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The intersection zone is labeled "public health " and represents the health of the inhabitants of the human ecosystem Forget and Lebel, The human ecosystem is an ensemble of air, soil, water, and living organisms including biota, animals, and humans that interact with each other in an interdependent mode.

The concept of healthy human ecosystem highlights clearly the association that humans make on issues of health, i. The healthy ecosystem has become part of the language of science, policy makers, and the public when discussing issues of environmental degradation. But more than that, the healthy ecosystem has come to represent a global approach to resource management and thus development that can be understood by reference to a very intimate human experience: An ecosystem is healthy as long as it is sustainable; in other words, as long as it remains active and can maintain its organization and autonomy over time, and rebound from stress Constanza, The IDRC proposes the ecosystem approach to development as a systems approach to public health.

It sets out the high priority areas for an integrated management of ecosystem resources: This focus allows for three simultaneous actions: In this way, human needs are placed front and center among development concerns Forget and Lebel, It points out that the research study group must be transdisciplinary and that participatory methods should be used to examine the different roles and strategies used by social groups to manage their ecosystem Forget and Lebel, The IRDC and its partners in developing countries are committed to the ecosystem approach and have published examples of its application.

They recommend its adoption by all those who seek to promote sustainable and equitable development that will ensure, as suggested by the Brundtland Commission, a rich and healthy environment for generations to come Forget and Lebel, Characteristics of resource management in neoliberal and sustainable human ecosystem development models. A more detailed comparison of the two models appears in table 1.

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Sustainable development: An overview of economic proposals

The characteristics of the models are separated in the three factors of development described as the "three bottom lines" above. The classical neoliberal model of development has been the default method of economic and social growth in developing countries, especially development sponsored by the World Bank in Latin America. Social and environmental factors are subordinated to economic factors, meaning that the relentless search for substantial short-term profit might justify ignoring social or environmental consequences of the development enterprise, or simply made, they are secondary considerations Figure 1.

The model tries to attain maximum profits by ignoring real costs Daly, Applications of science and technology for development are concentrated on issues related to the production process with little allotment for social or environmental considerations. Continuous growth is taunted as the solver of all economic, social, and environmental problems Daly, On the other hand, in the sustainable human ecosystem model of development economics is not the primary factor of development, but is considered concurrently with social and environmental factors.

Market forces are modulated to conceive long term planning, for at least one generation. Local investments are protected to permit its survival in fair competition with foreign investment Daly, Growth is subordinated to social and environmental concerns. The impact of economics on public health is also considered. The model requires and promotes a weak public sector where business, social, and environmental regulations are restricted. Enterprises are managed from the top down in authoritarian non-participatory systems. Human rights are not a priority and are not universally applied.

For example, unionization is discouraged. The sustainable model maintains a balance between the public and private sectors with a fair regulatory system that allows for strong and effective enforcement of laws.

Full text issues

Universal human rights are also a priority. In this model, application of science and technology are brought to resolve social and environmental problems with the same intensity applied in the neoliberal model to productivity issues. Public health is also a central concern and an important social value.

The neoliberal model advocates for the limitless use of natural resources with emphasis in the use of non-renewable energy sources. The sustainable human ecosystem model limits the use of resources emphasizing regenerated and renewable sources. The approach to pollution in the neoliberal model is towards "control," where risks from different sources air, water, soil, worksites are transferred from one medium to another, sometimes from workers to the community and vice-versa Moure-Eraso, The methods are described as end-of-pipe methods filtering, dilution, disposal.

Firms also comply with the minimal requirements of regulations and shop from venue to venue to find the least stringent enforcement. The approach of the sustainable model relies in pollution prevention source reduction with credible efforts to avoid risk shifting between media. It searches for alternatives to toxic use with the ultimate aim of cleaner production.

All the efforts for improvements on the work and community environments have as the ultimate aim the improvement of human health public health , which is the unifying theme on the three bottom lines of development: At the Davos, Switzerland, meeting of the World Economic Forum, a gathering of big business and multinational corporations, The United Nations offered the world businessmen an irresistible offer. Koffi Annan, the UN Secretary General, proposed that the UN would support an international trade and investment regime "free" of any social and environmental obligatory clauses.

