Sustainable Development: Ten Arguments Against a Biologistic "Slow-Down" Philosophy of Social and Economic Development

Heilig GK (1997). Sustainable Development: Ten Arguments Against a Biologistic "Slow-Down" Philosophy of Social and Economic Development. IIASA Research Report (Reprint). IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: RR-97-009. Reprinted from The International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology, 4(1):1-16 [March 1997].

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Abstract

This paper is a provocative collection of arguments that came to the author's mind when reading through some of the literature on sustainable development. Similar to rather general sociological theories, these sustainability concepts - which are rooted in biological observations and theories of non-human biosphere - describe elements of a universal development philosophy. But they fail to take into account some of the most basic characteristics of how human societies and economics function and develop. For instance, they largely ignore the role of conflict, the fundamental diversity of interests and lifestyles, power imbalance in and between human societies, and the specific dynamics of pioneer development. Most importantly, they define life-support systems almost exclusively in bio-geophysical terms - ignoring the fact that human development primarily depends on the accumulated scientific and technological knowledge and on the cultural heritage of institutions and arrangements which represent successful solutions of social, economic and political problems.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Research Report (Reprint))
Research Programs: Modeling Land-Use and Land-Cover Changes (LUC)
Bibliographic Reference: Reprinted from The International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology; 4(1):1-16 [March 1997]
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:09
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2016 07:12
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/5300

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