Resources: Economics and finance, Article

43 results
Larry Lohmann

5 July 2017

Effective research and other action in the field of environment and law requires an understanding of how profoundly both have changed under neoliberalism. The growth of the neoliberal state amid productivity crisis and the move to a more financialized, rent-based global economy has been accompanied by sweeping legal innovations relating to property, trade, investment, rent and criminality as well as an expansion in the mass of written law and in the gaming of legislation.

Institutionalised Corruption and Development Finance
Nicholas Hildyard

13 December 2016

Many lawful, routine, accepted practices in today's economic system are regarded by the general public as corrupt. They have created a distorted, privatised vision of the “public interest” and represent a new trend of state capture by for-profit interests.

Nicholas Hildyard

13 December 2016

This presentation challenges the current rush towards mega infrastructure projects that are being planned the world over as a means of boosting economic recovery.

Nicholas Hildyard

1 October 2016

This article is drawn from the book Licensed Larceny.

Undemocratic, elitist and unstable
Nicholas Hildyard

27 August 2016

This short blog highlights the financial guarantees underpinning today's boom in infrastructure spending.

Larry Lohmann

20 April 2016

"Green Growth" is not about solving ecological crises but rather creating new opportunities that business can take advantage of while diffusing responsibility for the crises. It is full of contradictions and resistances to it are inevitable.

Some Questions from the Netherworld
Nicholas Hildyard

18 April 2016

This public lecture raises questions about the direction of mainstream discussions on energy, technology, finance, accumulation, and organising.

Nicholas Hildyard

18 April 2016

It is critical to recognise that energy is a labour issue if the shift away from fossil fuels is to do more than just help elites find new tools for exploiting the majority world.

Nicholas Hildyard

16 November 2015

This paper details the stark divide between rich and poor nationally, regionally and internationally, as value has been progressively extracted over the past few decades from ordinary people.

Shadow Bankers in London
Nicholas Hildyard

1 October 2012

In June 2010, the London Mining Network and The Corner House organized a "Hedge Fund Tour" through London's tony Mayfair district, home of many of the private financial institutions at the heart of the wave of dispossessions that followed in the wake of the 2008 crisis. 

The Case of Climate
Larry Lohmann

15 September 2012

All processes of commodification are different, depending on what is being commodified, how it is commodified, the degree to which it is commodified, the resistances of the material and of the people affected and so on. For this reason, attempts to commodify some things may make headway, while attempts to commodify others fall down immediately. This draft chapter for the forthcoming book Nature™ Inc: The New Frontiers of Environmental Conservation (edited by Robert Fletcher, Wolfram Dressler and Bram Büscher) proposes an analytical tool that can help explain why neoliberal efforts to commodify climate benefit are failing so disastrously. A drastically abridged version has been published by the online magazine Mute at http://www.metamute.org/editorial/articles/performative-equations-and-ne....

Larry Lohmann

28 October 2011

This article explains how today's carbon markets construct a tradable product by postulating a series of false equations – between reducing carbon dioxide and tackling fossil fuel dependence, between different greenhouse gases, between different places and times, between hypothetical and real emissions reductions, between biotic carbon and fossil carbon, and so forth. Competition to exploit cascades of ever more fanciful equations to increase profits ensures that the carbon markets become ever more damaging to the cause of combating global warming.


Un álgebra interminable: las contradicciones de los mercados climáticos

Los mercados de carbono, que constituyen el enfoque principal de los gobiernos del mundo frente a la crisis climática, construyen un producto comercializable postulando una serie de ecuaciones falsas. Estos mercados equiparan la reducción de dióxido de carbono con la lucha contra la dependencia de combustibles fósiles; equiparan los distintos gases de efecto invernadero, así como lugares y tiempos diferentes. Estos mercados dicen que las emisiones hipotéticas y reales son las mismas y que el carbono biótico y el carbono fósil también son los mismos. Estas ecuaciones tienen la función de proteger o incrementar los beneficios empresariales, y los intereses capitalistas están siempre dispuestos a inventar más ecuaciones. El resultado es que los mercados de carbono son cada vez más perjudiciales para la lucha contra el calentamiento global.