In return, he called the multinational corporations to "uphold human rights and labour and environmental standards" Annan, The UN was basically proposing the privatization of human rights, environmental and occupational standards at a global scale, making them a private, voluntary endeavor. The global corporations have since obliged. These vague requirements are easily handled by the public relations offices of global corporations. Those same public relations offices have since mastered the language of sustainability. Needs for implementation of a new development model in industrialized and semi-industrialized countries.

In order to operationalize the application of the sustainable human ecology development model, three conditions need to be satisfied: That is one of the reasons why non-industrial and semi-industrial nations vying for a new model of development are having a difficult time choosing and implementing alternatives. Another reason is that industrialized nations maintain an incessant pressure to continue the neoliberal model, because it permits them an unlimited capital investment policy and the unloading of their subsidized surplus products into poorer nations. All in the guise of "free" markets.

So the institutional engineering required for the conquest and management of state power have to be in place to control the development process Boggs, This is occurring with more frequency in Latin American countries, such as Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, and Ecuador, where newly elected governments are convinced of the destructive effects of neoliberalism in their economies. However, the holding of state power is only a necessary but not a sufficient condition for success. In addition to holding state power, it is necessary to obtain "social power.

Gramsci believed that a generation of "organic intellectuals" is needed to oppose the multifaceted consensus underlying the institutions that define "free" market economy and globalization as the only economic and social alternatives Boggs, The process of building an alternative social and political theory and its application to a new order is what is defined as the acquisition of "social power. They would provide the principles and values to gain the necessary "social power.

However, the gaining of power, state and social, is not sufficient to effect change. The "organic intellectuals" have to develop and apply successfully a concrete roadmap for actions necessary for the transformation. Poor and rich countries consider it an imperative. The United Nations has understood this human desire and has been able to articulate through documents and declarations this universal desire Brundtland, , UNEP, That is the political basis of the sustainable development theory and could be the key for movements to change society.

In fact, environmental organizations, unions, other NGOs, and its allies are indeed global political movements. The avenue for "social power" seems to be marked by the implementation of the sustainable human ecosystem model of development. What is needed is a clear definition of technologies that permit the implementation of such a model. The IDRC has prepared a detailed blueprint for development projects, following the sustainability human ecosystem model and tested his implementation on real life development projects in developing nations. Also, the United Nations UN , the European community and some US firms follow the human centered model of sustainable industrial production that needs to be applied in industrially developed and developing countries.

In accordance with the tradition started by Harold Hotelling , nature is considered to be a particular form of capital. According to Robert Solow The second refers to the definition of a particular investment regime: Hartwick stipulates that rents generated from the exploitation of non-renewable natural resources must be reinvested in technical capital, via a taxation system or specific investment fund. Thus the need to bring into the sphere of the market what was at first outside it, by giving a value to natural resources and pollutants.

Other neoclassical analyses complete this model. In the early s, in his trenchant critique of the Meadows report , Wilfred Beckerman He referred specifically to the reduction in SO 2 pollution in many American states, which occurred even though the country was undergoing continued growth. Twenty years later, the proposition is generalized, and now, the message is addressed to developing countries: These authors sought to establish a general correlation between economic growth and contemporary environmental changes by establishing a connection between per capita income calculated by taking the GDP of the total population of the countries and the measures concerning a variety of air and water pollutants.

The explanation provided by the authors is that there are initially few pollutant emissions because of low production activity. Poor control of the early stages of industrialization then lead to excess pollution. However the financial resources generated by increased wealth, the growing impact of services dematerialization thesis and changing individual preferences increasingly oriented towards a better quality of life as their individual incomes increase contribute to the reduction of pollutant emissions.

Therefore, not only would an increase in income brought on by growth allow—through a trickle-down effect, as it is generally known—inequalities to become less obvious, but it would also contribute to the modification of individual aspirations, which are more likely to put pressure on governments to implement environmental policies.

Underscoring their work is the vision developed by Walt Rostow , which claims that at a certain point, economic development plays a part in the history of human societies 7. Of note on this subject is that Rostow did not limit his thoughts on the subject to the s. In a book published at the end of the s, Rostow indicated that he was well aware of the impact the depletion of natural resources and environmental problems was having on the supply capacity of modern economies.

