First Advisor

Mel Gurtov

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Political Science


Political Science




Sustainable development -- Developing countries, Economic development -- Environmental aspects, Sustainable agriculture -- Developing countries



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, 134 p.)


Over the past decade '"Sustainable Development" (SD) has emerged as the latest development catchphrase. A wide range of nongovernmental as well as governmental organizations have embraced it as the new paradigm of development. A review of the literature that has sprung up around the concept of SD indicates, however, a lack of consistency in its interpretation. More important, while the all-encompassing nature of the concept gives it political strength, its current formulation by the mainstream of SD thinking contains significant weaknesses. These include an incomplete perception of the problems of poverty and environmental degradation, and confusion about the role of economic growth and about the concept of sustainability. The purpose of this study was to identify common elements in a political economy of the environment, relating environmental change to the dynamics of ideology and policy, and at different levels of political complexity. The intention was to provide a structural analysis of the environment in which the development process illuminates environmental change at both a philosophical and material level. The problem in achieving SD was related to the overriding structures of the international economic system, which have arisen out of the exploitation of environmental resources, and which frequently operate as constraints on the achievement of long-term sustainable practices. Insufficient accounting of ecological aspects of economic growth and development has resulted from intellectual traditions, where solutions are formulated, point in different directions. Conclusions are drawn that SD involves trade-offs between biological, economic and social systems and is found in the interactive zone between these systems. There are a number of international factors that may be necessary, but insufficient, conditions for SD on a national level, including peace, debt reduction, and more propitious terms of trade. There was seen dilemmas relating to SD, including the role of growth as the unquestioned objective of economic policy.


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