Chapter 8: Conclusion
This book opened with the observation that changing the behavior of firms is usually seen as unlikely without changes in market forces or effective state regulation. These changes are seen as necessary for internalizing environmental externalities. However, the aim has been to open up the question of addressing environmental externalities by shifting attention away from purely material aspects towards institutional differences in capitalist relations of production in firms’ home states. To empirically ground the analysis, the car industry has been the focus. This is because it is the world’s largest manufacturing sector, dominated by a handful of large multinational corporations whose products are a major contributor to environmental damage, particularly the pressing global issue of climate change. By focusing on the industry’s contribution to the problem of climate change through the carbon dioxide emissions of passenger cars in use, it has been shown that firms’ commitments are not happening equally (that is, in terms of magnitude), nor in the same manner (that is, there are qualitative differences). Firms’ strategies are dependent on where they have their home bases. Institutional variations in capitalist relations of production between firms’ home states, revealed by the Varieties of Capitalism approach, have been shown to be important for explaining variations in car firms’ responses to climate change. In fact, there is a two-way relationship such that the insights of the VOC approach support the results of the empirical analysis, and in turn the results support the insights of the VOC approach. The key insights of...
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