Title: Mainstream and alternative theorising of the conditions and policies of sustainable development

Authors: George Liodakis

Addresses: Department of Sciences, Technical University of Crete, 73100 Chania, Greece

Abstract: Based on a critical consideration of mainstream theories and an alternative (Marxist) approach, this article explores some of the material, social and theoretical aspects of sustainable development. Starting from a critical scrutiny of some methodological and conceptual weaknesses or flaws of mainstream approaches, it proceeds with a brief discussion of the issues regarding externalities, the limits of growth, and the limitations of ecological reforms and efforts to create sustainability conditions under capitalism. Following a Marxist perspective, it proceeds to identify and briefly analyse some crucial aspects or preconditions for a truly sustainable development. A critical treatment of the conception concerning a growing ecological rift leads us to stress the significance of the organisational characteristics of capitalism and their implications for the nature-society dialectical metabolism. Particular emphasis is placed on the creation, within a historical perspective extending beyond capitalism, of the material and social preconditions of sustainable development.

Keywords: sustainable development; externalities; market failure; economic growth; scale of production; property regimes; metabolic rift; Marxism; capitalism; communism; sustainability.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSD.2016.077206

International Journal of Sustainable Development, 2016 Vol.19 No.2, pp.147 - 161

Accepted: 12 Oct 2014
Published online: 22 Jun 2016 *

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