Genetic Promises and Speculative Finance
Sarah Sexton

19 October 2011

This book chapter explores some of the parallels, connections and disjunctures between the promised genetic revolution in medicine and health, and the crash of financial capital in 2008, aiming to illuminate several known insights for pursuing public health futures and finances that are often kept in the dark or conveniently forgotten.

The Contradictions of Neoliberal Climate Policy
Larry Lohmann

1 October 2011

The carbon markets that constitute the default international approach to the climate crisis, argues this article in the latest Socialist Register, aim both at opening up new frontiers for profit-making and at securing the background conditions for accumulation that are currently threatened by calls for greenhouse gas emission cuts. But they are afflicted by valuation paradoxes that are far more intractable than those affecting markets in other commodities such as food, energy, consumer durables, or even complex financial derivatives. The article is supplemented with a short interview with New Left Project's Ed Lewis.

Larry Lohmann

6 June 2011

The growing trend toward constructing environmental service markets is a response not just to ecological crisis but also to business crisis – in particular the prolonged profitability crisis that set in during the 1970s.

Larry Lohmann

25 September 2010

This book chapter explores the interacting origins, development and politics of the “strange markets” in finance and climate developed in recent years and exposes the similar dangers they pose.


Los “mercados extraños” y la crisis climática

Este capítulo del libro explora los orígenes, el desarrollo y la política de los “mercados extraños” que han aparecido en las décadas recientes en el sector financiero y en la política climática internacional, y expone los peligros que presentan.

Responses to Food Speculation
Nicholas Hildyard

20 September 2010

 Some 154 million people were reportedly driven further into poverty in Southern countries as a result of speculation-induced food price hikes in 2007-08. What are the best strategies for bringing about the structural change needed that progressive activists can lend their support to?

This workshop presentation, while endorsing regulatory measures including banning certain investment vehicles such as exchange-traded funds and vetting of derivative-based financial instruments, cautions against becoming focussed on regulation alone as an answer. Also crucial is the promotion of non-derivative, socially-based mechanisms to protect farmers and consumers from volatile food prices, as well as price interventions that do not pit Northern farmers against their Southern counterparts.

Variations on Polanyian Themes
Larry Lohmann

16 July 2010

One lesson the financial crisis teaches us is: beware of the new carbon markets that constitute today's main official response to climate change. These markets are startlingly similar to the financial derivatives markets that have thrown banking systems into a tailspin. (German version also available.)


Mercados de incertidumbres y mercados de carbono: variaciones en temas de Polanyi

Una de las lecciones que la crisis financiera nos enseña es a tener cuidado con los nuevos mercados de carbono que constituyen hoy la principal respuesta oficial al cambio climático. Este artículo de la revista New Political Economy argumenta que estos mercados son sorprendentemente similares a los mercados de derivados financieros que arrojaron a los sistemas bancarios al caos en 2008.

The Rise of Carbon Trading
Larry Lohmann

22 July 2009

Carbon permit prices flashing on electronic screens in Wall Street trading rooms reflect a complex political movement to reorganize and redistribute power and knowledge. The carbon markets associated with the Kyoto Protocol, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and the US's Waxman-Markey Act constitute perhaps the last great class project of a waning neoliberal regime – the ill-fated attempt to privatize the climate itself.


El neoliberalismo y el mundo calculable: El ascenso del comercio de carbono

Los precios de los derechos de emisión de dióxido de carbono que aparecen en las pantallas de las computadoras de Wall Street reflejan un movimiento político complejo para reorganizar y redistribuir el poder y el conocimiento. Los mercados de carbono del Protocolo de Kioto y el Esquema del Comercio de Emisiones de la Unión Europea son uno de los últimos grandes proyectos del neoliberalismo – un intento malhadado de privatizar el clima. Este capítulo del libro, "El neoliberalismo y el mundo calculable: El ascenso del comercio de carbono", describe las contradicciones del intento de formar una mercancía con el clima.

Larry Lohmann

22 July 2009

Proposals for Green New Deals aimed at tackling both global warming and global recession are streaming forth worldwide. Unfortunately, many give short shrift to the need to phase out both fossil fuels and fossil fuel substitutes. Many also rely on obsolete conceptions of technology transfer. Future climate movements will have to focus increasingly on the democratization of research, planning and finance.

