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In recent years both scholars and activists have used the concept of precarity to describe the destabilization of labor conditions and growing economic insecurity associated with the global spread of neoliberal policies. At the same time, a seemingly unrelated discourse has emerged that focuses on precarity of another sort: the increasingly precarious hold on existence of life itself, due to deteriorating ecological conditions. Why are diverse societies with such varied histories and relationships to capitalist markets stuck in a downward spiral of resource exploitation, even as evidence mounts that if things carry on like this, the future of life on...

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