Course Meeting Times
Lectures: 1 session / week, 2 hours / session
There are no prerequisites for this course.
This course examines alternative conceptions and theoretical underpinnings of the notion of "sustainable development." It focuses on the sustainability problems of industrial countries (i.e., aging of populations, sustainable consumption, institutional adjustments, etc.); and of developing states and economies in transition (i.e., managing growth, sustainability of production patterns, pressures of population change, etc.). It also explores the sociology of knowledge around sustainability, the economic and technological dimensions and institutional imperatives along with implications for political constitution of economic performance.
17.181 fulfills the undergraduate public policy requirement in the Political Science major and minor. Graduate students are expected to explore the subject in greater depth through reading and individual research (17.182).
Choucri, Nazli, ed. Global Accord: Environmental Challenges and International Responses. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995. ISBN: 9780262531344.
Stavins, Robert N. Economics of the Environment: Selected Readings. 5th ed. New York, NY: W.W. Norton and Company, 2005. ISBN: 9780393927016.
Tainter, Joseph A. The Collapse of Complex Societies. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1988. ISBN: 9780521340922.
Web Site on Sustainable Development
Global System for Sustainable Development (This website will open in a new window.)
|Part I. Content and context
||Introduction: debates, definitions and dilemmas
||Evolving conceptions - causes and consequences
||Sustainability as a 'Knowledge Domain'
||New thinking and the knowledge economy
|Part II. Actors, processes and institutions
||Critical drivers, social mechanisms and cognitive factors
||Economic performance - production and consumption
||Firms and markets - corporate perspectives
||From sustainability 'Problems' to 'Solution' strategies
||Regulatory and policy contexts
|Part III. Strategic approaches to sustainability
||New international institutional contexts
||International trade and intellectual property rights
||Global accord - next rounds