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A Solution to Crises or a Mechanism of Capitalist Expansion? Environmental Injustices and the Flexing of the Soy Complex in Brazil

Hutnik, Sophia LU (2016) HEKM50 20161
Human Ecology
Department of Human Geography
Abstract
It seems as though every generation has been faced with crises that are presented as more dire than the last. The current elaborations of crises focus on peak oil, climate change and food production as imminent threats to the modes of production and consumption encompassed in the capitalist world system. The rise of flex crops – the industrial cultivation of select crops with corresponding technologies to process them into multiple and flexible products such as biofuels, non-food industrial uses and food - has been observed as a response to the widespread delineation of crises in the late 2000s. This thesis seeks to understand the development of flex crops, specifically soybeans in Brazil, within the historical development of the world... (More)
It seems as though every generation has been faced with crises that are presented as more dire than the last. The current elaborations of crises focus on peak oil, climate change and food production as imminent threats to the modes of production and consumption encompassed in the capitalist world system. The rise of flex crops – the industrial cultivation of select crops with corresponding technologies to process them into multiple and flexible products such as biofuels, non-food industrial uses and food - has been observed as a response to the widespread delineation of crises in the late 2000s. This thesis seeks to understand the development of flex crops, specifically soybeans in Brazil, within the historical development of the world economy and cyclical crises of over-accumulation. Generally positioned within an Ecological Modernization theoretical framework as a component of a sustainable future economy based on biomass, flex crops are seen as a means to providing alternative fuels, increasing food production and providing renewable raw biomass materials for industries. Within Brazil, the encouragement of a flexed soy complex can be seen as an integral aspect of developmental projects in the hinterlands, as well as a vision of the continued economic prosperity of the country. However, while the flexing of soybeans is positioned as a sustainable process, the production of soybeans have had severe environmental and social consequences in areas of cultivation. This thesis examines both the theoretical and structural causes of the rise of flex crops as well as the ways in which the flexed soy complex contributes to instances of environmental injustices in Brazil, as the Brazilian environmental justice movement defines injustices. I contend that if a flexed soy complex is to be thought of as a genuinely ecologically sustainable industry, it should not contribute to environmental injustices in Brazil. (Less)
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author
Hutnik, Sophia LU
supervisor
organization
course
HEKM50 20161
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Brazil, soybeans, flex crops, capital over-accumulation, contemporary crises, environmental degradation, environmental justice
language
English
id
8873720
date added to LUP
2017-05-22 14:34:57
date last changed
2018-03-21 06:35:56
@misc{8873720,
  abstract     = {It seems as though every generation has been faced with crises that are presented as more dire than the last. The current elaborations of crises focus on peak oil, climate change and food production as imminent threats to the modes of production and consumption encompassed in the capitalist world system. The rise of flex crops – the industrial cultivation of select crops with corresponding technologies to process them into multiple and flexible products such as biofuels, non-food industrial uses and food - has been observed as a response to the widespread delineation of crises in the late 2000s. This thesis seeks to understand the development of flex crops, specifically soybeans in Brazil, within the historical development of the world economy and cyclical crises of over-accumulation. Generally positioned within an Ecological Modernization theoretical framework as a component of a sustainable future economy based on biomass, flex crops are seen as a means to providing alternative fuels, increasing food production and providing renewable raw biomass materials for industries. Within Brazil, the encouragement of a flexed soy complex can be seen as an integral aspect of developmental projects in the hinterlands, as well as a vision of the continued economic prosperity of the country. However, while the flexing of soybeans is positioned as a sustainable process, the production of soybeans have had severe environmental and social consequences in areas of cultivation. This thesis examines both the theoretical and structural causes of the rise of flex crops as well as the ways in which the flexed soy complex contributes to instances of environmental injustices in Brazil, as the Brazilian environmental justice movement defines injustices. I contend that if a flexed soy complex is to be thought of as a genuinely ecologically sustainable industry, it should not contribute to environmental injustices in Brazil.},
  author       = {Hutnik, Sophia},
  keyword      = {Brazil,soybeans,flex crops,capital over-accumulation,contemporary crises,environmental degradation,environmental justice},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {A Solution to Crises or a Mechanism of Capitalist Expansion? Environmental Injustices and the Flexing of the Soy Complex in Brazil},
  year         = {2016},
}