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Post-(sustainable) development?

Morse, S (2009) Post-(sustainable) development? International Journal of Global Environmental Issues, 9 (1-2). pp. 110-129.

Post sustainable development ~ Int Journal of Global Environmental Issues.pdf
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This paper critically reviews the application of a post-development analysis to sustainable development by employing a defined target for post-development analysis - the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC). The ‘quadratic’ EKC predicts an increase in environmental degradation with national wealth before reaching a point of inflection. Data from the 2005 Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI) for 146 countries are used to generate statistically significant EKC models, and the approach is deconstructed by employing post-development theory. While an ESI derived EKC is clearly an easy target for post-development critique, there are foundations upon which both rest which are not easily dismissed. Neither is the typical post-development ‘alternative’ of encouraging 'endogenous discourse' and grassroots movements at odds with sustainable development. As a result the paper argues that sustainable development theory already incorporates much of the critique and alternatives raised by post-developmentalists, and the problems rest more with how theory is translated to practice. Indeed what is more disconcerting is that sustainable development readily encompasses such apparently divergent ideas represented by the ESI, EKC and post-developmental critique and solutions. Building on the work of Fyodor Dostoevsky the paper questions whether what we embrace as sustainable development can ever be practically realised given the imperfections of human beings?

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Centre for Environment and Sustainability
Authors : Morse, S
Date : 2009
DOI : 10.1504/IJGENVI.2009.022089
Additional Information : Article published in International Journal of Global Environmental Issues 9(1-2), 110-129. Available at:
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 23 Mar 2012 10:12
Last Modified : 06 Jul 2019 05:10

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