmental costs, but also their overall magnitude: greater inequalities result in more environmental degradation. Democratization – movement toward a more equitable distribution of power – therefore is not only a worthwhile objective in its own right, but also an important means toward the social goals of environmental protection and sustainable development.
Extent: 160 pp
Hardback Price: £77.00 Online: £69.30
Publication Date: 2002
ISBN: 978 1 84064 366 4
Availability: In Stock
Paperback Price: £27.00 Online: £21.60
Publication Date: 2002
ISBN: 978 1 84376 108 2
Availability: In Stock
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Environmental Economics
  • Environment
  • Environmental Economics
  • Environmental Politics and Policy
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Environmental Politics and Policy
  • European Politics and Policy
Economic activities that degrade the environment do not simply pit humans against nature. They also pit some humans against others. Some benefit from these activities; others bear net costs from pollution and resource depletion.

In a provocative and original analysis, James K. Boyce examines the dynamics of environmental degradation in terms of the balances of power between the winners and the losers. He provides evidence that inequalities of power and wealth affect not only the distribution of environmental costs, but also their overall magnitude: greater inequalities result in more environmental degradation. Democratization – movement toward a more equitable distribution of power – therefore is not only a worthwhile objective in its own right, but also an important means toward the social goals of environmental protection and sustainable development.

Combining theoretical analysis with empirical evidence from around the world, James K. Boyce demonstrates that changes in our relationship with nature ultimately require changes in our relationships with each other. He maintains that a more democratic and environmentally sustainable future is possible, but warns that it is not inevitable.

This book will appeal to students, scholars, policymakers and other readers interested in the environment, economics and public policy.
‘Professor Boyce’s work is an excellent example of how ecological economics can be done in an objective, evidence-based approach that can put issues on the agenda in a manner where they will be taken seriously by other scholars. . . This is a well-written and provocative book that should encourage further research on all these important issues.’
– David I. Stern, International Journal of Social Economics

‘This succinct and sometimes provocative book sets out to document, quantify and explain the ways in which inequalities of wealth and power create an uneven apportionment of environmental costs across the world. It offers a combination of theoretical analysis and empirical evidence to support the author’s central contention that greater democratisation and changes in society’s relationship with nature are paramount for achieving the dual goals of environmental protection and sustainable development. . . This book is immensely well written. . . makes for a fascinating read.’
– Ian Bailey, European Spatial Research and Policy
Contents: 1. Stealing the Commons 2. Let Them Eat Risk? 3. Investing in Natural and Human Capital 4. Inequality as a Cause of Environmental Degradation 5. Rethinking the Environmental Kuznets Curve 6. Power Distribution, the Environment, and Public Health 7. The Globalization of Market Failure? 8. A Squandered Inheritance 9. Democratizing Environmental Ownership Index