• The Need to Define Sustainable Development ("SD")


  1. ​    There are Two Different  Competing SD Paradigms:  



                   --      Negative (Postmodern) vs.  Positive (Modern)









       2.     A Negative (Postmodern) Paradigm of SD:

            a.     Critical of: Free Markets, Private Property Rights, Economic Growth, Risk-Based

                     Science and Cost-Benefit Analysis, & Corporations' Behavior & "Role in Society" 

​            b.     An Expression of 'Soft' Intellectual  Liberal Socialism Opposed to Classical

            c.     Will Redefine Society, Deconstruct National Governments, Transform Economies
                    & Enable UN Global Governance

                    i.      As Reflected in the Recent UN 'High Level Eminent Persons' Report on the
                           Post-2015 SD Agenda, Reviewed Below:  

                           A.     Introduction

                           B.     What's New

                                  C.    ​  Ideological and Anthropological Challenges  

                          D.      Political Challenges

           d.    Rejects Enlightenment Era: Reason, Science, Laissez-Faire Economics, Democracy

                   & Exclusive Private Property Rights)

 ​                  i.       Extends to Postmodern International Law

                   ​ii.      Obsesses Over Scientific Uncertainty and Demands Precautionary Principle-
                             Based Action

                   iii.     Distrusts Science & Globalized Capitalism, Incites Fears, Requires Precaution

                   iv.     Employs a Precautionary 'Weight-of-Evidence' Approach , Rather than a
                             'Strength-of-Evidence Approach, for Evaluating Data Where There is
                             Scientific Uncertainty Regarding Potential Harms 

            e.    Calls for Subordination of National Constitutional Law to Universal, Supranational
                    Constitutional Norms

                f.   ​  Has Potential Marxist  Underpinnings/Aspirations For Radical  Transformation

                    of Neo-Classical Economics, Social Relations, Societal Institutions and Law

     3.       A Positive (Modern) Paradigm of SD:

              ​a.    Promotes Individual Rights-BasedConstitutional and Free Market-Preserving

            b.    Promotes Protection of Individual Liberties & Exclusive Private Property Rights
            c.    Promotes International Trade & Investment via Exercise of Exclusive Private
                    Property Rights

            d.    Promotes Nation-Building via Exercise of Individual Liberties & Exclusive Private

                    Property Rights

            e.    Promotes Free Market Individualism & Economic Freedom

            f.     Ensures Rule of Law & Limited Government

               g.     Fosters Science & Technology Innovation that Increases Longevity, Quality of Life    
                  i.      By Protecting Private Intellectual Property Rights (especially patents)

                   ii.     By Creating Incentives for Organizations to Develop Innovation Ecosystems

                        iii.     By Promoting Greater R&D Intensity, Manufacturing, Productivity, Education
                            & Patenting  

                        iv.     By Creating Incentives for Organizations to Engage in Technology Transfer  
                        v.     By Encouraging Entrepreneurial Risk-Taking, Thinking & Access to Capital

                        vi.     By Ensuring Developing Countries Adopt Policies That Attract Foreign Direct
                           Investment, Develop Human Capital and Facilitate Tech Transfer  

​Issues - The Need to Define Sustainable Development ("SD")

"Providing an informed, reasoned and dispassionate

voice to the global public debate..."

--        'Strong'vs.'Weak'
​"The Introduction of the concept of sustainable development in the scientific discourse on environmental issues wasn't just a question of a change in vocabulary.  The shift from 'environmental protection' to 'sustainable development' is an expression of a new attitude towards the relations between science, economy and ethics in the postmodern society.  Today there is a strong feeling of urgency on environmental issues...Scientific research is no longer considered as a neutral description of the interplay between man and nature, but as part of an urgent need to accomplish certain goals.  Research is therefore valued primarily by its capability to serve political decision-making or technological innovations...There are some postmodern traits in this new 'paradigm'.  One of these traits is the pragmatism which follows from the postmodern epistemological skepticism: since we can't know anything for sure, the most important question is not if a certain theory or scientific explanation is true, but whether it works." (Hellore & Vikstrom, p. 23)
​"Specifically, Postmodernism attacks the very core of the modern project, questioning the existence of any truth and the ability of human reason to find it.  As a radical alternative, Postmodernism holds that knowledge and belief are products of environment, and that we should speak of contingent 'narratives' rather than absolute truths...Thus, a postmodern comparison of narratives replaces the modern search for truth.  On the applied and political side, two principal consequences follow from this radical relativism.  First, Postmodernism rejects any claim of absolute truth as an attempt to impose one worldview over others...There follows a suspicion of certainty and philosophical foundations, and the replacement of absolute 'meaning' with relative interpretation...Second,  Postmodernism challenges the main tenets of modern political economy. Thus, the modern nation-state becomes an instrument of centralized repression of minority voices; the supreme authority of reason ends up being but the 'voice' of those in power attempting to impose their personal views as 'the master voice' over all other narratives; natural rights are not universal values, but a Western concept, imposed on the rest of the world by 'cultural imperialism' or even force; free markets are seen as the freezing of one particular arrangement that benefits those who have power to expand their wealth..." (Wenzel, p. 38)
"The phrase 'sustainable development' links the metanarrative of 'environmentalism' and 'economic development' in ongoing dynamic tension...'Sustainable development' is an intentional oxymoron, a paradox.  It is a self-contained deconstruction in which one term endlessly undoes the other...'Sustainable development' incorporates the metaphor of 'trace' by making opposite concepts explicit and inseparable.  Thus, it becomes impossible to conceptualize either 'development' or 'sustainability' without considering the other. 'Sustainable development' is already postmodern." (Stark, pp. 151-154).
​"Postmodernism rejects the reason and individualism that the entire Enlightenment world depends upon.  And so it ends up attacking all of the consequences of the Enlightenment philosophy, from capitalism and liberal forms of government to science and technology...Postmodern's essentials are the opposite of modernism's." (Hicks, p. 14)