Earlier in the year, I published a new paper in the Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal. This is based on my PhD research, and analyses the pilot biodiversity offsets market in the UK, which ran between 2012 and 2014. The paper is titled The contested instruments of a new governance regime: Accounting for nature and building markets for biodiversity offsets (catchy, isn’t it? I know!).
My argument in the paper is that the pilot project was an attempt at devising a new form of nature governance in the UK. However, the various components of this plan – the political project which underpinned it; the knowledge base involved in bringing nature to market; and the actual existing biodiversity proved mutually contradictory, and as a result failed to ‘mesh together felicitously’, to use a phrase coined by Hébert (2014) (behind paywall).
I really enjoyed writing this paper. It strikes at the heart of my interests – the mechanisms, actors and techniques by which economies are constructed. The idea of appraising the internal contradictions in economic experiments is one which needs more attention, in my opinion.
The paper also does something else: by noting how marketisation can fail to take hold, it shines a light on the processes by which the neoliberalisation of nature can fail. Neoliberalism is not a given; making it work takes a lot of effort, which is why the cases of (apparent) failure are so interesting.
The paper can be found here.