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about the book

Economic activities that degrade the environment do not simply pit humans against nature. They also pit some humans against others. Some benefit from these activities, others bear net costs from pollution and resource depletion.

In a provocative and original analysis, James K. Boyce examines the dynamics of environmental degradation in terms of the balances of power between the winners and the losers. He provides evidence that inequalities of power and wealth affect not only the distribution of environmental costs, but also their overall magnitude: greater inequalities result in more environmental degradation. Democratization - movement toward a more equitable distribution of power - therefore is not only a worthwhile objective in its own right, but also an important means toward the social goals of environmental protection and sustainable development.

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Praise for the political economy of the environment

“The theme of the book is that excessive equity disparity is bad for the environment. The message is delivered powerfully and compellingly. Every student of environmental policy should understand how hidden assumptions can drive policy conclusions, and how different assumptions could lead to better policies and a better world.”

— Global Environmental Politics