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Ecological Distribution Conflicts in India. Some Insights on the Role of Violence

By Joan Martinez-Alier and Brototi Roy.

The term Ecological Distribution Conflicts(EDCs) was coined about 20 years ago by ecological economists (Martinez-Alier and O‟Connor 1996) to describe social conflicts born from the unfair access to natural resources and the unjust burdens of pollution. The ultimate cause of such conflicts is thegrowth and changes in the social metabolism (the flows of energy and materials) concomitant with economic growth. In political ecology, the terms socio-environmental conflict, environmental conflict or EDC are interchangeable. Despite the processes of technological change and „ecological modernization‟, unfair ecological distribution appears to be inherent at different scales to world capitalism, defined by K. W. Kapp (1950) as a system of cost-shifting. In environmental neoclassical economics, the preferred terms are „market failure‟ and „externalities‟, a terminology that implies that such externalities could be valued in monetary terms and internalized into the price system. If we accept commensurability of values, then „equivalent‟ eco-compensation mechanisms could be introduced. Instead, the environmental social sciences such as ecological economics and political ecology advocate the acceptance of different valuation languages to understand such conflicts and the need to take them into account.

The full editorial is here and is part of the SPECIAL SECTION: Ecological Distribution Conflicts in India in Ecology, Economy and Society–the INSEE Journal2(1): 77–92, January 2019


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