**Apologies for cross-posting**


*2019 AAG Annual Meeting, Washington D.C.*

*Frontiers of Rent and Rentiership in the Green Economy*

*Organizers:* Sarah Knuth (Durham University) and Tyler Harlan (Cornell

*Sponsored by:* Cultural & Political Ecology, Economic Geography, and
Energy & Environment Specialty Groups

Across multiple spheres and spaces today, geographers have argued that
"contemporary capitalism is different"; that, as Birch, Ward, and Zeller
(2017) maintain, "it is increasingly dominated by forms of rentiership
rather than entrepreneurship." Whether described as value extraction (Birch
2017) or value-grabbing (Andreucci et al. 2017), rentiership implies a
transfer of economic value to the owner of a resource, rather than the
creation of economic value through productive activities. While debates
continue about the nature and future of surplus value production in late
capitalism, its significance and temporalities over the *longue durée*, and
its regional vs. global character (e.g., Silver and Arrighi 2003), it is
clear that rentiership has gained prominence as a mode of accumulation in
the present era. Moreover, recent interventions argue that rentier
imperatives are colonizing and imperiling technologically advanced sectors
often framed as the 'saviors' of capitalism, capable of infusing it with
fresh value and innovating fixes for its other spiraling contradictions
(e.g., Mazzucato 2015; Christophers 2016; Birch 2017; and see Storper and
Walker 1989; Ekers and Prudham 2015). In this session, we take on a key
contemporary frontier for these turbulent questions of rent, rentiership,
and (post)capitalist futures: the green economy.

Our focus on the green economy builds on established political economic and
ecological critiques of green capitalism, ranging from work on green urban
infrastructure financing to rural resource enclosures (McAfee 1999;
Fairhead et al. 2012; Christophers 2018; Langley 2018). Yet, rather than
emphasize the *arenas* where green accumulation occurs – be they
conservation (Büscher and Fletcher 2015), restoration (Huff and Brock
2017), decarbonization (Bumpus and Liverman 2008), or others – we aim here
to foreground the specific *mechanism(s)* through which value is
appropriated, which we suggest increasingly occurs through rentiership. We
understand the green economy as a 'frontier' of rentiership in two key
modes: as an *extensive* expansion of large-scale land conversions and
'grabs' for the inputs and infrastructure (such as renewable energy
installations), and as an *intensive* expansion into novel realms and asset
classes (such as bioprospecting and risk) (e.g., Johnson 2013; Goldstein
and Johnson 2015; McCarthy and Huber 2017; Rignall 2016; McEwan 2017; Knuth
2018; and see Walker 2017). We argue that these parallel forms – and,
particularly, novel ways in which they are being interconnected – remain an
outstanding empirical and theoretical challenge for contemporary political
economic and ecological scholarship, over and above both fields'
now-extensive engagements with value (e.g., Kay and Kenney-Lazar 2017) and
recurrent invocations of accumulation by dispossession (Harvey 2003). These
developments span rural, urban, and industrial geographies. Moreover, they
suggest deepening entanglements between traditionally construed forms of
rent/rentiership: rooted in, for example, monopoly control over land,
money, or intellectual property – all embedded in complex ways with state
powers and permissions.  As such, they demand ongoing engagements across
political ecology, political economy, and their established remits in rural
land relations, on the one hand, and urban-industrial geographies, on the

In this session, we seek contributions that engage these new rent frontiers
in the green economy empirically and/or theoretically. Questions to
consider include (but are not limited to):

   - What new assets and forms of rent are prominent in the green economy?
   To what extent is the existence of these new assets predicated upon the
   ability to extract rents from them (as opposed to actual value creation)?
   - How do rent and rentiership shape new green investment location
   decisions, particularly as they relate to frontier spaces? How might these
   decisions reshape or deepen processes of uneven development?
   - How does the *extensive* expansion of the green economy articulate
   with its *intensive* expansion? That is, how does the green economy
   re-inscribe traditional frontier spaces and relations, even as it
   simultaneously constructs new assets and forms of rent?
   - Relatedly, what are the entanglements and paradoxes of materiality and
   immateriality in the green economy, and how do such complexities matter in
   the evolving politics of rent/rentiership? That is, how does a nominally
   'post-industrial' and eco-efficient green capitalism nevertheless reshape
   land relations, industrial geographies, and other materially embedded
   - Are Schumpeterian technological rents accruing to 'disruptive'
   cleantech players more productive than rents extracted by financial players
   or landed capital, as high-tech champions and defenders of intellectual
   property often claim? How might different configurations of innovation and
   industrial policy (Mazzucato 2015) shape such determinations? (Conversely,
   how might we evaluate and counter similar claims to productivity from
   'market-making' financial players such as private equity?)
   - How might green economic expansion contour existing capitalist/rentier
   strategy and lines of critical inquiry (e.g., questioning of 'land as a
   financial asset' or the 'financialization of 'nature'' as financial players
   grab real property and value in new ways) (e.g., Christophers 2010; Knuth
   2015; Ward and Aalbers 2016; Ouma et al. 2018)?
   - How do capitalist states enable, shape, and/or constrain resource and
   rent territorialization in frontier spaces (e.g. Bridge 2014)? How do they
   shape opportunities for rent extraction from financial and technological
   - What are the political challenges of rent in the green economy, and
   what opportunities exist to do rent and rentiership *differently*? For
   example, do state extractions of rent (such as from re/nationalized control
   of renewable energy infrastructure and landed inputs), and
   *redistribution *of such rents, offer new tools in growing a more just
   green economy?

