Privatizing Nature: Political Struggles for the Global Commons / Edition 1

Privatizing Nature: Political Struggles for the Global Commons / Edition 1

by Michael Goldman
Pub. Date:
Rutgers University Press


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Privatizing Nature: Political Struggles for the Global Commons / Edition 1

The concept of "commons" has traditionally served as a device for controlling land, forests, rivers, and natural resources. Now, as we approach the twenty-first century, new forms of enclosures and notions of private property are emerging-from water rights, biodiversity, and "gene pools" of plants and humans to the demands of multinational corporations for free access to more land for investment and exploitation. The power of the commons is still flourishing and the "global commons" now provides the central metaphor for ecological politics.

The contributors to Privatizing Nature examine the reasons behind the political resurgence of the commons, and the widespread struggle to transform existing nature-society relations into ones that are non-exploitative, socially just, and ecologically healthy. Tackling the key themes-such as the convergence of environment and social justice, global commodities, and the role of social movements-the authors draw on examples form the Amazon, Mexico, Cameroon, India, and the industrialized North. They argue that, although environmental problems like the Chernobyl disaster suggest that the world is indeed shrinking, the fate of the global commons should not be left to a new powerful class of global problem-solvers at the World Bank, IMF, NAFTA, and WTO. By contrast, the authors highlight the political expertise of social movements fighting dominant strategies to "privatize nature."

The contributors are Giovanna DiChiro (USA), Antonio Diegues (Brazil), Michael Flitner (Germany), Michael Goldman (USA), Samuel-Alain Nguiffo (Cameroon), Sanjeev Prakash (India), Lynn Stephen (USA), and Michael Thompson (United Kingdom).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813525549
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication date: 05/28/1998
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Sheila Newman is an environmental sociologist and editor of articles on energy, population, land-use planning and resources. She co-edited the first edition of The Final Energy Crisis (Pluto Press, 2005). Her blog is at She is also an environmental film-maker._x000B_

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