Inderscience Publishers

Post-(sustainable) development?

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This paper critically reviews the application of a post-development analysis to sustainable development by employing a defined target for post-development analysis – the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC). Data from the 2005 Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI) for 146 countries are used to generate statistically significant EKC models, and the approach is deconstructed by employing post-development theory. While an ESI derived EKC is an easy target for post-development critique, there are foundations upon which both rest, and are not easily dismissed. Neither is the typical post-development 'alternative' of encouraging 'endogenous discourse' and grassroots movements at odds with sustainable development. As a result, this paper argues that sustainable development theory already incorporates much of the critique and alternatives raised by post-developmentalists. Indeed, what is more disconcerting is that sustainable development readily encompasses such apparently divergent ideas represented by the ESI, EKC and post-developmental critique and solutions.

Keywords: post-development, sustainable development, EKC, environmental Kuznets curve, ESI, environmental sustainability index, Africa, Latin America, Europe

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