Larry Lohmann

21 July 2009

Can the financial derivatives markets be regulated? Can the carbon markets be regulated? The questions are parallel. Both markets try to commodify new things: in the case of the financial markets an unprecedented range of uncertainties; in the carbon markets, the earth's carbon-cycling capacity. Regulation tends to assume that any problems with either market can be handled by "internalizing externalities"; this approach will fail. A more practical approach to these markets' problems looks to decommodification. Both approaches, however, have attracted supporters from across the political spectrum.


La imposibilidad de regular los mercados derivados financieros y de carbono

¿Es posible regular los mercados derivados financieros? ¿Es posible regular los mercados de carbono? Estas preguntas son parecidas. Ambos mercados tratan de comercializar nuevas cosas. Los nuevos mercados financieros tratan de comercializar una serie de incertidumbres sin precendentes; los mercados de carbono tratan de comercializar la capacidad del mundo natural para absorber dióxido de carbono. Muchos funcionarios gubernamentales y académicos asumen que cualquier problema de estos mercados puede ser manejado con "internalizar externalidades". Esto no es cierto. Un enfoque más práctico a los problemas de estos mercados es la desmercantilización.

Lessons for Regulation
Nicholas Hildyard

28 May 2009

A talk at a Cardiff Business School conference on the insights from political organising that can help not only understand what caused the financial crisis but also develop ways forward that could ensure it is not repeated and that finance serves a public purpose.

Why major reform is vital
The Corner House

18 March 2009

On 12-13 March 2009, development, environment and human rights groups from Belgium, France, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland and the UK, and local residents of the island of Jersey organised a seminar to discuss the necessity for tax haven reform and to exchange views on how governments and civil society can work towards achieving a "just transition" for tax havens that would not impact on poorer residents.

A training for government officials and civil servants in Iraq

16 December 2008

The Corner House and others carried out a training session to assist Iraqi government officials and civil servants in understanding the principles of human rights and Iraq's international obligations in relation to investment agreements.

Environmental, Social and Governance Issues in the Context of the Financial Crisis
Stephanie Fried

1 November 2008

Environmentally- and socially-destructive development projects are increasingly being funded by hedge funds, private equity and sovereign wealth funds (instead of by public or private banks) that are not subject to transparency, governance or reporting requirements. Public financial institutions are also investing in these alternative vehicles, which are often based in offshore tax havens. Basic information about these vehicles is not routinely made public. But in the midst of the financial crisis, the Asian Development Bank is pushing for even less transparency for such risky investments. Regulatory authorities should instead focus on much stronger transparency and accountability requirements and address the use by public financial institutions of "secrecy jurisdictions".

REDD with Carbon Trading
Larry Lohmann

30 September 2008

Many new schemes are afoot to allow the North to pay the South for conserving its forests in return for permission to continue using fossil fuels. But how would a market in pollution rights generated by Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) play out in reality?

A Decade of Resistance in Southern Thailand
Larry Lohmann

30 May 2008

Slowing and halting new fossil fuel developments has moved to the top of the global climate change agenda. But what are the obstacles to, and resources for, such a project? The 10-year struggle against a gas development project in one corner of Southeast Asia, described in this forthcoming article for the journal Race & Class, offers lessons in some of the complexities.

Larry Lohmann

2 November 2005

This book chapter explores the connections between the dark, often racist, scare stories of Malthusianism over the past 200 years, and the reliance of the stories on a particular economic model about how society must be analysed and organised.

Activism, Expertise, Commons
Larry Lohmann

27 September 2005

Seeing social or technical change as the application of new "theory" to "practice" is one of the hazards of 21st-century middle-class life. Middle-class activists could take a leaf from both expert elites and grassroots movements, who both tend to know better.

Commodification, Calculation and Counterfactuals in Climate Change Mitigation
Larry Lohmann

20 September 2005

The Kyoto Protocol and kindred carbon trading measures have usually been presented as a small but indispensable step forward to mitigate climate change. Are they? Or, as this article for the journal Science as Culture asks, do they amount to a stumble backwards and a block to the emergence of more constructive approaches?

A Book Review
Larry Lohmann

15 December 2000

If the choice of whether and when to translate claims to water and land into other idioms shapes and is shaped by power relations, so too is the choice of how to translate them. The charges of “misunderstanding” and “misinterpretation” that ricochet around any conflict of interpretation are negotiating moves, not claims that can be settled once and for all by fixing on a meaning that floats free of the context of discussion and struggle.

