CARBON DEMOCRACY PDF
carbon democracy. Before turning to the past, however, let me explain some of the contemporary limits I have in mind. In the wake of the US invasion of Iraq in. To cite this article: Timothy Mitchell (): Carbon democracy, Economy and Society,. , examining the intersecting histories of coal, oil and democracy in the twentieth century. resourceone.info Zupnick, E. Parts of Chapter 1 first appeared as 'Carbon Democracy', Economy and Society resourceone.info;.
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“This study of the basis of modern democracy over the past century connects oil- producing states of the Middle East with industrial democracies of the West. Lino Camprubí | review Timothy Mitchell, Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil. London: Verso, pp. ISBN: By Lino. But the author, Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the who has offered a far from hagiographic Age of Oil, by Timothy Mitchell. Verso. account of his subject.
After setting these committees up in the name of participation and representation, Faye shows how forestry laws, practices and discourses systematically limited their rights by loading them with the burdens of forest management and depriving committee members of direct access to forestry markets — they had to sell most of their charcoal to urban-based forestry merchants. In parallel to the committees, foresters allowed urban merchants to buy from committees and to also hire migrant labourers to cut wood and make charcoal.
Merchants, unlike local producers, were not saddled with the odium of management. This forestry system hemmed forest villagers into subsistence labour while allocating lucrative trade opportunities to the urban elite.
Forest villagers wind up poor, living at subsistence on the brink of disaster.
This 'sustainable development' project has recently claimed it will support climate adaptation by alleviating rural poverty through revenue generation from the charcoal business, but instead was enriching forest merchants and impoverishing forest villagers while teaching them to cut and carbonize their forests for low wages: this does not seem to be an effective way of reducing climate-related or any other risks.
It is also not strengthening the long-term democratic representation of forest villages in forestry or in any other decisions as it is sidelining and delegitimising the elected rural councils.
Faye's contribution illustrates also how the project's institutional choices and the supporting technical justifications are subject to contestation by elected local governments. During the first phase of the World Bank project, the forest service rationalised their choice of committees with specious technical claims arguing that the committees had the capacity to implement technically required management.
Their actions showed they valued implementation over the procedural concerns of democracy Ribot The forest service and projects used a logic of technical necessity to override local concerns and to circumvent the elected local governments community councils.
Faye also shows, during the course of these management impositions, that: The stakes involved in the control of access rights and the institutions that enforce them had become very clear to ELGs [Elected Local Governments]. Indeed, PCRs [presidents of the elected rural council] understood that in order to respond effectively to local needs and to secure political visibility for themselves, they needed access to resources and the ability to exercise authority.
Therefore, they began resisting the technical claims as much as they could, mobilising political arguments that are deeply rooted in decentralisation laws, and working to control the revenues flowing from forest-related activities. After the first phase of the project, the elected councils challenged the domination by taking decision-making back from forest service and the project created committees — a demand from elected local governments for observance of national law.
Here elected councils chose themselves. In the project's next phase, however, the project returned to re-establish its non-democratic committee-based implementation units. They then made these units into 'associations', which are private organisations that elected local governments will not be able to dissolve at the end of the next project phase.
Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil
The elected local governments believe that the government's logic for creating associations was to override elected local governments Faye a, b. The CREMA approach has been promoted as a collaborative form of natural resource management that would help generate conservation and financial benefits for communities living around the protected areas.
However, CREMAs like the one analysed by Baruah, are also implemented in off-reserve degraded forested areas to increase timber production and introduce tree tenure privatisation. In Ghana, the elected District Assemblies' powers had been further limited after the reversal of decentralisations in Together with the chiefs, who grant access rights to land, forests and trees in their traditional 'wassa' areas, the state forestry administration retains the key decision-making powers over the commercial exploitation of off-reserve forests and trees.
In this context, the ownership of the trees, access to tools, seedlings and benefits including carbon benefits need to be negotiated, a task undertaken by a local NGO positioned as the CREMA project implementer.
Similar to other cases presented in this volume, the project established natural resource management committees to manage the CREMA. Here, however, chiefs occupied a prominent role both at regional and village-scales. Members of the committees were selected and nominated by the chiefs, often in the presence of the district forestry officers. In the process of establishment of the CREMA by the Forestry Commission and in the drafting of its bylaws by international donors, the District Assemblies were not even 'consulted'.
In this sense, foresters further weakened and delegitimised elected local authorities by diminishing their role in public decision-making. While the choice to work with chiefs and NGOs is justified on grounds that these bodies somehow represent the 'public', the fact that they are not elected or accountable to the people makes them effectively private bodies. Simultaneously, to the degree that they are accountable to donors and the forest service who empower them to implement forestry activities, they are effectively administrative branches of these two extra-local agencies.
So, through both this effective privatisation the degree to which these non-state bodies have new discretion of public resources and through external administrative control, the space of local public decision-making discretion is reduced; substantively weakening local democratic representation.
Of course, if in Ghana participation means allowing private groups such as local elite-led NGOs and 'community-based initiatives' to engage in and implement resource use decisions on behalf of the local people, then this non-public form of inclusion opposes democracy.
