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Mainstream and alternative theorising of the conditions and policies of sustainable development

George Liodakis

International Journal of Sustainable Development, 2016, vol. 19, issue 2, 147-161

Abstract: Based on a critical consideration of mainstream theories and an alternative (Marxist) approach, this article explores some of the material, social and theoretical aspects of sustainable development. Starting from a critical scrutiny of some methodological and conceptual weaknesses or flaws of mainstream approaches, it proceeds with a brief discussion of the issues regarding externalities, the limits of growth, and the limitations of ecological reforms and efforts to create sustainability conditions under capitalism. Following a Marxist perspective, it proceeds to identify and briefly analyse some crucial aspects or preconditions for a truly sustainable development. A critical treatment of the conception concerning a growing ecological rift leads us to stress the significance of the organisational characteristics of capitalism and their implications for the nature-society dialectical metabolism. Particular emphasis is placed on the creation, within a historical perspective extending beyond capitalism, of the material and social preconditions of sustainable development.

Keywords: sustainable development; externalities; market failure; economic growth; scale of production; property regimes; metabolic rift; Marxism; capitalism; communism; sustainability. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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