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Sustainable Development: Needs, Values, Rights

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'Sustainable development' is analysed as a product of the Modernist tradition, in which social criticism and understanding are legitimized against a background of evolutionary theory, scientific specialization, and rapid economic growth. Within this tradition, sustainable development emphasizes the need to live within ecological limits, but allows the retention of an essentially optimistic idea of progress. However, the inherent contradictions in the concept of sustainable development may lead to rejection of the Modernist view in favour of a new vision of the world in which the authority of science and technology is questioned and more emphasis is placed on cultural diversity.

Keywords: development; environment; modernism; needs; post-modernism; sustainability; values

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 1993

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  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has an impact factor (2015) of 1.311.
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