McGee, J. (2016), Climate Change, Capitalism, and Corporations: Processes of Creative Self-Destruction, by Christopher Wright and Daniel Nyberg, published by Cambridge University Press, 2015, 243 pp., £21.99, paperback. Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law, 25: 395–397. doi:10.1111/reel.12180
Law is not an autonomous system of social ordering. In order to understand the law we have, we need to understand the wider political economy in which such law was created and operates. It is this political economy which both enables and sets limits upon what law can achieve.
The last 30 years have seen the rise of neoliberalism, a particular set of ideas that has become the background condition for much public policy discourse in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.1 Neoliberalism is a political philosophy that seeks to maximize the role of markets in society.2 According to neoliberal theory, markets are largely self-regulating and are fundamentally based upon the dispersed decisions of a multitude of individual actors, including privately owned actors such as corporations. From the neoliberal perspective, it is this dispersed decision making of individual actors, including civil society and corporations, that is best suited to creating knowledge to coordinate human interaction, maximize individual freedom and guard against the potentially tyrannical power of the State.3 Continue reading