Chapter 7 - The Sociology of Sustainable Development

This critique which focuses on power relationships

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Unformatted text preview: s attempts to ameliorate their failures, critics contend that the international model of sustainable development is not working by anyone’s standards. Debt-for-nature swaps are another form of debt reduction, specifically related to environmental concerns. In a swap, a transnational organization, such as the Nature Conservancy or the World Wildlife Fund, buys a portion of a developing country’s debt in exchange for a commitment to environmental projects and establishing a “Conservation Trust Fund.” This reduces the developing country’s foreign debt and provides funding for the conservation and management of protected areas, usually channeled through a nongovernmental organization in the LDC. In the period from 1987 to 1994, thirteen nations participated in thirty-one transnational debt-for-nature swaps. Over US$128 million in conservation funds have been generated at a cost of US$46 million. The face value of the debt that has been reduced is US$187 million. While this is a miniscule amount in relation to the total debt of the involved countries, the swaps generate previously nonexistent funds for conservation activities. In addition to the problems of debt, another criticism against development agencies’ sustainable development practices questions the assumptions of agencies’ logic. This critique, which focuses on power relationships between the MDCs and the LDCs, reflects the criticisms against modernization theory waged by dependency and world-systems theorists.103 The logic of the argument, which arises from the LDCs, follows: If the North blames the poor for environmental degradation, this justifies their intervention in the South. The MDCs frame themselves as heroes of the environment and bring their agents, knowledge, and technologies to the LDCs to “solve” their problems. This top-down approach, despite the rhetoric of “participation” and “democracy,” demobilizes local, Southern actors. The approach also shifts attention away from the North’s destructive activities and from structural problems with the global economi...
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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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