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How economic behavior can hamper sustainable development

Jan Emblemsvåg (Vard Group AS, Alesund, Norway)

World Journal of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development

ISSN: 2042-5945

Article publication date: 4 October 2013




The purpose of this paper is to highlight a fundamental issue that is preventing mankind to act rationally toward more environmentally benign technology. Moreover, the paper aims to provide a basis for further research into what might be labeled as behavioral environmental management whose purpose is to focus on what can be achieved by changing systems to induce the right behavior in people.


Using literature review and building up the case logically is the main avenue of research. There are still no case studies available.


The main findings are that there are indeed significant behavioral problems induced by herding and short-termism currently embedded in the economic system. Unfortunately, there are no easy ways to solve this problem. Ways need to be found for impacting the behavior of people.

Research limitations/implications

While the review on herding and short-termism is based on significant publications, there is always the risk of passing the wrong judgments concerning such complex issues that are so ingrained in the economic system. This said, given that the purpose of this paper is not so much to provide answers as it is to provide questions, and in that context it is safe to assume that any research limitation will have little impact so far.


The originality of the paper, and hence its value, is that it focusses on something that is very prevalent in today's economic system which unfortunately is largely forgotten when the paper discusses environmental management. It is as if environmental issues are intentionally separated from economic issues, which this paper ultimately proves to be an erroneous proposition. Environmental and economic issues are probably much more interlinked than most believe.



The views presented in this paper are those solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of STX OSV AS or any of its companies.


Emblemsvåg, J. (2013), "How economic behavior can hamper sustainable development", World Journal of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development, Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 252-259.



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Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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