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This chapter studies the rise of global environmental concern, identifying major events and debates as they unfolded. Much human economic activity can be described as primary commodity production or manufacturing. Each of these has a potentially negative impact on the environment. The chapter then looks at the 'environmentalism of the poor', which tends to be based on material survival needs rather than post-material values. It also summarizes two discourses on the causes of sustainability and unsustainability. The Global Environmental Management discourse looks for top-down interventions to come from states or market actors, viewing local populations as the cause of much environmental damage. The People-Centred discourse reverses the analysis, arguing that local populations are often able to achieve long-term sustainability in their communities until outside actors like states and market actors disrupt those relations.

Chapter

William Abel, Elizabeth Kahn, Tom Parr, and Andrew Walton

This chapter defends basic income. This policy requires the state to make regular cash payments to each member of society, irrespective of their other income or wealth, or willingness to find employment. It starts by describing three effects of basic income. The first is that it will raise the incomes of the least advantaged. The second is that it will protect against the threats of exploitation and abuse. The third is that it will remove one obstacle to finding employment. The chapter then explains the significance of these effects by drawing on ideas about distributive justice, emphasizing the relevance of John Rawls’s justice as fairness and Elizabeth Anderson’s democratic equality. It also considers the claim that basic income should be rejected because it would require the state to interfere with the lives of those who would be taxed to fund it, arguing that it is a mistake to oppose taxation in such a wholesale way. The chapter concludes with a reflection on the economic sustainability of basic income.

Chapter

Devon E. A. Curtis and Paul Taylor

This chapter examines the development of the United Nations and the changes and challenges that it has faced since it was founded in 1945. It opens with three framing questions: Does the UN succeed in reconciling traditions of great power politics and traditions of universalism? Why has the UN become more involved in matters within states and what are the limits to this involvement? What are the UN's biggest successes and challenges in its efforts to prevent and resolve conflict and to promote sustainable development? The chapter proceeds by providing a brief history of the UN and its principal organs. It also considers the UN's role in the maintenance of international peace and security, and how the UN addresses issues relating to economic and social development. Two case studies are presented: the first is about UN peacekeeping in the Congo and the second is about the 2003 intervention in Iraq.

Chapter

This chapter assesses the global political economy of the environment. The growth of the world economy is transforming the Earth's environment. Nothing is particularly controversial about this statement. Yet, sharp disagreements arise over the nature of this transformation. Is the globalization of capitalism a force of progress and environmental solutions? Or is it a cause of the current global environmental crisis? The chapter addresses these questions by examining the debates around some of the most contentious issues at the core of economic globalization and the environment: economic growth, production, and consumption; trade; and transnational investment. It begins with a glance at the general arguments about how the global political economy affects the global environment. The chapter then traces the history of global environmentalism — in particular, the emergence of international environmental institutions with the norm of sustainable development. It also evaluates the effectiveness of North–South environmental financing and international environmental regimes.