6. Business organizations and biodiversity conservation Previous chapters have treated population growth, enlarged agricultural and housing footprints on the land, and actions of governments – in particular the development of infrastructure – as major causes of ecological degradation in China and Taiwan. In this chapter we consider the role that economic organizations have played as drivers of environmental change. Due to the rapid industrialization of both Taiwan and China in the post-World War II era, our focus will largely be on business enterprises. The chapter begins by describing the domestic organization of factories and businesses in China and Taiwan. Then we turn to the relationships between enterprises (and business groups) and the state, asking both about the degree of autonomy in business organizations and the degree of penetration by the state into the decision making of business firms. At first glance the question may seem irrelevant to the protection of rare and endangered species and ecosystems. Yet if the state includes important business interests in developmental decision-making (a state-society relationship called corporatism) and if environmental conservation values are among the core interests of the State,1 then actions of enterprises are more likely to preserve species and ecosystems. This at least has been the experience of a number of countries which are leaders in environmental policy globally, leading to an important hypothesis in the literature of comparative environmental politics: corporatism is more conducive to benign environmental outcomes than pluralism (or other forms of state-society relationships). This discussion prefigures the examination of environmental...
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