Sustainability vs economic growth: a third world perspective, Muhammad Mustunsir
Muhammad Arif Mustunsir
Department of Social Sciences
Iqra University, Islamabad
Purpose: The rising dominance of sustainable development (SD) and green growth (GG) in contemporary societies have become one of the foremost sources of contentions that most states face today in the developing world. It is often suggested that institutionalizing key policies of the SD and GG present a win-win situation. The purpose of this paper is to scrutinize and evaluate such a debate in the light of existing empirical evidence on SD, GG and economic development (ED). It seeks to answer the question “does the sustainability discourse fit in the modern socioeconomic needs of the developing nations or not.”
Design/methodology/approach: This paper adopts a qualitative research technique. It mainly relies on secondary sources of data. In aligning with key technical approach of qualitative research; the secondary sourced data were also subject to content and thematic analyses from which facts, and assumptions were derived to undertake the present study.
Findings: The main verdict of the paper is that SD and GG discourses do not fit in the crucial socioeconomic needs of the underdeveloped nations. Endorsing SD and GG policies in emerging countries is essentially about restraining their economic prosperity. In fact, it is an anti-growth agenda in its essence. What makes it anti-growth is the core element of minimal use of critical natural capital to grow economically, which lies at the heart of entire SD and GG. What makes it hard for the emerging nations to comply with core elements of the sustainability is their capacity to comply with alternative growth pathways. Thus, limiting the growth process by promoting the agendas of SD is fundamentally about keeping deprived state/people poor.
Research limitations/implications: The work is exclusively limited to the author’s understanding of issues and key concerns of developing world concerning institutionalization of the SD and GG. The author’s comprehension may not fully reflect the foremost concerns of the emerging nations. Moreover, Just a single research approach was employed in this study. A further empirical investigation is required in this field for acknowledging and documenting all the key motives and perspectives of third-world states when endorsing SD and GG policies.
Originality/value: The paper sheds light on the political aspects of promoting the SD, and the long-lasting fact that the key concerns of sustainability pose challenges to the very existence poor states in the south. Most of them are highly exposed to socioeconomic shocks. They cannot afford to implement the policies of SD and GG as the majority of their citizens are living under poverty line. The only panacea they have to overcome the existing social deprivation is the massive ED. Furthermore, institutionalizing SD and GG may cause societal clashes in the poor states.
Keywords: Sustainable development; Developing countries; Anti-growth; Green growth; Politics of sustainability; Socioeconomic development.
Citation: Mustunsir, M.A. (2015), "Sustainability vs economic growth: a third world perspective", World Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 11 No. 4, pp. 312-324. https://doi.org/10.1108/WJEMSD-04-2015-0018