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Sustainable development, oil and the future: the trilogy

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Public and private actors of the development model.
    1. The State: Unique effective party in market externalities, thus responsible for sustainable development.
    2. Limited liability of the State: The role of non-governmental organisms in the promotion of sustainable development.
    3. Can company's value creation priority fit into a sustainable development model?
  3. Sustainable development: some economic approaches.
    1. Sustainable growth: Liberal and neo-liberal approaches.
    2. Pointing the finger at 'uneconomic growth'.
    3. Hydrocarbons sustainable exploitation and the integration of technological innovation in the sustainable development.
  4. Viability of sustainable development policies.
    1. Endogenous viability conditions of a sustainable development policy.
    2. Exogenous viability conditions of a sustainable development policy.
    3. What are the next steps towards more widespread adoption of sustainable development methods?
  5. Conclusion.
  6. References.

Sustainable development has been extensively discussed in the past few years, and is still a great matter of concern nowadays. In fact, there is no single way to deal with this subject, except choosing a guideline of this workshop avoiding ?clichés?. Its main objective is therefore to study the viability and the feasibility of sustainable development as a growth economic model. We may begin with a note about definitions. In this workshop, the term ?sustainable? means that the practice, process, system or product so described allows people to meet their current needs without compromising future stocks of environmental capital, such as productive topsoil, clean air, fertile forests, abundant fish stocks or genetic diversity of both plants and animals. A veteran field biologist called sustainability 'taking care of capital and living off the interest'; but even within this interpretation the term can be defined widely or narrowly depending upon one's objectives and perspective. Against a background of an increasing depletion of oil, during the last quarter of this century, there has been an growing global concern for rethinking development, reexamining the traditional mode of development based on the logic of industrialism, reviving public interest in the uncertain future of the natural environment and nonrenewable resources, and reinforcing the focus on the question of sustainability. Due to increasing environmental challenges to widespread industrialization, there has been a considerable shift in developmental thinking toward a mode of development termed "sustainable" or enduring.

[...] A case study has shown that the young generation of business entrepreneurs feels more and more concerned by sustainable development issues. The entrepreneurial vision for the most part of the cases was to create something innovative that was inexistent. The concept of sustainability in their eyes offers a more demanding set of objectives as compared to simply ?build a business that makes profits' Sustainable development: some economic approaches 1. Sustainable growth: liberal and neo-liberal approaches In general, neo-liberalism is an ideological position based on strong beliefs in the promotion of the general good by following the principles of free market and open competition, limited state intervention, individualistic self-interest, rational utility maximization, and comparative advantage in free trade (King, 1987; Toye, 1991). [...]


[...] To incorporate depletion costs in the decisions of producers and consumers in order to reverse the tendency to treat exhaustive resources as a ?free and to pass these costs on to other parts of society, other countries or to future generations To move more fully towards the integration of social and environmental costs into economic activities, so that prices of oil for instance will appropriately reflect the relative scarcity, the total value and the cost of depletion of this resource and thus contribute towards the prevention from its exhaustion To include, wherever appropriate, the use of market principles in the framing of economic instruments and policies to pursue sustainable development. [...]


[...] After presenting various relevant issues-including the origin and meaning of sustainable development, major problems related to sustainability, and basic features of economic approaches and critics to sustainable development, this workshop has critically examined how economic development principles and policies (i.e. market competition, privatization, deregulation, liberalization, foreign investment, export-led production, growth-led development) have limited the realization of sustainable development. Based on this analysis and critique, the last section of the workshop attempts to offer some suggestions for new directions with a view to overcoming these contemporary challenges to sustainability and realizing a more genuine form of sustainable development. [...]

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