Sustainability vs. Economic Development
Assume you work for the new office of Sustainable Development at the World Bank. The Bank has been criticized in the past for failing to pay sufficient attention to environmental considerations in its grant-making and investment decisions in the developing world. The governing board of the bank has made it clear that the Bank still remains committed to the goal of economic development. Some external critics argue that environmental protection and economic development are incompatible and either one objective or the other must be compromised. There are other critics, however, who don’t buy that. Herman Daly has spelled out an important distinction between economic growth and economic development, arguing that sustainable development and economic development are not incompatible.
The new office needs to justify, in philosophical terms, its commitment to both sustainability and economic development. Prepare a brief presentation explaining what the office means by sustainable development as it relates to global investment in a wide range of projects in the poorest of the poor countries. Discuss the distinction between economic growth and economic development. Lay out in broad philosophical brushstrokes the reasons that the World Bank ought to put a premium on investments that promote sustainable development. Indicate the reasons that economic growth is less important than economic development and explain why the Bank ought to take environmental protection seriously.