Edited by Professor Maria Madi (Brazil) and Miriam Kennet (UK)
- Paperback: 270 pages
- Publisher: The Green Economics Institute (1 Jun. 2017)
- ISBN-10: 1907543643
- ISBN-13: 978-1907543647
The ascendancy of financial capital has reinforced trends of poverty, illiteracy, concentration of income, wealth and land. In other words, social dynamics has been subordinated to the transnational and financial concentrated corporate power (ITUC, 2007). Indeed, the apprehension of the dynamics and outcomes of the current financial-led growth regime is decisive to the understanding of the economic, social and environmental challenges of the current accumulation regime driven by short-term profits and global competition. As corporations and institutional investors search for liquidity and short-term profits, managers’ decisions have turned out to challenge social, economic and environmental sustainability. Globally, income inequality has increased both between countries and within countries. Indeed, business strategies and practices have supported a business model where the concentration of private wealth configures social interactions for the continuation of surplus extraction, obtained from the working population (Foster, 2009).
In the recent decades, in truth, changing relations among nation states, corporations, investors and workers shaped new trends in macroeconomic instability and social inequality.
Under the expansion of monopoly- capital, great concerns have arisen, since policies and investments could pass down social and environmental safeguards. As a matter of fact, decisions taken by private managers – strongly influenced by short- term returns- could turn out to challenge sustainable growth.
Mergers, acquisitions and downsizing strategies have submitted the livelihood conditions of millions of workers around the world. As Bauman warned, livelihood conditions turn out to be overwhelmed by uncertainly because of the flexibility required by the new business scenario. In his own words, “Flexibility is the slogan of the day, and when applied to the labor market it augurs an end to the ” job as we know it”, announcing instead the advent of work on short-term contracts, rolling contracts or no contracts, positions with no in-built security but the “until further notice” clause. Working life is saturated with uncertainty” (Bauman, 2000:147) In this setting, the commodification of natural resources turned out to be a feature of the long-run process of financial expansion that had been characterized as the “financialization” of the capitalist economy (Foster, 2009).
Looking back, the process of market deregulation opened new investment opportunities in sectors where private enterprises and foreign companies were formerly subject to restrictions such as mining, energy and telecommunications. Despite some local resistance, market liberalization was introduced into many countries historically dominated by state-owned, vertically-integrated monopolies in the energy sector (Markovich, 2012).
In the last decade, the 2008 global financial crisis brought new challenges to decisions about energy investments and policies, not only for fossil fuels’ availability but also because for significantly damages on environment and climate. The energy global scenario has also been influenced by the economic forecasts of financial institutions that happen to impact not only the valuation of energy investments tied to capital markets but also the commodity prices’ volatility. Beside, geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and North Africa continued to impact world oil prices and the shift to a green economy.
2. Ethics and economics: main concerns After the Second World War, the idea of development was associated with the active role of the national state that would support the sustainability of economic growth with social inclusion. After the Bretton Woods crisis, in the seventies, and with the advance of financial globalization, the institutional arrangement of the Welfare State has been shaken. As a result, both the instruments of economic policy and the attendance of social demands were put in question in a context of the redefinition of the scope of public policies. After some decades, it is a reality that global economic integration, guided by market credibility and financial rules, has broadened social exclusion. As a matter of fact, the new interconnections between wealth, production, labor and consumption have strengthened inequalities. Indeed, the apprehension of the current global inequality issues involves the understanding of the deep tensions between the hypertrophy of finance in economic dynamics and the expectations of society about citizenship, labor and income.
In this context, labor markets have become a key variable in macroeconomic adjustments and business strategies. Capital mobility, price stability and risk management have favored the regulation of social relations based on individual behaviour and performance. In contemporary capitalist societies, global institutional architecture has favored capital mobility and short term investment decisions – increasingly subordinated to rules of portfolio risk management. While recent changes in productive organization have been based on competitiveness and corporate governance criteria, job instability and fragile conditions of social protection turned out to put pressure on the redefinition of survival strategies. In this settlement, workers have turned out to redefine their skills, become informal entrepreneurs or migrate, among other examples of the current worldwide challenges to citizens (Madi, 2013a). Considering this background, governments have faced increasing challenges to support an ethically defensible approach to working conditions.
While money is an end in itself, social behaviors have mainly turned out to be guided by the profit motive. Consequently, social cohesion has been reduced since groups of specific interests have spread their actions and expectations in ways that are desirable to the interest group. Indeed, the outstanding conflicts between solidarity and particular interests have revealed growing tensions between ethical values and individual principles in capitalist societies (Madi, 2013a)
In this setting, corporate social responsibility has been a key feature of the reorganization of social interactions in the context of neoliberalism. It involves the adoption of voluntary global values to create new practices in business culture in order to modify the relationship among corporations, employees, clients, suppliers, communities and governments. As a result, the private business sector could be active in protecting the market society. Indeed, the debate about the role of corporations in promoting economic and social development through the benefits of new management and social practices was deepened in the context of the crisis of the Welfare State.
