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Chapter 25: Business Power, Business Conflict: A Neo-pluralist Perspective on International Environmental Politics
Robert Falkner What effect has economic globalization had on the international politics of environmental protection? This question has been at the center of a rapidly growing political economy literature on the links between global economic forces and the state of the global environment. One set of answers to this question revolves around the many ways in which global economic integration has created new, or aggravated existing, sources of environmental degradation. Scholars have examined the progressive liberalization of trade, investment, and finance in recent decades and have identified a number of causal mechanisms that link these trends with the global environmental crisis.1 Another set of answers has focused on the political consequences of globalization. In this perspective, the growth of ever denser webs of economic interaction has not only altered humanity’s physical relationship with the natural environment but has also transformed the international political process through which societies seek to address environmental problems. One particularly rich stream of scholarship that has emerged in this context has examined the increasingly active and powerful role of business actors in international environmental politics.2 This chapter focuses on this second strand of research. It introduces and discusses the neopluralist perspective on business power.3 Neo-pluralism offers a distinctive approach to studying global political change in an era of economic globalization. As I shall argue below, it offers important insights into the changing conditions of business power in the field of global environmental protection. By highlighting the political agency of corporations and the potential for business conflict,...
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