Coal River's Last Mountain: King Coal's Après moi le déluge Reign

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13 Scopus citations


A failed proposal to substitute wind energy for mountaintop removal coal mining provides a valuable case study illustrating the weakness of theoretical approaches that neglect class relations and the analytical strength of Marxist ecology for understanding the processes of environmental degradation. The latter's strength is shown in its illumination of the ways in which class relations in the coalfields are tied to capitalism's metabolic rift and how this rift shapes political struggle and developmental path dependencies. Using Marx's approach of successive abstractions, the interrelated drivers and consequences of mountaintop removal mining in the Coal River Valley are analyzed from three vantage points: the perspective of ecology, of capital, and of human development. The destructiveness involved in this type of coal production reveals the ways in which capitalism depends on an après moi le déluge regime, discounting the future, and thus barring sustainable human development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)470-485
Number of pages16
JournalOrganization and Environment
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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