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The FAOâs Use of Fear and Forestry as Tools of Neoliberal Economics
Abstract/OtherAbstract :
In this thesis, I study the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nationsâ (FAO) depiction of West African forests in its Forestry Outlook Study for Africa: Subregional Report, West Africa, which attempts to describe all of West Africaâs forests simultaneously. The FAO is a large international development agency that produces agricultural and environmental information for individual states and other international agencies, such as the World Bank. The FAOâs forestry studies pander to Western fears of environmental degradation, assumptions of African backwardness, and the assumed ârationalâ behavior of private investors in a free market by depicting West African forests as rapidly, uniformly, and irreparably degrading due to âirrationalâ resource management. The FAO presents privatization as a natural goal of international development, and requisite for ârationalâ land use. Unless private investors are given control of forests, the FAO implies, âirrationalâ deforestation will destroy West African forests. The FAO has thus incorporated Western fears about the environment into their neoliberal economic agenda. <p> Academics have challenged the FAOâs description of West African forests and have found that, in many cases, the FAOâs attempts to provide generalizations and recommendations over large regions do not adequately reflect the economic and geographical diversity of the region. Current academic literature challenges the representation of West Africa, and the environmental discourse of international development. I find that even critics of environmental discourse do not adequately challenge the underlying neoliberal assumptions that motivate the FAO. I propose that critics must further distance themselves from the assumptions inherent to international development by incorporating economic philosophy into their critique.
Authors :
Green, Henry Burke
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Contributors :
Medoune Gueye, Lawrence Grossman, Mark Barrow, Janell Watson
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Publisher :  VT     Type :  text     Format :  application/pdf    
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unrestricted, I hereby certify that, if appropriate, I have obtained and attached hereto a written permission statement from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis, dissertation, or project report, allowing distribution as specified below. I certify that the version I submitted is the same as that approved by my advisory committee. I hereby grant to Virginia Tech or its agents the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible, under the conditions specified below, my thesis, dissertation, or project report in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I retain all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis, dissertation or project report. I also retain the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis, dissertation, or project report.
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