Please send titles and abstracts (max 250 words) to Sarah Knuth (
sarah.e.kn...@durham.ac.uk) and Tyler Harlan
(tyler.har...@cornell.edu) by *October
17*. We will respond by October 20.


Andreucci, D., García-Lamarca, M., Wedekind, J., & Swyngedouw, E. (2017).
"Value grabbing": A political ecology of rent. *Capitalism Nature Socialism*
, *28*(3), 28-47.

Birch, K. (2017). Financing technoscience: Finance, assetization and
rentiership, In D. Tyfield, R. Lave, S. Randalls and C. Thorpe, Eds. *The
Routledge Handbook of the Political Economy of Science*, London: Routledge,

Birch, K., Ward, C. & Zeller, C. (2018) Rent, rent-seeking, and rentiership
in geographical perspective. Session, American Association of Geographers
2018 Annual Meeting.

Bridge, G. (2014). Resource geographies II: The resource-state nexus. *Progress
in Human Geography*, *38*(1), 118-130.

Bumpus, A. G., & Liverman, D. M. (2008). Accumulation by decarbonization
and the governance of carbon offsets. *Economic Geography*, *84*(2),

Büscher, B., & Fletcher, R. (2015). Accumulation by conservation. *New
Political Economy*, *20*(2), 273-298.

Christophers, B. (2010). On voodoo economics: Theorising relations of
property, value and contemporary capitalism. *Transactions of the Institute
of British Geographers*, *35*(1), 94-108.

Christophers, B. (2016). *The Great Leveler: Capitalism and Competition in
the Court of Law*. Harvard University Press.

Christophers, B. (2018). Risk capital: Urban political ecology and
entanglements of financial and environmental risk in Washington, DC.
and Planning E*, *1*(1-2), 144-164.

Ekers, M., & Prudham, S. (2015). Towards the socio-ecological fix. *Environment
and Planning A*, *47*(12), 2438-2445.

Fairhead, J., Leach, M., & Scoones, I. (2012). Green grabbing: A new
appropriation of nature? *Journal of Peasant Studies*, *39*(2), 237-261.

Goldstein, J., & Johnson, E. (2015). Biomimicry: New natures, new
enclosures. *Theory, Culture & Society*, *32*(1), 61-81.

Harvey, D. (2003). *The New Imperialism*. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Huber, M. T., & McCarthy, J. (2017). Beyond the subterranean energy regime?
Fuel, land use and the production of space. *Transactions of the Institute
of British Geographers*, *42*(4), 655-668.

Huff, A., & Brock, A. Intervention– Accumulation by restoration:
Degradation neutrality and the Faustian bargain of conservation finance.
*Antipode *antipodefoundation.org/2017/11/06/...

Johnson, L. (2013). Catastrophe bonds and financial risk: Securing capital
and rule through contingency. *Geoforum*, *45*, 30-40.

Kay, K., & Kenney-Lazar, M. (2017). Value in capitalist natures: An
emerging framework. *Dialogues in Human Geography*, *7*(3), 295-309.

Knuth, S. E. (2015). Global finance and the land grab: mapping twenty-first
century strategies. *Canadian Journal of Development Studies/Revue
Canadienne D'études du Développement*, *36*(2), 163-178.

Knuth, S. (2018). "Breakthroughs" for a green economy? Financialization and
clean energy transition. *Energy Research & Social Science*, *41*, 220-229.

Langley, P. (2018). Frontier financialization: Urban infrastructure in the
United Kingdom. *Economic Anthropology*, *5*(2), 172-184.

McAfee, K. (1999). Selling nature to save it? Biodiversity and green
developmentalism. *Environment and Planning D*, *17*(2), 133-154.

Mazzucato, M. (2015). *The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs.
Private Sector Myths* (Vol. 1). Anthem Press.

McEwan, C. (2017). Spatial processes and politics of renewable energy
transition: Land, zones and frictions in South Africa. *Political Geography*
, *56*, 1-12.

Ouma, S., Johnson, L., & Bigger, P. (2018). Rethinking the financialization
of 'nature'. *Environment and Planning A,* *50*(3), 500-511.

Rignall, K. E. (2016). Solar power, state power, and the politics of energy
transition in pre-Saharan Morocco. *Environment and Planning A*, *48*(3),

Silver, B. J., & Arrighi, G. (2003). Polanyi's "double movement": The belle
époques of British and US hegemony compared. *Politics & Society*, *31*(2),

Storper, M., & Walker, R. (1989). *The Capitalist Imperative: Territory,
Technology, and Industrial Growth*. Blackwell.

Walker, R. (2017). Value and nature: Rethinking capitalist exploitation and
expansion. *Capitalism Nature Socialism*, *28*(1), 53-61.

Ward, C. & Aalbers, M. (2016). 'The shitty rent business': What's the point
of land rent theory? *Urban Studies* 53(9): 1760–1783.

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