Indeed, more democracy here would mean less privatisation since democracy needs public resources and public decisions a sphere of public decision making in order to play a democratic role. Forests in Ghana could, if managed by local representative authorities, provide a collective local public domain. The contradictory talk of participation, representation and accountability while promoting private decision-making and benefit, needs to be evaluated.
Perhaps private forestry decisions and use can increase efficiency or even make forests more lucrative, but at what cost to fledgling rural democracies?
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Democracy is not being chosen by these intervening agencies — even if it is one of their stated values. If participation means implanting the administrative orders of external agencies it is also not democracy. In this sense we have two enclosures of the discretion of public democratic authorities; even the limited powers devolved to elected authorities are taken away and given to private bodies and others are retained by central agencies as required activities of the intervening agencies.
The implementing agents excluded anyone whose interests or activities were not aligned with the objectives of the CREMA. They were also excluded from benefits derived from its activities and from receiving material from the NGO. Although implementing NGOs, like IUCN along with the Ghanaian forestry and wildlife line offices were aware that the process by which the committee members are selected was undemocratic, they chose not to interfere.
However, the private interests behind these institutional choices were often economic and political. The donors and foresters rationalise their lack of engagement with representation and accountability via institutional mandates, technical and managerial goals. Do forestry programs work with unaccountable and ineffective local governments or should they circumvent them by creating their own more-effective committees? Kenya is transitioning from a centrally managed form of local administration towards empowered elected local governments.
Prior to the general election, local administration was made of weak elected local councils without financial powers running in parallel to strong local chiefs appointed by the provincial administration. The constitution, however, mandated the transformation of the councils into democratically elected 'decentralised' county governments with political and fiscal powers and responsibilities.
The Kenyan constitution also provided for the centralised system to be phased out.
Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil by Timothy Mitchell
Given the representative roles that elected leaders are designed to fulfill under the constitution, they would have likely been the first choice had the project been aiming to support and work through democratically elected local governments. But, the local elected leaders, elected before , were circumvented. Project staff argued that this was to avoid political interference or because they viewed them as corrupt. After the new constitution, the project would not work with the newly elected local leaders because the necessary resources and infrastructure were not yet in place.
On the other hand, the centrally appointed local officials made of chiefs were directly engaged in the project in the beginning, but later only as ex-officio members because they were similarly perceived as unaccountable, corrupt and inefficient. Indeed, while the project could claim that their carbon committees appeared representative on account of their being elected, the committee elections were hardly democratic. In a community meeting, voters had to bow their heads so they could wink wink not see others and raise their hands to be counted by the administrative chief.
In this case, voters had to trust the chiefs to count correctly and feared that others would tilt their heads to see who they voted for. Of course, voters might also not feel free to express their positions in front of powerful chiefs. In short, this system was nothing like a secret ballot that would constitute a fair election.
Each case illustrates conundrums that projects face when required to represent, negotiate, and protect local interests. The Ghanaian and Kenyan cases show how representation safeguards are compromised by an inappropriate circumvention of local government in favour of chiefs, NGOs, CBOs and local committees.
The cases all show that representation is given second tier to implementing of other forestry project goals. Representation is required, but merely performed as a theatrical 'symbolic' enactment Nuesiri this issue. Substantive representation, even when there are democratically elected local authorities, is nowhere to be seen. While we would have liked more analysis of the rationality of institutional choice — the politics of choice and recognition -- these papers just begin that part of the analysis.
Conclusion Elected local governments would seem to be good institutions to represent local people in local decisions. But they are not given the opportunity to do so. They are ignored and avoided.
This is not because they are weak or even culturally inappropriate. It is because international development agencies — certainly those working on natural resource management — choose not to work with or through them.
Local democratic institutions exist in most places. Yet, environmental projects and programs choose to work with institutions that operate in parallel to elected local governments. This choice, unfortunately, perpetuates the view that existing local democratic institutions are incapable of responding to local needs — it makes them appear irrelevant or incapable, without giving them a chance to prove otherwise.
Local governments sit powerless on the sideline. Indeed, these choices support local institutions that masquerade as representative but remain accountable to donors, private organisations, line ministries or to an identity- or interest-based sub-section of the population. They foster committees, NGOs, chiefs, and other private bodies while generating a specious image of representation.
The studies in this special issue documented how projects and government agencies chose to create and work through parallel institutions in forestry in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda. Indeed, why should a non-resident merchant hold a 'stake' in someone else's forest just because they stand to profit from it?
They may have an interest, but the claim of rights or a 'stake' in the public resource belongs, by definition, to citizens. Stakeholders are indeed citizens if and when they live in the jurisdiction that presides over the public resource in question. So, let them vote if they want a 'stake' in the public resource; they should not be having a binding decision-making power at the negotiating table.
They can and should inform or misinform decision-making processes, but they do not deserve a disproportional say in decisions. The decision should be by accountable representatives. Decisions over public forests and other natural resources should be made in a democratic manner, rather than in proportion to the interests of 'stakeholders' recognised by actors within line ministries or projects.
