Sustainable Development

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Introduction There are fundamental challenges related to development in every era of human history. From the historical focus on expansion of imperial power and colonial rule in order to attain supplies of raw material and cheap labour, often in the form of slavery; to the gradual emergence of social progression in the form of concepts such as social justice, democracy, and equity during the post-world-war period. Earlier developmental approaches were centered on raising living-standards by promoting increase in productivity to provide goods and services to a growing population. As Jonathan Harris pointed out, many international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the United Nations were set up to achieve this goal.5 This approach was widely accepted at the time, and is shown by W.W. Rostow in his publication on economic development, The Stages of Economic Growth in 1960, where he proposed that development occurred through stages, and developing countries are transformed through economic “take-off” to mature societies of mass consumption, like those of the western world.5,8 Over time new policies were implemented, and different approaches to development have been emphasized. In particular, a focus on basic needs in the 1970’s, such as the advocacy of universal education, nutrition, health, sanitation, and employment for the impoverished, was in contrast to structural adjustments of bureaucracies and markets in the 1980’s which urged trade liberalizations and market reforms. Supporters of basic needs policies were critical of the structural adjustment approach as they argued that gains in economic efficiency were often at the expense of further inequality and hardship for poor, developing... ... middle of paper ... ...n Natural Capital: The Ecological Economics Approach to Sustainability. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. [4] Goodwin, N.R. (2003). “Five Kinds of Capital: Useful Concepts for Sustainable Development.” Global Development and Environment Institute: Working Paper 03-07. [5] Harris, J.M. (2000). “Basic Principles of Sustainable Development.” Global Development and Environment Institute: Working Paper 00-04. [6] Howarth, R.B., Norgaard, R.B. (1993). “Intergenerational Transfers and the Social Discount Rate.” Environment and Resource Economics 3 (Aug): 337-58. [7] Nissanke, M., Thorbecke, E. (2007). “Linking Globalization to Poverty.” United Nations University – Policy Brief. (No.2, 2007) [8] Rostow, W.W. (1960). The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto. [9] Toman, M.A. (1992). “Difficulty in Defining Sustainability.” Resources (106): 3-6.

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