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Survey of Sustainable Development
Social and Economic Dimensions
The sixth volume in the series
Frontier Issues in Economic Thought

Thought Foreword by Amartya Sen
(Washington, DC: Island Press, 2001)

Table of Contents
Paperback: $30.00
To order online, contact Island Press.

This sixth and final volume represents the capstone of the Frontier Issues in Economic Thought series. It provides a road map for development in the twenty-first century, bringing together major contributions from innovative thinkers in economics and related fields. While drawing on themes from Volume 1 (ecological issues), Volumes 2 and 3 (consumption and well-being), and Volumes 4 and 5 (work and inequality), it breaks new ground in pointing the way towards a synthesis of theory and practice which offers hope for more humane and ecologically sound patterns of development.

It is widely acknowledged that the record of world economic development shows two major failings:

  • The benefits of development have been distributed unevenly, with income inequalities remaining persistent and often increasing over time.

  • There have been major negative impacts of development on the environment and on existing social structures. Environmental damage is undermining the achievements of development and could lead to the collapse of essential ecosystems.

At the same time, a new model of development has been advancing in theory and practice. Two major lines of thought have converged to offer a new vision and better policy guideposts for the future. Human development theory has emphasized the fulfillment of basic needs and, as 1998 Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen proposes, the expansion of human capabilities rather than simple GNP growth. Theorists of environmental sustainability have developed new approaches to conserving natural capital and bringing human economic needs into balance with ecosystem potential. While at times these two approaches have developed separately, there has been an increasing recognition of their common ground. Neither a world of grotesque inequality nor a world of consumption at the expense of the environment can be sustainable. But solutions exist to both problems, and they are mutually reinforcing.

This volume presents the best thinking on both theory and practice for socially and environmentally sustainable development. It summarizes 70-75 leading articles and book chapters, with integrative review essays identifying the major themes. Topical sections include the economics of environmental sustainability; social dimensions of sustainability; global perspectives and global integration; population and urbanization; natural capital; energy and material use; corporate responsibility; and local, national, and global institutions and strategies for sustainable development.

Like the previous volumes, this book will be an invaluable handbook for scholars in a variety of development-related fields. In addition, this volume will be especially appropriate for use in college and graduate courses. A special effort is being made to emphasize accessible presentation of data and case studies, making this an invaluable text for the student seeking an in-depth treatment which spans disciplinary perspectives and deals with the issues in depth. An extensive bibliography rounds out the volume, so that both scholars and students will find this to be the most comprehensive text available on sustainable development issues.

Related GDAE Working Paper by Jonathan M. Harris, "Basic Principles of Sustainable Development" Early comment on A Survey of Sustainable Development: Social and Economic Dimensions:

"The selection of articles is admirable. The ten sections contain well-chosen material, and overall they show a formidable knowledge of the literature and command of the inter-connections among the various disciplines." Salah El Serafy, former Senior Adviser, Economic Advisory Staff, The World Bank.

"The coverage of key issues in environmental economics is very comprehensive." Jonathan Fox, Associate Professor of Social Science, University of California at Santa Cruz

"I found this provocative and exciting bringing to one volume many of the different issues in the economics and politics of sustainability." John C. Hammock, Associate Professor, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy; Director, Tufts University Feinstein International Famine Center.

To order online, contact Island Press.

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