How can the Circular Economy create distributed social value?

According to many analysts, given the right economic incentives, a transition to a CE can automatically happen in market economies. The role of people, class relations and power asymmetries, local communities, care and social reproductive work, and nonhuman nature (plants and animals in particular) is generally overlooked. The details about how such a revolution in the way we produce and consume would happen are generally vague and—probably intentionally—underspecified. Therefore, there is a risk that economic imperatives to ‘close the loop’ as quickly and efficiently as possible conflict with the inevitable frictions and demands of democratic governance. A key issue that is often ignored is: who is going to decide where and how to implement closed-loop production and consumption systems? Since CE does not question issues of justice and power relations, the societal implications of such a paradigm transition are not explicit, suggesting a predominantly technocratic agenda underlying the CE notion.

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