In February, Boris Johnson, the Prince of Wales and Sir David Attenborough launched the Dasgupta Review, a policy report on biodiversity promoting the financialization of Nature.
What makes this report particularly important is that it is set to define UK policy for the decades to come. The review is also important since, while being ostensibly about biodiversity, it proposes to expand financialization not only to nature but beyond, to human life and everything else.
The overarching goal of policymaking according to the Review is deemed to be maximising ‘inclusive wealth’, defined as the sum of produced capital, human capital and natural capital, and considered to be equivalent to intergenerational well-being.
Rather than challenging the current status quo and providing solutions to address critical biodiversity loss and the 6th mass extinction of species, this Review can be understood as providing the social licence for growth maximisation to continue, thanks to new natural & human capital side constraints.
Biodiversity conservation is compared to asset management, and biodiversity loss is presented as a problem of asset allocation. We will show why this analogy is both inappropriate and dangerous.
We find the political vision promoted in the review to be concerning, from an environmental, social and democratic perspective, all the more than New Zealand and China are also in the process of setting up similar policies, and private lobbies are currently pushing hard to introduce similar policies at EU level.
At the very least, we believe that a public debate might be warranted before Dasgupta’s view of the world gets to shape the future of Europeans citizens for decades to come.