‘Natural Capital’ and the Tragedy of Environmental Value

  • John FosterEmail author


The concept of natural capital offers environmentalists a dangerous metaphor. While it has limited positive uses for implementing the recognition that natural resources and the capacities of ecological systems are not free goods for the economy, at the level of earth systems it radically misrepresents the relationship between human beings and their planetary home. I argue that this is an economistically inflected instance of a more fundamental misrepresentation, that involved in seeking to attach values to our constitutive natural context at all; but also that we are so constituted as not to be able to avoid doing this so that value-conflict becomes tragically inescapable in this domain.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lancaster UniversityLancasterUK

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