ABSTRACT Economic initiative, by definition, is a human and social effort devoted to the collective wellbeing. However, economic development in general, along with more or less measurable benefits, may cause harm to people and the environment. This aspect tends to be obscured by advocates of the currently predominant philosophy (or ideology) known as neo-liberalism. This paper sets off with a critical analysis of the axioms of neo-liberalism focusing on the variable risk and on the harm provoked by economic development on the environment. Straddling legality and illegality, harmful economic conduct is then equated to a specific form of white collar crime, while an attempt is made to trace in the history of economic thought itself the embryo of a destructive rationale. After considering how harm to individuals and the environment is hidden through ideological strategies, the paper looks at some refreshing proposals to turn the threats of economic development into human opportunities.
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