Answer to Question #309905 in Philosophy for Oprud

Question #309905

Critically debate (in an essay) how theories of sustainable economic development differ from classic theories of economic development. In the last three paragraphs, explain how theories of sustainable economic development have influenced the economic development of South Africa.

Expert's answer

a) In an important sense they do not differ - There are additional constraints, and additional accounting. These are important but not conceptually a change.

For example, traditional economic accounting- designed to keep track of what taxes are owed - ignores pollution, destruction of marine life, running down non-renewable stocks and other obviously important measures.

Conventional inter-temporal macro struggles with whether to tax today’s generation or future generations and whether to invest today or consume current income. Decisions depend on how much we care about future generations. The problems are the same when we consider environmental issues, but they get more complicated.

The most common definition of sustainable economic development is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This is pretty vague, but you can see it directly refers to the inter-generational problem.

We are still trying to figure out how to put that goal into practice.

b) south Africa has a number of development plans and sectorial strategies for sustainable development. The first integrated framework for sustainable development emerged after the Johannesburg summit in 2002. an independent National planning commission presented the latest development plan in 2011. Furthermore, the departments produce their own development plans and strategies. these efforts have had no major positive impacts on reducing poverty, emissions and inequality. income inequality remains among the highest in the world. 39% of the population lives below the national income poverty line. south Africa's greenhouse gas emissions constitute around 1% of global emissions. For a developing country, south Africa's annual per capita emissions are high, at 9.2 tons per capita, whereas its GDP per capita is closer to developing countries with far lower emissions per capita. the emissions- intensity of the south African economy is one of the highest in the world.

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