FOCUS ON TRADE: Number 160, June 2012


Twenty years after the 1992 Earth Summit, the Earth is in a sorry state.

Twenty years of accelerated growth based on extractivism, productivism and consumption in the framework of highly unequal trade rules, all-powerful corporations and speculative finance capital has created unprecedented political, economic, social and ecological fragility, and even outright collapse. In a desperate effort to re-ignite the engines of economic growth, the G20, UN agencies and some sectors of capital are pinning their hopes on the new “green economy”. Although the precise definition of the “green economy” is not clear (the hefty UN Environment Programme report on the green economy slips all over the place) what IS clear is that there is nothing very green about it. Behind the rhetoric of “sustainable development” and “poverty alleviation” the “green economy” is a capitalist project that aims to open all spheres and dimensions of life to finance, claiming that by putting a “price” on nature, environmental policy can be delivered through market signals. Many fear that this will not only be a total failure in terms of achieving the kinds of policies needed to shift the balance of forces in favour of life and the planet and away from profit (see the current state of carbon markets for just one example of a failed market-based environmental policy) but that it could very easily lead to (yet another) speculative bubble which will eventually have to be paid (yet again) by us, the 99 percent. 

In this issue of Focus on Trade, our team looks at various dimensions of what the proposed (and in some cases existing) “green economy” looks like, and it’s not a pretty sight.

Throughout this week, the Focus team in Rio, lead by our new Executive Director Pablo Solon, will be reporting daily from the Peoples Summit and the Official Summit. Check our web page each day for updates or follow us on twitter @focuswebdotorg



New permits to pollute: REDD and the “green economy”Shalmali Guttal

Greening free trade means protecting the status quoJoseph Purugganan

Can the green economy solve China’s development and environment challenges?Dorothy Guerrero

Commodifying water through the “green economy”Mary Ann Manahan

Disempowering women through the “green economy”Clarissa Militante

Alternative models for water governance and management: the people’s challenge to “green economy”Mary Ann Manahan

Asian Movements’ Statement on the Green Economy: Fight for Our Future! No Price on Nature! 



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