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Alternative scenarios of social development: is analytical sustainability policy analysis possible? How?


  • Jari Kaivo-oja

    (Turku School of Economics and Business Administration, Finland)


In the article some alternative scenarios of social development are presented and discussed in detail. The following scenarios are discussed: (i) the Deep Ecology Scenario, (ii) the Strong Sustainable Development Scenario, (iii) the Weak Sustainable Development Scenario, (iv) the Boomsday Scenario, (v) the Doomsday Scenario and (vi) the World Bank 'Policy Tunnel' Scenario. In the article it is noted that the environmental EKC hypothesis can be connected theoretically to the Boomsday Scenario and loosely to the World Bank 'Policy Tunnel' Scenario. On the basis of scenario analysis, it is pointed out that sustainable development is not a conflict-free concept because the criteria of sustainability (environmental sustainability, economic efficiency and social equality) cannot be simultaneously met in most of the scenarios analysed. Global strategies that are based on the general, simple concepts of sustainability can be even harmful for developing societies. A useful approach for the sustainable development policy formation is sustainability thinking that is based on the analytical positioning of the current situation. The strategic guidelines of the new positioning framework are presented in the article. On the basis of theory-based scenario analysis it is noted that the situation-based framework may help international development agencies, as well as well national and local governments, in the formation of analytical environmental policy strategies. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Jari Kaivo-oja, 1999. "Alternative scenarios of social development: is analytical sustainability policy analysis possible? How?," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(3), pages 140-150.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:sustdv:v:7:y:1999:i:3:p:140-150
    DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1719(199908)7:3<140::AID-SD109>3.0.CO;2-I

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gene M. Grossman & Alan B. Krueger, 1995. "Economic Growth and the Environment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(2), pages 353-377.
    2. Taylor, Lance, 1996. "Sustainable development: An introduction," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 215-225, February.
    3. Stern, David I. & Common, Michael S. & Barbier, Edward B., 1996. "Economic growth and environmental degradation: The environmental Kuznets curve and sustainable development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(7), pages 1151-1160, July.
    4. Munasinghe, Mohan, 1995. "Making economic growth more sustainable," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 121-124, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joachim H. Spangenberg, 2007. "Integrated scenarios for assessing biodiversity risks," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(6), pages 343-356.
    2. Marcus Sutcliffe & Paul Hooper & Ros Howell, 2008. "Can eco-footprinting analysis be used successfully to encourage more sustainable behaviour at the household level?," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(1), pages 1-16.

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