The articles in this special issue show that while all forest carbon and conservation programs studied, aimed or claimed to represent local people's needs and aspirations in their decisions, generated very little representation that might be called democratic. Why is this so? Why do project and program managers choose to circumvent elected local government?
Given that the safeguards outlined in the Cancun Agreements do not call for representation, it is not a shock that representation does not result from their application. They call for conformity with the status quo and the favouring of the influential, defining them as 'stakeholders' and giving them stakes in decision proportional to their interests.
Several other motives for choosing to avoid elected local governments also emerge from the studies. First, elected local governments are avoided due to ideological favouring of markets and privatisation Ece this issue.
These lead to enclosures that remove public decisions from democratic institutions and shift them to the private domain ranging from individuals and corporations to NGOs. Second, elected local governments are avoided due to collusion between forestry service or project authorities and wealthy actors involved in lucrative activities where democracy or elected local authorities might undermine wealthy elites Ece this issue; Faye this issue.
As we well know, democratic representation can result in redistribution — and the rich and powerful do not seem to want to give up their wealth and power. Third, elected local governments are avoided because many intervening environment and development agents believe that civil society and stakeholder approaches or customary authorities constitute democracy Baruah this issue; Faye this issue; Mbeche this issue; Nuesiri this issue.
While some of these processes or actors may represent people, they lack systematic accountability to the people as a whole who we consider to be the residents of the jurisdiction where the public resource resides and therefore they are not democratic Manin et al.
Fourth, local government is avoided because democracy is a slow and laborious process that requires time and resources, making it an unlikely choice by the agents under pressure to implement forestry management or carbon programs. Fifth, given that many local people might object to the very programs being implemented, their inclusion and consultation may be inconvenient and threatening to the project personnel trying to make interventions — they being under great pressure to demonstrate success Baviskar A sixth reason is that many technical agencies and project experts feel that the decisions are technical and belong in their expert hands.
So, technical necessity is often used as an excuse for centralising decisions with line ministries and project staff Faye this issue, Mbeche this issue, ; Mitchell ; Easterly Many intervening agents also believe that local governments are corrupt or inefficient, so they circumvent them Chomba this issue. This may be true, but if the same intervening agents tried to circumvent a corrupt local government in the United States or Europe, even to implement a park management project or build a playground, these agents would find themselves quickly incarcerated.
It is not acceptable to circumvent government agencies just because or even if they are corrupt. Many are corrupt Bardhan Rather than circumventing corrupt local governments, it is incumbent on anyone wishing to intervene to work to make those governments more accountable and effective. Integrating these institutions and decision making into elected local government — but establishing project-imposed checks and balances in the form of committee deliberations, public meetings, audits and other public accountability mechanisms — would get communities involved and help them to learn critical lessons on how to articulate their needs to elected leaders and how to hold their leaders accountable.
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First published: Read the full text. Tools Request permission Export citation Add to favorites Track citation. Share Give access Share full text access. Share full text access. The Apollo proposal gives a model for the role that public investment could play. So, what would a no-carbon democracy look like?
What would be the big shifts in power relations associated with changes in governance, capital and labour that would be needed to accompany the transformation? Which of these shifts might empower people to achieve equal treatment, decent livelihoods and democratic power? Here are some suggestions how a green transition could produce a more egalitarian, democratic world: Small-scale renewable power technologies can put control of power generation in local hands though the practicalities can be challenging The oil economy can promote a style of politics where armed factions extract all the benefits of oil cash to strengthen their position, rather than using the money to develop the country.
Transitioning out of that kind of economy could be a good thing — provided it does not leave a country in penury, and As the Africa Progress Report highlights , if renewable energy can be made cheaper, it could have a massively equalising effect for the poorest people in the poorest countries. They currently pay more for energy than people connected to grids in richer countries. Cheap, accessible, efficient renewable technology can correct that. But there are risks too. Mega-scale innovation, funded by the public sector, could lead to big corporates controlling access to technologies.
That could reduce public democratic control. The hopes that decentralising energy systems will produce a democratisation of energy supplies could easily be disrupted.In many cases, the existence of customary authorities parallel to and often in competition with other local authority structures, provides intervening agents with a convenient motive to circumvent democratic processes and implement projects through these authorities.
More contradictions arise: how could the oil infrastructure at once connect the political movements of the Middle East to each other and isolate the oil workers from their comrades in other industries and other regions?
None of the chosen 'representatives' are accountable and responsive to forest-dependent or indigenous peoples. Civil Energy: In increase in oil prices is dauntingly hard.
Such acts of sabotage achieved no political gains because the oil companies, backed by imperial governments and complacent rulers, resorted to various methods to prevent oil workers from gaining any control over the network: those involved violent crackdown on striking workers, sabotaging entire governments, hiring temporary workers in one place and arming colonial settlers in another, and finally diverting a pipeline from Saudi Arabia to the Mediterranean to avoid the power of workers in Haifa over its terminus.
In short, the local institutions — NGOs, chiefs or private bodies — chosen as partners by international forestry interventions shape local representation, as well as 'participation' or FPIC. This conversion marks a decisive break in the natural history of democracy: both coal and oil made democracy possible but in different ways, producing opposite effects.