chapter  6
34 Pages

Capitalism, corporations and the environment

The corporate sector is one of the most important forces shaping human impacts on the environment. This is not to say that businesses are the sole cause of environmental damage. Nor is it to assert that state capitalism or state-owned businesses have no impact – they do, as the examples of China and Russia illustrate (Bremmer 2010). Nonetheless, private companies going about their normal business, unrestrained by much government regulation, have delivered very significant amounts of harm to ecosystems and the lives they support. As we have seen in our discussions of neoliberalism in previous chapters, corporations have invested considerable resources in resisting environmental regulations in order to protect their ability to continue doing whatever they want without state interference. As such, political actions in defence of corporate freedom to harm the environment need to be considered.