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Human Capital and Sustainability

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  • Ivo Šlaus

    ()
    (South East European Division (World Academy of Art and Science), Ruder Boskovic Institute, P.O. Box 1016, Zagreb 10000, Croatia)

  • Garry Jacobs

    ()
    (The Mother’s Service Society, 5, Puduvai Sivam Street, Venkata Nagar, Pondicherry 605011, India)

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    Abstract

    A study of sustainability needs to consider the role of all forms of capital—natural, biological, social, technological, financial, cultural—and the complex ways in which they interact. All forms of capital derive their value, utility and application from human mental awareness, creativity and social innovation. This makes human capital, including social capital, the central determinant of resource productivity and sustainability. Humanity has entered the Anthropocene Epoch in which human changes have become the predominant factor in evolution. Humanity is itself evolving from animal physicality to social vitality to mental individuality. This transition has profound bearing on human productive capabilities, adaptability, creativity and values, the organization of economy, public policy, social awareness and life styles that determine sustainability. This article examines the linkages between population, economic development, employment, education, health, social equity, cultural values, energy intensity and sustainability in the context of evolving human consciousness. It concludes that development of human capital is the critical determinant of long-term sustainability and that efforts to accelerate the evolution of human consciousness and emergence of mentally self-conscious individuals will be the most effective approach for ensuring a sustainable future. Education is the primary lever. Human choice matters.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

    Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 97-154

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:3:y:2011:i:1:p:97-154:d:10847

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    Related research

    Keywords: human capital; social capital; education; employment; evolution; inequality; individuality; knowledge; population;

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    1. Gerry Mooney, 2009. "The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better," Local Economy, Taylor and Francis Journals, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 24(8), pages 705-706.
    2. Dietz, Simon & Neumayer, Eric, 2007. "Weak and strong sustainability in the SEEA: Concepts and measurement," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 61(4), pages 617-626, March.
    3. Bryan G. Norton & Michael A. Toman, 1997. "Sustainability: Ecological and Economic Perspectives," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 73(4), pages 553-568.
    4. David E. Bloom & David Canning, 2004. "The Health and Wealth of Africa," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 5(2), pages 57-81, April.
    5. Brand, Fridolin, 2009. "Critical natural capital revisited: Ecological resilience and sustainable development," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 605-612, January.
    6. Bloom, David E. & Canning, David & Sevilla, Jaypee, 2004. "The Effect of Health on Economic Growth: A Production Function Approach," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 1-13, January.
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