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Environmental Sciences - Sustainable Development | Mortgaging the Earth - The World Bank, Environmental Impoverishment, and the Crisis of Development

Mortgaging the Earth

The World Bank, Environmental Impoverishment, and the Crisis of Development

Rich, Bruce

2013, XIV, 378 p.


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  • An important companion to Bruce Rich's new book, Foreclosing the Future
  • Critically acclaimed when first published in 1994: Called "a hard-hitting and authoritative work, useful and provocative" by The Christian Science Monitor and "a detailed and thought-provoking look at an important subject" by The New York Times Book Review
  • Widely used in courses in political science, public policy, international relations, and environmental studies

The 1992 Rio Earth Summit was supposed to be a turning point for the World Bank. Environmental concerns would now play a major role in its lending—programs and projects would go beyond economic development to “sustainable development.” More than two decades later, efforts to green the bank seem pallid.

Bruce Rich argues that the Bank’s current institutional problems are extensions of flaws that had been present since its founding. His new book, Foreclosing the Future, tells the story of the Bank from the Rio Earth Summit to today. For readers who want the full history of the Bank’s environmental record, Rich’s acclaimed 1994 critique, Mortgaging the Earth, is an essential companion.

Called a “detailed and thought-provoking look at an important subject” by The New York TimesMortgaging the Earth analyzes the twenty year period leading up the Rio Summit. Rich offers not only an important history but critical insights about economic development that are ever-more relevant today.

Content Level » Lower undergraduate

Keywords » Climate change - Corruption - Dam - International development - World Bank

Related subjects » International, Foreign and Comparative Law - Sustainable Development

Table of contents 


1. The Dwelling Place of the Angels

2. Decade of Debacles

3. Brave New World at Bretton Woods

4. The Faustian Paradox of Robert McNamara

5. Greens Lay Siege to the Crystal Palace

6. The Emperor’s New Clothes

7.  The Castle of Contradictions

8. From Descartes to Chico Mendes: A Brief History of Modernity as Development

9. Who Shall Rule the World─and How?

10. What on Earth Is to Be Done?



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