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Rob White

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Environmental Harm and the Political Economy of Consumption

White addresses the conceptual foundations for a political economy of environmental harm. He reviews the criminological study of environmental harm and examines how production and consumption are organized within capitalist society. This has implications for the social regulation of environmental harm. The author argues that there is a need to move from concern about the state of (environmental) crime, to concern about crimes of the state, which whether by omission or facilitation, is allowing the harms to occur. This task must include consideration of neoliberalism as an ideology and practice. Recent years have seen a massive shakeup in the role of state apparatus and in the penetration of capitalist modes of operation across all aspects of social life. This has involved substantial shifts in ownership (from public to private), in institutional orientation (from social objectives to economic efficiencies), and in patterns of social control (from rights-based to market-based forms of regulation).

environment, environmental harm, political economy, capitalism, civilization [modern] — commodification, criminology, economics — consumption, environmental protection — Australia, state [the] — regulation

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 29, Nos. 1-2 (2002): 82-102