Has sustainable development perpetuated the capitalist mind set?

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Has sustainable development perpetuated the capitalist mind set?
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   Neoka Naidoo 187 916 87 Sustainable Development 771 Eve Annecke and Mark Swilling 31 March 2014 Has sustainable development perpetuated the capitalist mind set? Part A: 3900 Part B:3016 “I hereby confirm that this assignment is the product of my own work   and research and has been written by me and further that all sources used therein have been acknowledged”    Table of Content Part A: Has Sustainable Development perpetuated the Capitalist mind-set? 1. Introduction 3 2.1 Brief history and thinking 3 2.1.1 Industrial Revolution 4 2.1.2 Rise of Modernization 4 2.1.3 Can Growth be limited? 4 2.2 Current situation: capitalism weaving through sustainable development 5 2.2.1 Environmental 6 2.2.2 Social 8 2.2.3 Economic 10 2.3 Change in consciousness 12 Part B: The People‟s „Power‟   1. Has South African context of perpetuating the capitalist mind-set? 13 1.1 Statistics history 14 2.1 The Governance 14 2.2 The People 16 2.3 The Situation 17 3.The Mishap 17 4. And Now What!? 19 Reference list for Part A and B 21 Part C: Summaries of Readings 23  Part D: Personal Reflections (journal) 26  Part A  Has Sustainable Development perpetuated the Capitalist mind set? 1. Introduction “Growth for the sake of growth is the same ideology as the cancer cell.”  Edward Abbey This assignment will discuss how the term sustainable development has created loopholes for the „business as usual‟ model  to propagate itself. Through the lens of various approaches, some included in the current sustainable development debate and some non-conventional outlooks. From my current perspective sustainable development is no longer, a useful term as the ambiguity of this term has created a gap for the capitalist mindset to perpetuate. Very similar to sustainable development, capitalism has many meanings to various individuals and groups. For this specific review, capitalism will be defined as “an  economic system in which trade, industry and the means of production are controlled by private owners with the goal of making profits in a market economy” (Wikipedia 2014) . So in essence, capitalism is a system where the people with the most capital have the most power. This is tangled with the consumerist lifestyles we live, which tempt us to either well above our means or well above our needs. 2.1Brief history and thinking  Many authors have revealed that there is myriad of lessons that must be learnt from history. There have been several significant changes produced the resultant of our society. Human lifestyles changed drastically from the nomadic hunter gather routine to a more settled social agrarian society (Mebratu 1998). This was combination of reasons; population expansion and restrictions from only foraging (Mebratu 1998). Without mechanisation, resources were collected when they were needed and rather not when they were wanted. As societies and cultures were formed, power became an asset to acquire which in the same breathe meant using resources at their disposal. Briefly described in Mebratu (1998) there is an historical context of environmental abuse which has led to subsequent empires collapsing. The Roman Empire was dismantled due to heavy metal pollution that contributed to their collapse (Mebratu 1998). Similarly, the Babylonian Empire could have collapsed due to environmental misuse (Mebratu 1998). As Bacon was quoted in Hopwood et al. (2005) “ The world is made for man, not the man for the world”, this could  be deciphered as the world is  our tool to progress or that we are just a part of a bigger picture. The former interpretation led society into the industrial revolution (Hopwood et al. 2005, Mebratu 1998) 2.1.1 The industrial revolution As the complex social divisions began to arise from about 3000 B.C the ideals of trade, money and wealth were forged into the necessity for power. These were the driving forces that led to the industrial revolution. The 1750‟s saw population rocket to 800 million from a meagre 10 million as more permanent settlement were founded. The mid to early 1800s saw the development of capitalism as a means of progression (Hopwood et al. 2005). This was due into abundant cheap resource availability leading to industrial revolution (Mebratu 1998). Thus ingraining the need the for more without cause and bringing the consumerist lifestyle we live today into fruition (Naess & Hoyer 2009). 2.1.2 Rise of modernization Modernization can be described in many ways with the use of various examples. One example of rising modernization is this quote from Henry Ford „Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black.‟    This phrase indicates the expectation of rapid production. In the 1920‟s cars were manufactured and air-dried, hence a black would dry faster as it would attract the sun with greater intensity. This sudden burst of demand was not out of necessity but rather a statement of „keeping up with the Jones‟ „. The hankering of consumerism was institutionalised into daily life. 2.1.3 Can Growth be limited? Expressed in Naess and Hoyer (2009) the Brundtland commission published Our Common Futures and Club of Rome published  Limits to Growth  both with the similar ideals of linking economic growth with thoughtful use of the environment. These  publications gave rise to the popular use of sustainable development, which is anthropocentrically driven (Hopwood et al. 2005). In a consensus by Hopwood et al.  (2005), Mebratu (1998), that sustainable development through economic growth allows inequalities to be rectified. But as Malthus was referred to by both Mebratu (1998) and Dresner (2002) how is growth limitation attainable if the population is increasing and socio-economic issues are growing all coupled with the limits to natural resource. 2.2 Current situation: capitalism weaving through sustainable development Sustainable development is the overarching bridge that carries the widely understood triple  bottom line approach (Hopwood et al. 2005). There are many stand points articulated in the interlinked spheres of the economic, environmental and social aspects. The focus of the economic standpoint is seen in eco-modernization, technology and status quo concepts discussed by both Hopwood et al. (2005) and Blewitt (2008). Sustainable development has allowed trans-disciplinary discourse to take place, which allowed holistic solutions (Sneddon et al. 2006). However, with so many perspectives it has left room for unethical trade-offs to  be made. The environmental lens magnifies the deep ecology, the transformative concept, and the Gaia theory (Blewitt 2008; Hopwood et al. 2005) .These concepts highlight necessary change but fail to reach a consensus on implementation. The social discrepancies can be described as social ecology, traditional ecological knowledge, and poverty with a broader outlook of inequality in Blewitt (2008) and Swilling and Annecke (2012). In the current mindset, all three concepts in the TBL approach are viewed in isolation as a component of a hierarchical system rather than an inclusive living system approach (Blewitt 2008; Macy & Young-Brown 1999; Mebratu 1998). Despite the multitude of alternative futures, Rockstrom (2009) has mapped out the current dire environmental state, which is why a „poly -implementa tion‟ is needed to remedy the rapidly growing polycrisis. Besides the variations of approaches, the analytical mind-set of society seems to be a barrier that influences implementation (Harding 2006).  Naess and Hoyer (2009) peeped behind the ever-elusive veil of a development driver. This is  braided with the green agenda and alleviation of inequities with economic growth being the redeeming factor for both environmental and social injustices (Hopwood et al. 2005). Naess & Hoyer (2009) dispute this principle reviewed by Hopwood et al. (2005) as they consider the separation of economic growth and the state of the environment. They explore the economics that governs our society and our gross inter-dependency. In the word of Albert Einstein:
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