The Corporate Capture of Sustainable Development by Leslie Sklair

Why sustainability doesn't really work?

The Transnational Capitalist Class and the Discourse of Globalization By Leslie Sklair Cambridge Review of International Affairs 2000;

The Corporate Capture of Sustainable Development......Thus, the negative environmentalism that had forced industries to respond to specific challenges on pollution and toxic hazards gave way to more general conceptions of ˜sustainable growth' and ˜sustainable development', entirely compatible concepts in the corporate analysis. Corporate environmentalism, therefore, both as a social movement and as a discourse, co-existed easily with this moderate conception of sustainability. From this powerful conceptual base big business successfully recruited much of the global environmental movement in the 1990s to the cause of sustainable global consumerist capitalism. This achievement is an object lesson in how dominant classes incorporate potential enemies into what Gramsci called new historical blocs.... The sustainable development historical bloc began in earnest in the period leading up to the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. The close relationship between Maurice Strong, the virtual CEO of the Earth Summit, and Stephan Schmidheiny is a matter of public record. The environmental arm of the ICC, the Business Council for Sustainable Development, represented big business in Rio and was successful in keeping any potential criticism of the TNCs off the official agenda. There was, as a consequence, formidable corporate input into the formation of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), the major institutional result of UNCED..........Sustainable consumption and production are essentially two sides of the same coin. Sustainable consumption addresses the demand side, examining how the goods and services required to meet peoples' needs and improve the quality of life, can be delivered in a way that reduces the burden on the Earth's carrying capacity. The emphasis of sustainable production is on the supply side, focussing on improving environmental performance in key economic sectors such as agriculture, energy, industry, tourism and transport........From the ecological point of view this approach is based on a series of fallacies. The first is the anthropocentric approach itself, where sustainability for people and societies takes precedence over sustainability for the planet. The second fallacy is the idea that 'sustainable consumption' and 'sustainable production' are essentially two sides of the same coin, For ecologists, the real issue is not 'sustaining' production and consumption, but reducing them absolutely....The combination of the discourse of sustainable development with that of national and international competitiveness provides powerful weapons for the transnational capitalist class. Globalization is not a 'Western' but a globalizing capitalist ideology, whose discourse and practices are necessary to negate the growing class polarization and ecological crises characteristic of this latest stage in the long history of capitalism....

The Transnational Capitalist Class by Leslie Sklair ISBN: 978-0-631-22462-4 352 pages October 2000, Wiley-Blackwell; Description: The Transnational Capitalist Class provides theoretically informed empirical research to explain the process of globalization from the viewpoint of the corporations themselves. Through personal interviews with executives and managers from over eighty Fortune Global 500 corporations, Sklair demonstrates how globalization works from the perspective of those who control and oppose the major globalizing corporations and their allies in government and the media. Sklair's unique approach brings a fresh perspective to what has become a key debate of our time,subjectCd-GE2B.html

Democracy and the Transnational Capitalist Class By LESLIE SKLAIR, ANNALS, AAPSS, 581, May 2002; ABSTRACT: While globalization means many different things to
many different people, there is growing consensus that capitalist globalization is its most powerful contemporary form. This article argues that capitalist globalization, and thus effective power in the global system, is increasingly in the hands of a transnational capitalist class (TCC) comprising four fractions: those who own and control the major corporations and their local affiliates, globalizing bureaucrats and politicians, globalizing professionals, and consumerist elites. The TCC engages in a variety of activities that take place at all levels, including community, urban, national, and global politics, and involve many different groups of actors. Two sets of questions are addressed: (1) What forms do these activities take? and (2) Do they enhance or undermine democracy? The role of the TCC is analyzed through brief case studies on Codex Alimentarius and the global tobacco industry....