Abstract

“Disaster capitalism” refers to political economic processes that take advantage of mass trauma to impose neoliberal capitalist economic policies, facilitating the redistribution of wealth and exacerbating socio-economic divisions. Here the basic tenets of disaster capitalism are applied in another context: how natural disasters can be used to impose exclusionary protected area conservation principles with similar socio-economic consequences and ecological ramifications. The post-Hurricane Mitch relocation of resident populations from Celaque National Park, Honduras serves as a case study whereby a natural disaster, combined with the effects of neoliberal structural adjustment policies, created the opportunity to implement a universal model of exclusionary nature protection. The resultant displacement and increased semi-proletarianization of the affected population effectively served the capitalist interests of international conservation and the agro-export coffee industry and, contradictorily, worked against the proclaimed goals of nature preservation through exclusionary national park policies.

Disciplines

Social and Behavioral Sciences

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URL: http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/ssci_fac/81