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Towards a Sustainable Development - on the goals of Development - and the Conditions of Sustainability

Edited By: William M Lafferty and Oulf Langhelle

288 pages, Tabs, charts


Hardback | May 1999 | #95562 | ISBN: 0333715217
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NHBS Price: £94.00 $120/€102 approx

About this book

The idea of 'sustainable development' was given global prominence through the report of the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987. Since then the concept has been heatedly debated, mostly from a critical point of view. There has been a general tendency to narrow the idea to cover only environmental 'sustainability', neglecting vital aspects of both global solidarity and inter-generational equity. The purpose of the present book is to elaborate the integrated nature of the concept as it was originally outlined in the World Commission report. Given the key role of Norway's Prime Minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland, as head of the World Commission, it is appropriate that Norwegian social scientists attempt to develop the concept in a more constructive and pragmatic direction. The first step towards this goal is conceptual clarification of the original intent and interdependencies inherent in the concept. It is the opinion of the editors that the concept is both much more consistent and potentially much more radical than is frequently recognised. The book appears at a time when the commitments and accords from the Rio Earth Summit are being placed under increasing doubt. By presenting an integrated exposition of the underlying logic of sustainable development, the book aims to maintain and strengthen the concept's intellectual and moral appeal. While fully recognising the concept's weaknesses and ambiguities, the overall message of the book is that the concept is nonetheless the best available idea for achieving ecological balance with both global and generational equity.

'Each one is an expert in their field and provides an erudite and comprehensive discussion of the topic and the issues that arise.' - John Baines, International Journal of Environmental Studies


Preface List of Abbreviations List of Contributors Sustainable Developments as Concept and Norm; W.M.Lafferty and O.Langhelle A Global Ethic of Sustainability?; J.Wetlesen On Need: A Central Concept in the Brundtland Report; W.Haland Sustainable Development, State Sovereignty and International Justice; A.Follesdal Sustainability, Morality and Future Generations; P.Ariansen The Limits of Nature; N.Stenseth Nature, Market and Ignorance: Can Development Be Managed?; O.Langhelle Sustainable Development: Caught Between National Sovereignty and International Challenges; J.B.Skjarseth Economic Analysis of Sustainability; G.Asheim Economic Initiatives and Sustainable Development: An Assessment of Initiatives and Possibilities; S.Hansen Future Challenges of Sustainable Development; W.M.Lafferty and O.Langhelle Bibliography Index

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WILLIAM M. LAFFERTY is Professor of Political Science at the University of Oslo and Director of ProSus. Among his major publications are Participation and Democracy in Norway, Demokrati og Demokratisering (with Bernt Hagtvet), The International Handbook of Participation in Organisations (with Eliezer Rosenstein), and Democracy and the Environment (with James Meadowcroft). OLUF LANGHELLE is Research Associate at ProSus and a doctoral student at the Department of Political Science, University of Oslo. His major field of interest is normative political theory with a special emphasis on issues of social justice, democracy and sustainable development. He has recently published articles in both English and Norwegian and is co-editor of Rio +5 (1997), an evaluation of Norway's follow-up to the Rio Earth Summit.

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