chapter  10
22 Pages

Political Economy: Making Markets Fair and Sustainable

ByMichael Carolan

Narrow understandings of market economies are gravely short-sighted as they neglect a group of important variables: the laws of physics. Any business seeking to maintain rather than grow will be hastily eliminated from the market by its competitors. The treadmill of capital-intensive aquaculture is now running so fast that only a privileged few can compete in the market. As the market becomes dominated by economically efficient (and ecologically inefficient) models of aquaculture, the small-scale fisher will find it increasingly difficult to remain economically viable. As one of the center's analysts writes, "Market forces also cause economic growth, which in turn leads to environmental improvements. The Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) simply states that growth is (eventually) good for the environment. As good consumer-citizens, we are therefore taught to shop our way to safety, happiness, and sustainability by buying, in the case of environmental problems, ecofriendly products, high-efficiency gadgets, and carbon offsets.