Analyse & Kritik
Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory
Ed. by Baurmann, Michael / Leist, Anton / Tranow, Ulf
Perhaps the most problematic dimension of the ‘triple bottom line’ understanding of sustainable development has been the ‘economic’ dimension. Much of the thinking about the appropriate ‘political economy’ to underpin or frame sustainable development has been either utopian (as in some ‘green’ political views) or an attempt to make peace with ‘business as usual’ approaches. This article suggests that ‘ecological modernisation’ is the dominant conceptualisation of ‘sustainable development’ within the UK, and illustrates this by looking at some key ‘sustainable development’ policy documents from the UK Government. We take the view that the discourse of ‘ecological modernisation’ has provided discursive terrain for both pragmatic policy makers and a range of views on sustainable development, from weak to strong. In particular, the article suggests that the discourse of ‘economic security’ and ‘sufficiency’ can be used as a way of articulating a radical, robust and principled understanding of sustainable development, which offers a normatively compelling and policy-relevant path to outlining a ‘green political economy’ to underpin sustainable development.
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