As the idea of sustainable development has become increasingly more topical in the political arena, the question still remains as to whether our modern capitalist economies can preserve their most basic principle of maximising profits, whilst still protecting the environment. It is therefore the purpose of this essay to examine this. Can compromises be reached that enable us to protect and conserve the environment without hindering development.
Since the disbandment of the Soviet Union the dominant economic system globally has been capitalism. Private ownership of the means of production, creation of goods or services for profit in a market, and prices and wages are elements of capitalism ...view middle of the document...
Sustainable development encompasses many aspect of modern life. I will now analyse the three main dimensions and in each case give specific examples of measures or initiatives that can or in some cases have been put in place to make these dimensions more sustainable. The first and what I believe to be the most contentious within our modern capitalist society is that of sustainable economic growth. Sustainable economic development involves maximising the net benefits of economic development, subject to maintaining the services and quality of natural resources (Pearce, Markandya and Barbier, 1989). Water-related diseases are a serious hinderance to economic growth, killing more than 5 million people each year. About 2.3 billion people suffer from diseases linked to dirty water. Some 60% of all infant mortality worldwide is linked to infectious and parasitic diseases, most of them water-related (UN, 2003). The provision of clean water supply in countries affected by water borne diseases has a knock on effect on the economic prosperity of that country because it lessens the chances of people, especially children getting sick. If children stay healthy they are more likely to be able to attend school and in the future better their economic situation.
Sustainable social development is another key dimension of sustainable development. Social investment is a prerequisite to economic development; a vibrant economy requires a healthy and educated workforce. Canada ranks near the top of the world in terms of wealth as represented by natural resources. But the World Bank notes that the future success of nations depends on the extent to which they invest in human resources (World Bank 1998/99). The two major areas for social investment are health and education.
Health is attained only partly through the provision of health care services which essentially are a form of remediation. The promotion of health is equally important, particularly in the areas of
prenatal and postnatal care. And neither health care services nor health promotion can meet their respective objectives alone. They are both premised upon a healthy environment - clean air and water, a safe food supply and a adequate housing.
Education and skills development are essential to the economic health of individuals and of nations. In order to compete in a rapidly changing knowledge-based economy, both developed and developing nations must invest heavily in education, training and skills formation. Higher levels of education are associated with enhanced worker productivity and the ability to generate higher incomes (Torjman, Sherri. 2000).
A good example of a initiative developed with sustainable social development in mind is the Fatima Health Initiative. The Fatima Health Initiative is a community development health project which aims to tackle the high rates of ill-health within Fatima Mansions in inner city Dublin and improve the holistic and spirit of the community (Fatima Groups United,...