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The Wrath of Capital: Neoliberalism and Climate Change Politics

Adrian Parr

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Paper, 232 pages,
ISBN: 978-0-231-15829-9
$23.00 / £16.00

December, 2012
Cloth, 232 pages,
ISBN: 978-0-231-15828-2
$29.50 / £20.50

Although climate change has become the dominant concern of the twenty-first century, global powers refuse to implement the changes necessary to reverse these trends. Instead, they have neoliberalized nature and climate change politics and discourse, and there are indications of a more virulent strain of capital accumulation on the horizon. Adrian Parr calls attention to the problematic socioeconomic conditions of neoliberal capitalism underpinning the world’s environmental challenges, and she argues that, until we grasp the implications of neoliberalism’s interference in climate change talks and policy, humanity is on track to an irreversible crisis.

Parr not only exposes the global failure to produce equitable political options for environmental regulation, but she also breaks down the dominant political paradigms hindering the discovery of viable alternatives. She highlights the neoliberalization of nature in the development of green technologies, land use, dietary habits, reproductive practices, consumption patterns, design strategies, and media. She dismisses the notion that the free market can solve debilitating environmental degradation and climate change as nothing more than a political ghost emptied of its collective aspirations.

Decrying what she perceives as a failure of the human imagination and an impoverishment of political institutions, Parr ruminates on the nature of change and existence in the absence of a future. The sustainability movement, she contends, must engage more aggressively with the logic and cultural manifestations of consumer economics to take hold of a more transformative politics. If the economically powerful continue to monopolize the meaning of environmental change, she warns, new and more promising collective solutions will fail to take root.

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About the Author

Adrian Parr is the chair and director of the Charles Phelps Taft Research Center at the University of Cincinnati and UNESCO cochair of water and sustainability. She is the author of Hijacking Sustainability; Deleuze and Memorial Culture: Desire, Singular Memory, and the Politics of Trauma; and New Directions in Sustainable Design (coedited with Michael Zaretsky).

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