Chapter 7 - The Sociology of Sustainable Development

36 michael redclift argues that sustainable

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Unformatted text preview: sms of sustainable development serve to reproduce global inequality. In particular, the critique focuses on three MDC-LDC relationships—trade, aid, and debt. Critics of sustainable development argue that unequal relationships between the MDCs and the LDCs, entrenched in the post–World War II “developmentalist” period, are reproduced in the sustainable development paradigm; thus, the term SD is just a new guise for continued imperialism.36 Michael Redclift argues that sustainable development serves to support those with power in the international world order.37 This world order is one that was defined during the post–World War II development period in which “. . . the industrialized nations of North America and Europe were supposed to be the indubitable models for the societies of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, the so-called Third World.”38 Radicals do not believe that sustainable development offers a real alternative to old practices that serve those in power at the expense of the “have nots.” The radical interpretation does not present an agenda for sustainable development like the conservative and managerial perspectives do. Instead, radicals attempt to unpack the assumptions of each of the other approaches. The next section will present a variety of strategies that are being used to promote sustainable development. The radical position will be more fully fleshed out in terms of what it opposes of these strategies, since, from the radical perspective, there are serious problems with being “for” sustainable development. Finally, another model for thinking about approaches to sustainable development that is similar, but lacks a one-to-one correspondence to the conservative-managerial-radical model we present, is used by Susan Baker and colleagues.39 They evaluate approaches ranging from least to most social restructuring, and from most anthropocentric to most biocentric (Table 7.1). Roughly, their “treadmill” SD corresponds with our conservative model; in the range between their “weak sustainable development” and their “strong sustainable development” fits the managerial model; and their “ideal model” for SD has aspects of the radical model calling for profound structural changes in economic and political systems, and aspects of the conservative model calling for value changes that would align society more with deep ecological values. 228 Right livelihood, meeting needs not wants; changes in patterns and level...
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