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Contemporary capitalisms and their social relation to the environment

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  • Cahen-Fourot, Louison

Abstract

This paper analyses the socio-economic context into which environmental policies and ecological sentiments emerge through empirically studying the relation to the environment of different kinds of capitalism. The association and interaction of the relation to the environment with other key social relations, e.g. the labour-capital relations, are studied and discussed. To achieve this, I draw from Regulation Theory and augment its analytical framework with an explicit environmental dimension. I then conduct an empirical analysis of the diversity of contemporary capitalism including the social relation to the environment for a sample of thirty-seven OECD and BRICS countries. Five kinds of capitalism are identified: the Northern-continental European, the Southern-central European, the Anglo-Saxon and Pacific, the Emerging Countries and the Two Giants. A main result is the correspondence between social relations to the environment exhibiting ecology-prone socio-political stances and a lower domestic natural resources intensity with labour oriented capital-labour relations, welfare-oriented states and openness to foreign suppliers. However, the results show that countries that are the most ecology-prone are also the ones that have the most relocated their environmental impact, confirming that global capitalism is not an ecological system. Implications of this pattern for a socio-ecological transition are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Cahen-Fourot, Louison, 2020. "Contemporary capitalisms and their social relation to the environment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 172(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:172:y:2020:i:c:s0921800919307372
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2020.106634
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    Cited by:

    1. Stefan Cibulka & Stefan Giljum, 2020. "Towards a Comprehensive Framework of the Relationships between Resource Footprints, Quality of Life, and Economic Development," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(11), pages 1-17, June.

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