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Journal ArticleDOI

Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development

01 Feb 1999-Environmental Ethics-Vol. 21, Iss: 1, pp 93-96
About: This article is published in Environmental Ethics.The article was published on 1999-02-01. It has received 462 citations till now. The article focuses on the topics: Sustainability & Sustainable development.
Citations
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The three-pillar conception of sustainability, commonly represented by three intersecting circles with overall sustainability at the centre, has become ubiquitous as discussed by the authors, however, there is no single point of origin of this threepillar conception, but rather a gradual emergence from various critiques in the early academic literature of the economic status quo from both social and ecological perspectives on the one hand, and the quest to reconcile economic growth as a solution to social problems on the part of the United Nations on the other.
Abstract: The three-pillar conception of (social, economic and environmental) sustainability, commonly represented by three intersecting circles with overall sustainability at the centre, has become ubiquitous. With a view of identifying the genesis and theoretical foundations of this conception, this paper reviews and discusses relevant historical sustainability literature. From this we find that there is no single point of origin of this three-pillar conception, but rather a gradual emergence from various critiques in the early academic literature of the economic status quo from both social and ecological perspectives on the one hand, and the quest to reconcile economic growth as a solution to social and ecological problems on the part of the United Nations on the other. The popular three circles diagram appears to have been first presented by Barbier (Environ Conserv 14:101, doi: 10.1017/s0376892900011449, 1987), albeit purposed towards developing nations with foci which differ from modern interpretations. The conceptualisation of three pillars seems to predate this, however. Nowhere have we found a theoretically rigorous description of the three pillars. This is thought to be in part due to the nature of the sustainability discourse arising from broadly different schools of thought historically. The absence of such a theoretically solid conception frustrates approaches towards a theoretically rigorous operationalisation of ‘sustainability’.

1,155 citations


Cites background from "Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sus..."

  • ...They are critical of what they perceive as the term ‘sustainability’ becoming a ‘‘landfill dump for everyone’s environmental and social wishlists’’ (Goodland and Daly 1996, p1002)....

    [...]

  • ...Secondly, there are those who follow from Brown et al. in seeing three distinct, yet interrelated perspectives or schools of thought such as Lélé (1991), Munasinghe (1993), and Goodland and Daly (1996)....

    [...]

  • ...A common critique is of the ‘sufficiently vague’ (Daly 1996) definition promoted by the international mainstream, ambiguous enough to allow for consensus building, but devoid of much substance....

    [...]

  • ...The work of Goodland and Daly (Goodland 1995; Goodland and Daly 1996) seeks to distinguish the concept of ‘environmental sustainability’ from social and economic sustainability....

    [...]

  • ...…and Fallon (1989), Lélé (1991); further undertheorised calls for integration of these perspectives: Douglass (1984), Yunlong and Smit (1994); and Goodland and Daly (1996)’s argument to retain disciplinary distinctions: ‘‘social scientists are best able to define social sustainability’’ (p1002)....

    [...]

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article reviewed empirical data of whether compact cities are sustainable and concluded that conceiving the city in terms of form is neither necessary nor sufficient to achieve the goals ascribed to the compact city.
Abstract: The problems of urban sprawl have long been recognized. The classic response to sprawl has been compact settlements of one form or another. Yet the profession’s modern origins stem from responses to overcrowding. Relieving crowding by letting in more light and air led to less compact urban form. This paradox remains unresolved despite recent compact city, smart growth, healthy community, and new urbanist efforts. This article reviews empirical data of whether compact cities are sustainable. Then, after reviewing current debates on sprawl and the compact city, it outlines the intellectual origins of sustainability and analyzes whether its theory supports the compact city hypothesis: compact is more sustainable than sprawl. It concludes that conceiving the city in terms of form is neither necessary nor sufficient to achieve the goals ascribed to the compact city. Instead, conceiving the city in terms of process holds more promise in attaining the elusive goal of a sustainable city.

803 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The Circular Economy (CE) is currently a popular notion within the policy and business advocacy groups as mentioned in this paper. But despite being visionary and provocative in its message, the research on the CE concept is eme...

751 citations


Cites background from "Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sus..."

  • ...Apart from established research fields e.g. ecological economics, which has a long tradition in recycling and its related issues (Georgescu-Roegen, 1971; Daly, 1996; Ring, 1997; Boulding, 1966; Ayres, 1999), CE also provides a natural point of departure in other research streams....

    [...]

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors defend the proposal of sustainable degrowth, arguing that resource and CO2 limits render further growth of the economy unsustainable, and propose a full ensemble of environmental and redistributive policies, such as a basic income, reduction of working hours, environmental and consumption taxes and controls on advertising.

637 citations


Cites background from "Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sus..."

  • ...Second, beyond investments in natural capital (Daly, 1996), degrowth opens up the discussion of selective downscaling of manmade capital....

    [...]

  • ...The steady-state concerns only material throughput; qualitative changes and innovations in the economic, social or cultural sphere will still take place (Daly, 1996)....

    [...]

  • ...But if we are to opt for a precautionary approach, we should side with Daly (1996), who assumes a correlation of throughput and GDP, and argues for limits on the scale of the economy rather than hoping for technological, efficiency or dematerialization miracles. van den Bergh (this issue) instead…...

    [...]