Economic Globalization

For example, the results are different for the release of CO 2 or the generation of household waste, the quantities produced increasing with per capita income. Moreover, although a relationship might exist, it may not be systematic. It is because there are public policies that encouraging results have been achieved in the fight against pollution. It must also be remembered that these reductions in pollution have been offset by increases in other areas or that the most polluting industries have been transferred to other latitudes.


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It is also the willingness to factor in the specificity of environmental phenomena, which cannot be reduced to market logic that controls this research perspective, which—other than the different terms chosen to designate some of its trends bioeconomics, ecological economics, etc. As will be discussed in this paper, this general idea can, however, cater to very different political objectives, depending on the intended role and position given public or private players. The concept of sustainable development has, as one of its sources, the forestry industry models, which were developed at the beginning of the 18th century, and management of the fisheries industry, both having experienced rapid development since the s.

The problem is that economic rationality, which aims for maximum profit, may be contrary to environmental logic and may lead to the depletion of resources. This point was made long ago by Augustin Cournot with regard to forest management 12 or, more recently, by Colin Clark regarding the fisheries economy, advocating government intervention and specific management regulations.

The first difficulty is to identify and assess all the major heterogeneous elements. It will then be necessary to specify the institutions that will allow economic actors to make the best decisions according to the different constraints. From this point of view, that is, beyond the difficulties experienced in its implementation, the example of the international policy of struggle against the greenhouse effect should perhaps be pondered. The Kyoto Protocol decreed a new environmental standard by establishing maximum limits to the CO 2 emissions released worldwide.

Furthermore, different ethical options are being considered in terms of the distribution of permits to pollute. Discussions concerning the implementation of an emissions permit trading method are making good progress.


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Although this may prove to be a challenge, defining a set of socio-environmental standards that would control a group of economic activities is not impossible. The novelty of this discourse does not reside so much in the content of its message—many of the principles explained have been known for a long time 13 —as it does in those who deliver it. Robert Frosch and Nicholas Gallopoulos , authors of the reference article on industrial ecology, belong to the world of industry and, more precisely, to the world of engineering.

There is nothing coincidental about this; the concept of industrial ecology also emerged in the context of the deliberations within international environmental organizations 14 , which have played an important role in the introduction and diffusion of the concept of sustainable development.

Industrial ecology is concerned with giving the concept of sustainable development Bourg, Erkman, an operational content. This biophysical information should also be related to the information generally used in economic decision-making, such as prices and profits earned. Industrial ecology therefore holds a place in the liberal tradition of internalization of externalities, which refers to the work of Ronald Coase , and favours market spontaneity over government authority, which is judged to be coercive by nature. While some wish to retain the development objective, others call for its rejection and for the establishment of other prospects of social progress.

We are therefore urged to reflect on the dominant economic values of our affluent societies. Growth, as such, is not rejected by the author, but it must serve social progress and the reasonable management of resources and natural environments. The need for development is reaffirmed, but this objective must take on a plurality of trajectories and a variety of mixed economic models. Arising shortly after World War II, this reformed capitalism was founded on three principles: Indeed, many countries from the South grow poorer by exporting resources at low prices to Northern countries, without taking into account the social and environmental costs incurred by this type of production.

Services on Demand

Emmanuel and S. Martinez-Alier emphasizes the distributive conflicts linked to environmental problems. He places poverty, once again, at the heart of sustainability issues—a theme which made a remarkable comeback during the Johannesburg Summit —although in rather different circumstances.

Under these circumstances, regretfully notes Joan Martinez-Alier , it is not surprising that the poor often sell at low prices. It is therefore necessary for social movements to put pressure on environmental negotiations if we do not want them to lead to new exclusions and social inequalities. Instead, they are considering reinventing a new model for social change. The material and energy limits imposed by the law of thermodynamics led N. It is based on the notion that it is advisable to act on the demand of goods and services rather than on the supply, while remaining conscious of the need for poor populations to see their material conditions improve.

To do away with the simple existential compensation provided by the consumption of a great number of goods and services, it is important to distribute productivity gains differently and to reduce work time Harribey, The brief overview covered in this text, which evidently deserved to be completed and refined, presented an extensive range of set social proposals and objectives and falls within the framework of a long history of controversies surrounding the dynamics of capitalism Vivien,