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Failing Forward: The Logic of Green Neoliberalism

The CEU Campus
Thursday, December 8, 2016, 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

You are cordially invited to a seminar

hosted by theDepartment of Environmental Sciences and Policy

Failing Forward: The Logic of Green Neoliberalism

Dr. Robert Fletcher

Thursday, December 8, 2016. 5:30pm

Budapest, Nádor utca 13, 307/A

It is widely acknowledged that global efforts to achieve sustainable development since the 1992 Rio Summit have been woefully inadequate in either alleviating poverty or addressing the evermore daunting range of environmental problems confronting us. In response, over the past decade the global environmental movement has increasingly sought to restructure itself around pursuit of what has been called ‘green neoliberalism’. This approach claims to be able to reconcile continued economic growth with environmental sustainability by developing markets for valuation of and trade in ‘natural capital’ and ‘ecosystem services’. Mounting evidence suggests, however, that the strategy has not only been ineffective in these aims but has actually worsened many of the problems it claims to redress. Despite such failure, however, policymakers seem to largely respond to this failure by prescribing even more of the same type of policies that failed in the first place. This process of ‘failing forward’ is, I suggest, in fact the basic logic of green neoliberalism. In this presentation, I seek to explain why this occurs and what we might do to break free of this vicious cycle in pursuit of a truly equitable and sustainable future.  

Robert Fletcher is Associate Professor in the Sociology of Development and Change group at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. His research interests include conservation, development, tourism, climate change, globalization and resistance and social movements. He is the author of Romancing the Wild: Cultural Dimensions of Ecotourism (Duke University, 2014) and co-editor of Nature TM Inc.: Environmental Conservation in the Neoliberal Age (University of Arizona, 2014). ​