A Political Economy of Ethics in the Export Credit Debate
Nicholas Hildyard

2 June 2000

“Moral dilemmas” are not unattached to political, bureaucratic, social and economic interests. They are deeply political and are products of everyday conflicts over meaning, resources and ways of living and power. Who raises a particular moral dilemma and why is thus of critical importance.

Ethnic Discrimination and Conservation in Thailand
Larry Lohmann

9 April 2000

The intersections between international nature conservation and ethnic politics are of serious and growing concern to many social movements in Southeast Asia. This paper offers evidence that international environmentalist practices interact with local and national conditions to advance the structural work of ethnic discrimination and racism in Southeast Asia. The racist outcomes of these practices do not flow exclusively from unprofessionalism, faulty science, irrationality, immorality or incorrect beliefs -- and anti-racist strategy has to accommodate this insight.

Larry Lohmann

26 February 2000

A presentation at a seminar on "Environmental Justice in a Divided Society", Goldsmiths College, University of London, suggests that individual Western environmentalists are often pushed into supporting racist or discriminatory structures by their need to adhere to the rules of professional performance, including those of peer-reviewed science.

Larry Lohmann

1 November 1998

Overconsumption is possible only by dividing different groups of people from each other. A different, more democratic pattern of political action will be required to lower consumption.

Nicholas Hildyard

31 May 1998

A presentation looking at whose interests the free market serves and whose environment is protected by market instruments such as labelling and property rights which concludes that leaving the environment to the market is a recipe for social injustice, authoritarianism, neo-colonialism and ecological suicide.

Larry Lohmann

31 March 1998

All development projects follow a three-act dramatic plotline, as development agencies try to impose plans, meet local opposition, and improvise freely in an attempt to overcome resistance.

Whose Interest, Whose Rationality?
Larry Lohmann

31 May 1997

Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is often regarded as a pure form of practical reasoning that can shift accountability onto supposedly impersonal mechanisms, summarize complex choices in a formulaic way, and transmute popular pressure, political debate and political conflict into quiet, office-bound operations performed on fixed and agreed-upon preferences. Yet CBA’s commensuration of things that no one has any experience in commensurating leads to odd new ways of treating reason, democracy, public opinion, space, time and personhood. And the more practical steps are taken toward its algorithmic ideal of decision-making, the more unforeseen political and social difficulties crop up, including popular resistance.

Nicholas Hildyard

1 June 1996

The rich have never been shy about praising the qualities that created their wealth. Nor are they short of convenient explanations for the poverty of others -- from “the breeding habits of the poor” to “economic mismanagement” and “protectionism”. But they have always found it difficult to explain poverty in ways that do not implicate themselves, contends this contribution to an Oxford Union debate, held at Oxford University, UK.

Contention and Resistance in Intercultural Space
Larry Lohmann

1 September 1995

Different actors -- transnational corporations, political and technocratic elites, their opponents and others -- contend with and influence what is loosely called “globalization” in different ways. Constructive and engaged understanding of the power struggles between them all and their resources, motivations, dynamics, strategies, effectiveness, and capacities for alliances requires coming to grips with the ways in which they interpret and present their own struggles.

Approaching Thailand’s “Environmental” Struggles from a Western Starting Point
Larry Lohmann

1 April 1994

Westerners wanting to engage in effective international campaigning often will need to question their very conceptions of what social movements are.

Larry Lohmann

1 November 1993

This opinion piece shows how environmental activists, ecological economists, development experts and deep green theorists tell self-serving and one-sided stories about Noble Savages, Eastern religions, “traditional communities” and ordinary householders. This "Green Orientalism" both arises from and perpetuates power imbalances. It must be constantly challenged by stories told from other points of view.

Nicholas Hildyard

2 February 1993

In 1986, the 12 member states of the European Economic Community (EEC) signed the Single European Act, which committed them to dismantling all legislative barriers to the free movement of goods, services, capital and people between them by 31 December 1992. The resulting Single Market is designed to protect the multinational interests that have long lobbied for its creation and that are now the dominant economic and political force within Europe. The Treaty on European Union -- commonly known as the Maastricht Treaty -- gives those multinational interests the legal powers and administrative apparatus of a full-blown state.