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A class-based analysis of sustainable development: developing a radical perspective on environmental justice

Deutz, Pauline



Recent resurgence of interest in social aspects of sustainability has enjoined with on-going debates on environmental justice and equity. However, discussions on the socio-geographic distribution of environmental (dis-) benefits have substantially overlooked the issue of class (as defined by Marx). This paper begins to address that deficit by presenting a new conceptualization of sustainable development explicitly drawing on Marxist theorizations of class. Capital and labour have a fundamental conflict of interest; governments have limited potential, or interest, in intervening on labour's behalf. Environmental policies have been portrayed as offering economic and social benefits including so-called green jobs. This paper argues that such policies generate competition for investment rather than promoting equity. Green jobs may offer distributional benefits to individual workers, in certain locations, but cannot benefit labour as a class. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.


Deutz, P. (2014). A class-based analysis of sustainable development: developing a radical perspective on environmental justice. Sustainable Development, 22(4), 243-252.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 5, 2011
Online Publication Date Feb 29, 2012
Publication Date 2014-07
Deposit Date Apr 19, 2016
Publicly Available Date Apr 19, 2016
Journal Sustainable development
Print ISSN 0968-0802
Electronic ISSN 1099-1719
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Issue 4
Pages 243-252
Keywords Capital; Class; Environmental justice; Green jobs; Labour; Sustainable development
Public URL
Publisher URL;jsessionid=84B8D7ADF81399CF9BDB28F45BD69E17.f03t02
Copyright Statement ©2016 University of Hull
Additional Information This is the authors accepted version of an article published in Sustainable development, 2014, v.22.


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