  • ...Throughput refers to the materials and energy a society extracts, processes, transports and distributes, to consume and return back to the environment as waste (Daly, 1996)....

    [...]

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors examine and elaborate on the central elements of sustainable development and governance, considering their interrelations as they have emerged from the core themes in sustainable development discourses over the past decade and a half.
Abstract: In this paper we examine and elaborate on the central elements of sustainable development and governance, considering their interrelations as they have emerged from the core themes in sustainable development discourses over the past decade and a half. We argue that sustainability is best viewed as a socially instituted process of adaptive change in which innovation is a necessary element. We discuss four key elements of governance for sustainability, which are integrated into the concept of transition management. The result is a conceptual framework for policy-making and action-taking aimed at progress towards sustainability.

567 citations


Cites background from "Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sus..."

  • ...Important work has also been done in exploring the concepts of social, ecological and economic capital for sustainability, with particular interest in the existence and limits of potential substitutions (Berkes and Folke 1993; Daly, 1996; Dixon and Hamilton, 1996; Costanza et al., 1997)....

    [...]

  • ...The rather negative conclusion of the COMPSUS study is that ‘the process of intra-ministerial integration has been more formal than substantive....

    [...]

References
More filters
Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The three-pillar conception of sustainability, commonly represented by three intersecting circles with overall sustainability at the centre, has become ubiquitous as discussed by the authors, however, there is no single point of origin of this threepillar conception, but rather a gradual emergence from various critiques in the early academic literature of the economic status quo from both social and ecological perspectives on the one hand, and the quest to reconcile economic growth as a solution to social problems on the part of the United Nations on the other.
Abstract: The three-pillar conception of (social, economic and environmental) sustainability, commonly represented by three intersecting circles with overall sustainability at the centre, has become ubiquitous. With a view of identifying the genesis and theoretical foundations of this conception, this paper reviews and discusses relevant historical sustainability literature. From this we find that there is no single point of origin of this three-pillar conception, but rather a gradual emergence from various critiques in the early academic literature of the economic status quo from both social and ecological perspectives on the one hand, and the quest to reconcile economic growth as a solution to social and ecological problems on the part of the United Nations on the other. The popular three circles diagram appears to have been first presented by Barbier (Environ Conserv 14:101, doi: 10.1017/s0376892900011449, 1987), albeit purposed towards developing nations with foci which differ from modern interpretations. The conceptualisation of three pillars seems to predate this, however. Nowhere have we found a theoretically rigorous description of the three pillars. This is thought to be in part due to the nature of the sustainability discourse arising from broadly different schools of thought historically. The absence of such a theoretically solid conception frustrates approaches towards a theoretically rigorous operationalisation of ‘sustainability’.

1,155 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article reviewed empirical data of whether compact cities are sustainable and concluded that conceiving the city in terms of form is neither necessary nor sufficient to achieve the goals ascribed to the compact city.
Abstract: The problems of urban sprawl have long been recognized. The classic response to sprawl has been compact settlements of one form or another. Yet the profession’s modern origins stem from responses to overcrowding. Relieving crowding by letting in more light and air led to less compact urban form. This paradox remains unresolved despite recent compact city, smart growth, healthy community, and new urbanist efforts. This article reviews empirical data of whether compact cities are sustainable. Then, after reviewing current debates on sprawl and the compact city, it outlines the intellectual origins of sustainability and analyzes whether its theory supports the compact city hypothesis: compact is more sustainable than sprawl. It concludes that conceiving the city in terms of form is neither necessary nor sufficient to achieve the goals ascribed to the compact city. Instead, conceiving the city in terms of process holds more promise in attaining the elusive goal of a sustainable city.

803 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The Circular Economy (CE) is currently a popular notion within the policy and business advocacy groups as mentioned in this paper. But despite being visionary and provocative in its message, the research on the CE concept is eme...

751 citations

Book
11 Aug 1997
TL;DR: The need to develop a shared vision of a sustainable society Successes, Failures, and Remedies Policy Instruments: Some Background Examples of Policies, Instruments, and Institutions Governance Conclusions and Prospects for the Future References Index as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: Humanity's Current Dilemma The Global Ecosystem and the Economic Subsystem From Localized Limits to Global Limits Population and Poverty Beyond Brundtland Toward Sustainability The Fragmentation of Economics and the Natural Sciences The Historical Development of Economics and Ecology Early Codevelopment of Economics and Natural Science Economics and Ecology Specialize and Separate Reintegration of Ecology and Economics Conclusions Principles and Objectives of Ecological Economics Sustainable Scale, Fair Distribution, and Efficient Allocation Ecosystems, Biodiversity, and Ecosystem Services Substitutability versus Complementarity of Natural, Human, Social, and Built Capital Population and Carrying Capacity Measuring Welfare and Well-Being Valuation, Choice, and Uncertainty Trade and Community Institutions, Instruments, and Policies History of Environmental Institutions and Instruments The Need to Develop a Shared Vision of a Sustainable Society Successes, Failures, and Remedies Policy Instruments: Some Background Examples of Policies, Instruments, and Institutions Governance Conclusions and Prospects for the Future References Index

660 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors defend the proposal of sustainable degrowth, arguing that resource and CO2 limits render further growth of the economy unsustainable, and propose a full ensemble of environmental and redistributive policies, such as a basic income, reduction of working hours, environmental and consumption taxes and controls on advertising.

637 citations