The social relation to the environment in contemporary capitalism: theoretical reflections and empirical explorations

Publication: Working/Discussion PaperWU Working Paper

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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 ecology-prone social relations to the environment, labour oriented capital-labour relations and welfare-oriented states. However, the results show that countries that are the most ecology-prone are also the ones that have the most relocated their environmental impact, an observation consistent with the critical literature on the Environmental Kuznets Curve.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameEcological Economic Papers
No.26

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502042 Environmental economics
  • 201128 Sustainable building
  • 502027 Political economy
  • 502018 Macroeconomics

WU Working Paper Series

  • Ecological Economic Papers

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