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Sustained Development- A Means To Transcending Societies

Updated on July 20, 2015

What is sustained development?

It is a developmental practice that envisions the well being of a larger, also taking into account especially the oppressed sections of a society by laying a self sustained platform for their betterment so they can be self independent which ultimately benefits the future generations in the course to come. The level of thought assesses that the demands put forth by present generations to meet needs should not harm nature's health and ability towards providing for the future generations to meeting their own needs.

After the growth theory also termed as the trickle-down theory failed to penetrate to the grass root level masses, economists shifted towards the developmental theory. The developmental oriented approach is a process engaged in terms of enhancing the acceleration of economic growth but by adopting a means focused on increasing the per capita income of a nation at hand. Through the developmental approach, growth trickled down to the masses.

By integrating the concept of sustainability with development a broader picture can be achieved that will leave the oppressed masses to progress not only of this generation, but of the future generations to come.

Unravelling a structural plot within

According to Paulo Freire, there exists a structure with two sections in society known as the oppressors and the oppressed. The oppressed are those subjugated by the oppressors who posses economic, political and social power. The oppressors will prevail as long as this structure of exploitation is reinforced.

Bringing about sustainable development is an approach not in favour of the oppressors as it tries to break the very foundation of what keeps the oppressors at power. As most oppressors hold economic power which ties links to political powers, policies are generally drafted in favour of the oppressors. The social power they posses includes voices of a few powerful agents who suppress the opinions of the oppressed by keeping them in a state of trance. This could be under the guise of film actors and media that the masses humbly succumb to.

Paulo Freire’s methods of intervention:

Paulo Freire suggests the only way to bring about a change in the situation is to shift power structures in the current structural system. This means engaging into confrontation if necessary with the oppressive power structures. This leads to a shift of power!

Paulo Freire emphasized on the banking system of education which focused on bring in a constructive sense of learning into the educational system. This would in turn facilitate a progressive shift in the levels of consciousness.

According to him there exist three levels of Consciousness:

  • In the phase of magical consciousness the oppressed generally deny the fact there exists an issue and they blame God, faith, luck or consider it their destiny to be in the current situation they are in.
  • In the phase of naive consciousness the oppressed move from conforming to reforming. They start to feel a general dissatisfaction with the issue and start to pity themselves. The oppressed start to wake from their slumber and understand the intentionality of the oppressive agents.
  • Finally in the phase of critical consciousness the oppressed start to analyze the situation they are in, and identify the cause-effect relationship. They engage into scientific understanding and ultimately bringing about a transformation in the oppressive system.

Is my sustainability your sustainability?

Sustainable development even though is a universal concept its application varies from the Northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere. According to the Humanistic understanding the goal of society is to achieve ‘common good’. The social question arises when this common good is not achieved as a cause of unsustainable means. This is where society needs to intervene in bringing about common good to create a progressive environment.

Features of Sustainable development

  • It is universally applicable
  • It is practical at all levels, be at a community level or local level and even at national or at a global level
  • Its outcome is progressive in nature
  • Sustained societies will never perish and can always rise back from the ashes. for example, Germany being a sustained nation managed to rise back up after the world war
  • Sustained development brings about a stable balance in society

The Three Core Drivers of Unsustainability:

Apart from breaking down power structures in society, the following three elements need to be countered when looking forth towards sustainability. Countering theses three core drivers of unsustainability is the only means to building societies on progressive platforms.

  • Consumption- When the carrying capacity increases there is more strain put forth on the environment and hence at times basic resources for consumption will not be able to meet the needs of the people. For example, a state of poverty will always prevail in India as the population of the nation has far crossed the carrying capacity in proportion of the geographic land.
  • Production-Gross inefficiencies in production should be countered, production should be efficient both economically and environmentally, and production should be effectively undertaken to meet consumption needs. Goods should be produced only to meet human needs and not wants, as wants are unlimited and the environment will never be able to bear the demand put forth. As Mahatma Gandhi said "There is enough for everyone's need, but not for everyone's greed"
  • Distribution- Inequitable distribution of global income between rich and poor should be monitored.The means to achieving a balance is raising taxes on higher incomes and consumption of materialistic goods . Distribution of goods and capital should flow on a balanced platform. The flow of capital should be a two way flow and not a one sided flow as prevailing in the context from the hands of the oppressed into the hands of the oppressors. Demand and supply should be kept stable to avoid price rise.

Sustained development- a means to a start

Building societies on a sustained platform is the only means to empower the masses to counter issues like inequality, corruption, poverty, hunger and so on. A sustained developmental approach is the only means to transcending societies over the course of centuries. It is imperative hence that development to be sustained must be that development engaged on the basis of bringing about equity, by improving the quality of life and bridging the gap on inequality.

Development is not just geographical development but is that development which should bring about an altered state in negative attitudes too. It must bring about a holistic sense of integrated development that is economic, political, social and environmental.

The process of engaging into sustained development can be compared to that of a plant as in what you sow, so shall you reap!

The outcome of engaging in development on a sustained platform will bring about a stable balance in society where all of society can engage as one hence reducing inequality to its minimum.


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