Degradation

“The global economy,” Wendell Berry writes, “institutionalizes a global ignorance, in which producers and consumers cannot know or care about one another, and in which the histories of all products will be lost. In such a circumstance, the degradation of products and places, producers and consumers, is inevitable” (Wirzba 2002, 244). For Berry and other critics, the new global order, oriented toward achieving unprecedented material abundance for a small number of people, thrives when it contaminates natural resources like land, water, air, and species habitat, and prospers by degrading less tangible, though equally crucial, aspects of human life: a sense of place, human dignity, a belief in the interconnectedness of whole ecological systems not limited to those that support only humans (Harvey 2006; Nixon 2011; Tsing 2005). But it is also clear that for writers, scholars, and activists, among the most insidious effects of a market system designed to exceed …

This essay may be found on page 55 of the printed volume.

Works Cited
Permanent Link to this Essay