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New Economics of Sustainable Development- James Roberston

New Economics of Sustainable Development- James Roberston

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Published by: Eric Britton (World Streets) on Jun 24, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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"If money be not thy servant, it will be thy master."

Pierre Charron (1601)

Most of the sectoral changes involved in the shift to sustainable
development, summarised in Chapter 2, have been well worked through
by NGOs, professional experts and others in recent years. The policy
changes they call for in the spheres of taxation and public expenditure,
discussed in Chapter 3, are moderately easy to understand. Not
everyone agrees with them, and there will certainly be opposition to
implementing them. But it is not too difficult to see how governments
and government agencies could set about examining them in depth, with
a view to converting them to detailed practical policy proposals, given the
will and the policy-making capacity to do so.

In addition to changes in the pattern of government revenues and
expenditures, sustainable development also calls for changes in the way
the actual money and finance system works. The way it works at present
encourages unsustainable development, and helps to create poverty and
dependency for many people and places. This is increasingly recognised
by NGOs and the new economics movement. Some specific developments
in the sphere of monetary and financial institutions (such as LETS, local
and social investment, and microcredit) are now part of the new
economics agenda.46 But money is conceptually more complex and more
clouded in professional mystery than most other fields of policy. It has
been difficult for policy makers in other fields, and for NGOs, to get to
grips with it. Strategic understanding still has to crystallise about the
changes implied by a shift to people-centred, sustainable development in
the sphere of money and finance.

This chapter starts by outlining certain specific ways in which the
workings of money and finance today cause damage to people and the
environment. It notes that criticism of the way the system works is
rising. It then considers the emergence of a post-modern perspective on
money, and some of the questions it will increasingly raise. Against that
background it discusses some specific issues that require attention. It
concludes with a summary of policy implications. (International financial
questions are dealt with in Chapter 5.)

46 See 4.2 (3) and 4.4 (2) below for further discussion of LETS, local investment, social
investment, and microcredit. See Appendix C for relevant publications.

The New Economics of Sustainable Development

4 – Money and Finance



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