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Global sustainability and service-learning: paradigms for the future

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Purpose ‐ Starting with the premise that the industrial age has ended, the paper seeks to examine how the underlying principles of sustainability will guide the creation of new economic and educational paradigms. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper utilizes classical economics, the principles of sustainability, and social capital as its theoretical framework. Findings ‐ Based on the neoclassical economic concept of free-market capitalism, it does not make economic sense to invest in economic, environmental, or social renewal. However, social and environmental indicators demonstrate that a neoclassical capitalist model simply is not sustainable. There is a need for a new paradigm for a sustainable future that is based on biological, living systems as opposed to mechanistic systems. The new paradigm will also rely on the principles of classical economics, civic and social responsibility for its foundation. Service-learning, as an educational model that is intimately integrated with society, is poised to respond to the global transformations that are taking place. It is a responsive and responsible pedagogy that promotes the core values that will be essential for success in the future. Originality/value ‐ This paper provides guidance on how the principles of sustainability will affect future economic development and will inform education in the field of service-learning.

Keywords: Economic sustainability; Globalization

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-03-13

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