Chapter 7 - The Sociology of Sustainable Development

46 em believes a green capitalism is possible mol and

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Unformatted text preview: roduction that is cleaner, more efficient, and more profitable.44 The academic proponents of ecological modernization speak of it in much the same way that the corporate proponents speak of sustainable development. For example, Arthur Mol and Gert Spaargaren state, “More production and consumption in economic terms (GNP, purchase power, employment) does not have to imply more environmental devastation (pollution, energy use, loss of biodiversity).”45 David Sonnenfeld states, “In simple form, it [ecological modernization] might be thought of as industrial restructuring with a green twist.”46 EM believes a green capitalism is possible. Mol and Spaargaren explain: It is not that Capitalism is considered to be essential for environmentally sound production and consumption (as neo-liberal scholars want us to believe), nor that Capitalism is believed to play no role in environmental deterioration. But rather that (i) Capitalism is changing constantly and one of the main triggers is related to environmental concerns, (ii) environmentally sound production and consumption is possible under different “relations of production” and each mode of production requires its own environmental reform program, and (iii) all major, fundamental alternatives for the present economic order have proved unfeasible according to various (economic, environmental and social) criteria.47 Theorists writing in the radical tradition, such as Schnaiberg and Gould on the “treadmill of production”48 and O’Connor on the “second contradiction of capitalism”49 would disagree with such arguments by arguing that it is within the capitalist logic to maximize profit. Thus, any action, voluntary or not, that would limit profit making, would not appeal to capitalists. However, Buttel argues (and 3M’s example supports this) that the corporate capitalist logic can work in favor of efficiency and conservation.50 The “win-win” notion that sustainable development and industrial ecology/ecological modernization theory touts, in oth...
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