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Assets, power and the construction of green capitalism
in The Value of a Whale
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The third chapter maps a critical and relatively nascent site of power in the global economy and, importantly, in the design of the green capitalist programme: the asset management industry. Once a niche industry serving the wealthy, asset managers now sit at the helm of Wall Street’s immense power, with a consistently growing influence over policy including, saliently, how many governments and international institutions are designing their responses to ecological crisis. This chapter examines the historically distinct combination of incentives, governing logics, and mechanics that drive this vast and highly concentrated industry, exploring the outsized impact of a small cohort of enormous firms. There are countless firms and industries at play within the messy politics of ecological crisis, not least the fossil fuel giants; however, their role is not documented here for the same reasons that the efforts of denialist politicians is not focussed on. First, these efforts have been catalogued in considerable detail elsewhere; and second, though they remain influential, they are not the primary entities shaping the green capitalist project as it is defined here, oriented as it is toward a particular set of ‘solutions’.

The Value of a Whale

On the Illusions of Green Capitalism

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