This chapter seeks to look behind the different invocations of sustainable development and ecological modernisation, to uncover the competing normative and methodological assumptions and claims that are embedded in different problem definitions and associated policy prescriptions for economy–environment integration. Free-market environmentalism represents the most concerted defence of the virtues of private property and the market in solving environmental problems. Free-market environmentalists attribute most environmental problems not to market failure but to ‘state failure’. Politicians, bureaucrats and other public officials are assumed to act in self-interested ways rather than pursue general social welfare. Unlike free-market environmentalists, green social democrats see the state as playing a vital role in correcting ‘market failure’, and acting as environmental protector and guardian of generalisable and long-term interests. Like green social democrats, ecosocialists also seek to give expression to the goals of ecological sustainability, social equity and participatory democracy, but they differ over how these values are best institutionalised.