Globalization, Environmental Health and Social Justice
Routledge – 2014 – 208 pages
Countries in the West regularly export their environmental harms – dumping heavy metals and greenhouse gases, for instance – to countries with (often fast) developing economies. These practices may seem beneficial to both the core and the periphery, providing jobs and investment in the latter, whilst outsourcing expensive health and safety commitments in the former. But, given the lack of infrastructure and regulation necessary to assess and manage these hazards, is it safe?
Globalization, Health and Environmental Justice argues that the globalization of hazards puts the health of people in peripheral countries at risk in order to benefit those living in the core countries. Contextualizing the export of hazardous products, industrial production processes, and wastes in a world-systems framework, it discusses how ecological unequal exchange, the treadmill of production and metabolic rift have contributed to the globalization of health, safety and environmental risks. Three case study chapters explore the forces driving these transfers and the adverse socio-economic consequences associated with them. Including examples from Mexico, China and Bangladesh, they present empirical research on hazardous products and processes from pesticides, cigarettes, and leaded gasoline, to ship-breaking, e-waste and specialist export processing zones. Frey discusses the need for an alternative political strategy of globalization from below, arguing that conventional solutions fail to take into account a world system based on unequal relationships between core and periphery.
This innovative volume is essential reading for researchers and students of public health, environmental health, social justice and the processes of globalization.
1. Introduction 2. Ecological Unequal Exchange, the Metabolic Rift, and the Treadmill of Production in the World-System 3. Marketing Hazardous Products: Pesticides, Cigarettes, Asbestos, and Leaded Gasoline 4. Displacing Hazardous Production Facilities: The Maquiladora Centers of Northern Mexico and the Export Processing Zones of South China 5. Structuring Hazardous Waste Streams in the World-System: E-Waste in China and Ship Breaking in Bangladesh and India 6. Assessing the Costs and Benefits: A Critical Analysis of the Neo-Liberal Discourse 7. Globalizing Responsibility or Renationalizing Capital in the World-System?
R. Scott Frey is Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Social Justice at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, USA.