Sustainable development: passing fad or potential reality?

R. Sathiendrakumar (School of Economics and Commerce, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Publication date: 1 April 1996


Raises the question, how can sustainable development be achieved and what are the limiting constraints in achieving it? Focuses on key conceptual issues of “sustainable development” with important operational implications for its attainment but is not designed to generate a general theory of sustainability. Uses the definition put forward by Peace and Warford, which defines sustainable development as “development that secures increases in the welfare of the current generation provided that welfare in the future does not decrease”. Using this definition, considers four important sub‐objectives of sustainable development, namely: equity and social justice issues, ecological issues, economic issues (maximizing service to a given stock of resources) and environmental issues (minimizing throughput to maintain a given level of stock). Using this framework, considers the conditions necessary for sustainable development, namely: maintaining a minimum population, reducing poverty, optimal depletion of non‐renewable resources, optimal depletion of renewable but exhaustible resources, preventing environmental degradation and improving energy efficiency. Also emphasizes the need to change the current measurement of growth which fails to account for sustainability principles.



Sathiendrakumar, R. (1996), "Sustainable development: passing fad or potential reality?", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 23 No. 4/5/6, pp. 151-163.

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Copyright © 1996, MCB UP Limited

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