haque neoliberalism and sustainability

haque neoliberalism and sustainability - International...

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The Fate of Sustainable Development Under Neo-liberal Regimes in Developing Countries M. S HAMSUL H AQUE A BSTRACT . Due to an enhanced global environmental awareness reinforced by dramatic environmental events, international conferences on the environ- ment and development, as well as academic research and publications, have increasingly shifted the developmental discourse toward the concept of “sustainable development.” In developing countries, however, the realization of the notion of sustainable development has come under challenge due to the emergence of neo-liberal regimes and their pro-market policies. The current article addresses the following issues in this context: the origin, meaning, and problems of sustainable development; the major features and policy orientations of neo-liberal regimes in developing countries; and the critical implications of neo-liberal policies for the environment and devel- opment. The article also offers some recommendations with a view to overcoming the contemporary challenges to sustainability and ensuring a more genuine and effective mode of sustainable development. Introduction During the last quarter of this century, there has been an increasing global concern for rethinking development, reexamining the traditional mode of development based on the logic of industrialism, reviving public interest in the uncertain future of the natural environment and nonrenewable resources, and reinforcing the focus on the question of sustainability. Due to increasing environmental challenges to widespread industrialization, there has been a considerable shift in developmental thinking toward a mode of development termed “sustainable” or enduring. However, the mainstream theories and models, which still represent the dominant paradigm in the developmental field, are relatively indifferent toward environmental issues related to the question of sustainability. Most of these theories and models empha- size the prevailing national and international concerns—such as economic growth and stagnation, market competition and market failures, political stability and International Political Science Review (1999), Vol. 20, No. 2, 197–218 0192-5121 (1999/04) 20:2, 197–218; 006980 © 1999 International Political Science Association S AGE Publications (London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi)
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conflict, inter-class exploitation and alienation, and unequal international exchange and dependency—while overlooking issues such as resource depletion, environmen- tal pollution, and ecological predicaments that tend to weaken the very foundation of human progress. More specifically, the classical, neoclassical, Keynesian, and post-Keynesian theories of economic growth (Adam Smith, Ricardo, J.S. Mill, Jevons, Walras, Keynes, Friedman, Samuelson) are primarily concerned with the continuity of economic growth and accumulation based on market competition, and express apprehension about potential economic stagnation and market failures. Radical theories of social progress (Thompson, Hodgkin, Marx, Engels, Luxemburg, Hilderf-
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