Sustainable development

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See also: Sustainability

Sustainable development is an attempt to reconcile economic growth with sustainability.


  • The guiding principle must be that of sufficiency and not waste. At present the world's economic system is governed by waste. The profligacy of that waste has created our various pollution problems and constitutes a danger to the planet's well-being. This is only half-realized. A sustainable economy is one that supplies the needs of all within the possibilities of the planet's health... no two Third World countries are alike in their needs, their potential or in their state of development. A variety of methods will be tried. Some will look more to the Western ideal, some more to the Eastern communistic way of thinking. More and more, however, the nations of the world under the impulse of the sharing of resources, and aiming for sustainable sufficiency, will gravitate towards a democratic socialism, or, as some call it, social democracy.
    • Benjamin Creme quoted in The poison of market forces by Patricia Pitchon, Share International magazine (July 1990)

  • We also have to create a sustainable economy, one which uses only resources which are renewable and correctly husbanded for future generations. The present economy enjoyed by the developed world is completely non-sustainable. If we continue as we are doing now, there will be no forests; pollution of the rivers, the seas, the air, the land will be so tremendous that disease will decimate humanity.
  • When I use the term sustainable development – which I consider to be an oxymoron actually – I am trying to capture the meaning that most people seem to have. In so far as I can tell, people who use the term mean, essentially, that this would be a phase of development where they get to keep what they have but all the poor people can catch up. Or, they get to keep doing what they’ve been doing, but through the magic of technology they are going to cause less damage to the environment and use fewer resources. Either way you use the term, it is just a fantasy. Neither of those is possible – anymore.

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