The participation of corporations in the solution of social and economic challenges would create new forms of social protection in a globalized market system. As a result, the provision of basic services of health, education, energy, water, among others, would contemplate diversified arrangements among governments, corporations, the so called non-governmental organizations and the communities. However, it is a reality that those practices of corporate social responsibility have not overcome the tensions inherent to the organization of market society.
While speculative and short-term portfolio decisions predominate in business strategies, practices of social responsibility turn out to support the profit motive, searching for growing efficiency instead of defeating inequalities. As a result of all these trends, the informal economy – that includes not only enterprises that are not legally regulated, but also employment relations without any kind of social protection – has been growing in developing and developed countries (Madi, 2015).
In most of the developing countries, the small businesses’ challenges have contributed to the expansion of the informal economy. Small and micro-entrepreneurs are usually subject to complex regulatory barriers. Besides, the access to credit is restricted. As a result, micro and small enterprises reveal poor performance in competitive environments, a lower capacity for innovation and a weak international orientation.
Among other obstacles to survival and expansion in the formal economy, the costs of starting up a formal enterprise are outstanding in developing countries. Among these transaction costs, we can highlight: i) the number of procedures that includes all necessary licenses and permits and completion of any notifications, verifications or registrations required by the relevant authorities; and ii) business legislation, specific regulations and fee schedules that are used as sources for start-up cost calculation.
Table of Contents
Introduction Values, Valuation, Valuing: Rethinking ethics, markets and institutions By Professor Maria Madi 17 Relevant issues in the transition to a green economy By Karen Alvarenga Windham-Bellord 25
Section 1 Values 30 Socio Ecological Reform Social-Ecological Transformation and Green Economics: New Perspectives for Solutions to the Most Pressing Problems of Today By Miriam Kennet (UK) 31
Sustainable Economics By Henry Cox (UK) 45
Property and Ownership, Land and Land-grab: What does Value Mean and Values do We Need to Bring? By Juliana Lima Mafia ( Brazil) 59
Indigenous values and decision making in Latin America By Henrique Domingos and Carlos Alberto Esteves (Brazil) 63
Emotional Responses Emotional Sustainability: A Cross-Disciplinary Concept for Socio-Ecological Transition By Dr Enrico Tezza (Italy) 71
Section 2 Valuation 85
Old and new business models: rethinking the challenges of short-termism in business and society By Maria Madi (Brazil) 86
Ecosystem valuation, commodification of nature and the Green Economy by Baba Aye (Nigeria) 102
The importance of organic farming and valuation of its environmental benefit: From the case study of the Green Revolution in Indian Punjab By Koryo Suzuki (Japan) 115
Economic Valuation of the Botanic Gardens of the Zoo-Botanic Foundation Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais By Miriam Pimentel Mendonca (Belo Horizonte’s Zoo-Botanic Foundation), Karen Alvarenga Windham-Bellord (International Institute For Sustainable Development), Daniel Caixeta Andrade ( Federal University Of Uberlandia), Fernando De Moura Resende ( Federal University Of Minas Gerais), Michele Polline Verissimo (Federal University Of Uberlandia) 120
Transaction Cost Economies and Governance Structures: rethinking Williamson’s approach to market failures By M.Fernanda Caporale Madi ( Brazil, Netherlands) 142
The Shadow Market: The Powerhouse of the Sovereign Wealth Funds and the New Economic World Order By Miriam Kennet (UK) 149
Climate finance and the role of private equity funds: contemporary trends By Maria Madi ( Brazil) 145 Is Contingent Valuation method credible as the environmental valuation to evaluate total economic value? By Koryo Suzuki (Japan) 164
Section 3 Valuing 165
Labour Centred Development and Economic Democracy: Insights from an Indian Cooperative’s Case Study By C.R.Yadu and Aabid Firdausi M.S.(India) 169
Growth, Basic Income and Green Policies By Dr Paul O’Brien (UK) 182
The Role of Corruption in Determining Levels of Trust in Public Institutions By Sophia Cliff (UK) 187 T
The Future of Decent Work By Dr Enrico Tezza (Italy) 212
EU Sustainable Development Strategy as a Great Opportunity for Building and Equitable and Sustainable Society By Arturo Hermann (Italy) 226
The Green Economics Institute Publishing House Books in Print 270