Democracy  &  Nature, Vol. 5No. 3


The paradox of ecological economics and sustainable development

Serge Latouche

Abstract: The earth summit that took place in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992 underlined the growing importance of the concept of sustainable development. But the contradictory relations between development and environment are tied to the problematic relations between economy and ecology. The rush of the globalized economy into a boundless accumulation and competition contributes to eliminate all care of the oikos and of any kind of environmental or cultural aspect that attempts to escape from “merchandization” and the logic of profit. In fact, the concept of sustainable development is but the latest attempt to allay the “bad” sides of economic growth. The integration of environmental elements into economic calculating does not modify the nature of market economy nor the logic of the modernity. The pressure to get round the ecological imperative is permanent. Only thanks to an everyday “counter-pressure” by public opinion one may hope to see it observed.