Chapter 7 - The Sociology of Sustainable Development

so valuable as a comparison to sustainable

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Unformatted text preview: eas from both the MDCs and the LDCs. He says, “What makes [appropriate technology] or its institutionalized form of intermediate technology . . . so valuable as a comparison to sustainable development is that it drew favourable attention in both North and South among citizens, politicians and even some private-sector agents of the treadmill of production. Interestingly, like sustainable development, appropriate technology also generated little overt political resistance.” Unfortunately, the political acceptability of appropriate/intermediate technologies did not result in real changes in the system of production.12 In 1987, the discourse of sustainable development presented a shift in thinking about development. SD presented a solution to the problems of economic development and environmental degradation. International aid agencies, such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Bank, adopted the SD framework for the design of their development programs. The emergence of the concept came at the same time that environmental policymakers began framing environmental problems, such as biodiversity loss, the greenhouse effect, and the thinning of the ozone layer, as “global problems.” No longer was it enough to “think globally, act locally.” In an era of globalization, the new interpretation of environmental problems suggested that we must “think globally, act globally.” Sustainable Development’s Definitional Problems While critics of sustainable development from the radical, managerial, and conservative viewpoints are concerned with a range of problems related to the concept of SD, a criticism that unifies their thoughts is the lack of clarity in the meaning of the term. What should be “sustained” in sustainable development? the economy? the environment? human welfare? What should be “developed”? Is “development” the same as growth? Whose “needs” and whose “development” should be promoted?13 As an example of the definitional problem, Paul Ekins considers the issue of “needs” and argues that the term is “an imprecise formulation which makes no distinctio...
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This note was uploaded on 10/25/2010 for the course SOSCI INBA6610 taught by Professor Prescott during the Fall '08 term at University of the West Indies at St. Augustine.

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