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INDUSTRIALIZATION AND ENVIRONMENT*

by Paul Smith
The "environment" that is in the process of construction in less developed countries is separated from our own by underdevelopment. It is differently located, not simply in geographical terms, but in terms of its role in the environment process. It follows that the `environment' in less developed countries is an arena for different social aspirations and material struggles. (Redclift, 1987)

Environmental issues are now high on the international political agenda. This increased concern about the environment has implications for development and industrialization throughout the world, and particularly in the less developed world. Discussion about global warming, deforestation and pollution of the oceans is affecting attitudes to economic growth and development at a local, national and international level. But taking effective political action to deal with these problems is not simple. Whose problems are they? In the less developed countries (LDCs), the problems will not be perceived in the same way as they are perceived in the fully industrialized nations. This chapter examines more than just the physical consequences of particular forms of development. As Redclift asserts, environmental problems are really development problems. So to understand environmental problems we have to look at the political and economic systems within which they occur. There are clear implications here for the processes of economic development and industrialization throughout the developing world. Some people, who could be called environmental determinists, say that two hundred years of mindless capitalist expansion have brought us to the abyss of environmental ruin, and that the only way out is to seek radical alternatives to the economic growth model. In contrast, consider this quote from the World Commission on Environment and Development, established under the auspices of the United Nations in 1983 to take a global view of the relationship between economic growth and environmental impact:
It is both futile and indeed an insult to the poor to tell them that they must remain in poverty to protect the environment. (Brundtland, 1987)

The social processes which underlie political and economic processes also have to be appreciated and understood alongside the purely environmental. It is worthwhile emphasizing this point. It is easy to label people who write about the environment as "environmentalists" and assume that they all prioritize the protection of the natural environment at the expense of human social and economic needs. In this chapter, we are considering the environment not as a separate issue, but within a wider social and economic context. To this end, the following questions are addressed: _________________ *REPRINTED FROM: Paul Smith, "Industrialization and Environment", in Tom Hewitt, Hazel Johnson, and Dave Wield (eds.) Industrialization and Development (Oxford Univ. Press: Oxford, 1992). Chapter 10, pp. 277-301.

How has environmental thinking developed in relation to development theory? What is "sustainable development" and what options do the LDCs have for industrialization? How does the relationship between industrialization and the environment differ from one developing country to another? For example, what prospects do Thailand, India and Mexico each have of achieving sustainable development?

1. ENVIRONMENT AND INDUSTRY Environment Versus Industrialization? The concept of "environment" now brings with it a whole range of images and connotations that come from the early days of the Industrial Revolution in Britain. From the early nineteenth century onwards, a rich and critical literature developed, presenting a variety of images of social deprivation alongside environmental pollution and degradation, brought about by the unbridled forces of industrial capitalism. What much of the writings had in common was a dislike, ranging from muted distaste to outright condemnation of industrialism. By "industrialism" they meant the wider social transformations associated with industrialization. Underlying the prose, however, was a diversity of political beliefs which ranged from romantic notions of returning to some sort of pre-industrial rural idyll, through the Utopian socialist visions of William Morris, to the revolutionary socialism of Marx and Engels. The idealization of a pre-industrial order, where the emphasis is on the purely physical or ecological consequences of economic growth, evades fundamental questions about social and economic conditions. This is particularly relevant when we come to look at the LDCs. In Morris's writings we can see ample evidence of his desire to return to a simple form of life which find an echo in some contemporary "green" literature. Yet he also left us with a rich legacy of ideas that are deserving of our serious attention today. His long-standing hatred of the utilitarian and imperialist values of capitalism led to his critique of the abstract idea of "production". Instead of the simple capitalist quantum of production, he began asking questions about what kinds of production. He also demonstrated his awareness of Britain's imperialism abroad. He wrote:
Have nothing in your home which you do not either believe to be beautiful or know to be useful. ... To further the spread of education in art, Englishmen in India are actively destroying the very sources of that educationjewelry, metalwork, pottery, calico printing, brocade weaving, carpetsall the famous and historical arts of the great peninsula have been thrust aside for the advantage of any paltry scrap of so-called commerce. (Morris, quoted in Thompson, 1976)

The essence of this argument finds a deal of relevance today. Rightly or wrongly Morris's ideas have tended to find support amongst the wealthier middle classes in Britain, perhaps as a way of coping with life in the late twentieth century. By contrast, the influence of Marx and Engels has been both dramatic and far reaching. Their late 20th century critics say that the ideas of Marx and Engels, by replacing one form of imperialism, industrial capitalism, with another, the conquest of Nature, have been responsible for the ruination of environments on a massive scale. Far from being "anti-industrial" they saw industrialization as a progressive force, whose full realization to eradicate poverty was being impeded

because of the struggle of class interests within capitalism. The rhetoric of environmental conquest was all too readily translated into reality, as has become depressingly apparent now that the political barriers have been lowered in the USSR and in Eastern Europe. Yet, as we shall see later, contemporary Marxist argument has an important contribution to make to the debate about environment and development. Also, in what now seems a prophetic vein, Engels wrote in his Dialectics of Nature that we shall never understand the ethos of expansionism if we fail to remember that:
We ourselves are part of nature, and that what is involved in this mastery and conquest is going to have its effect on us. Let us not flatter ourselves overmuch on account of our human victories over Nature. For each such victory, Nature takes its revenge on us. We are reminded that we belong to Nature, and that all-over mastery of it consists in the fact that we have the advantage over all other creatures of being able to learn its laws and apply them correctly. (Engels, 1889)

Although this argument rests heavily upon the metaphor of conquest, it could equally be seen to reside in some contemporary ethic about sustainability. This serves to illustrate the value of delving, however briefly, into the history of ideas. There is nothing new about environmental concern. The predominant values that come through to current environmentalist thinking are those which tend to be highly critical of industrialism and industrialized societies. Environment and Industrialization? The modern environmentalist movement can be said to have started in the late 1960s and early 1970s, with the formation of pressure groups like Friends of the Earth, which were openly committed to direct political involvement. Their message, while being an overtly political one, was scarcely new: that the only way to prevent environmental and ecological catastrophe was to change fundamentally the materialist and consumerist values of industrialized societies. Much of the expressed anxiety stressed the limits to the ability of the earth to sustain current (1970s) levels of economic and population growth, consumption of resources, and the destruction of whole ecosystems through industrial pollution and modern agricultural methods. There was a literary boom in "doom and gloom" with titles like The Population Bomb, How to be a Survivor and Blueprint for Survival becoming bestsellers. Internationally, the predictions of impending crisis reached a peak in 1972 with two significant events: the publication of The Limits to Growth from the "Club of Rome", and the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholn. Limits to Growth used models of future resource use and population to foretell inevitable catastrophe by the year 2000 unless international action was taken immediately. The solution was seen in terms of achieving a stable world population and a steady state economy (in which growth was not the primary or stimulating ingredient). The Stockholm Conference was somewhat less alarmist. It placed more emphasis on inequalities between nations and set some important initiatives in motion (like the Law of the Seas Conferences). It is now regarded as a landmark for progress on environmental issues. Several themes which come out of this brief examination of the history of modern environmentalist thought are pertinent to the relationship between the environment and development in the Third World. This is exemplified by two quotations from the writings of Raymond Williams

We shall get nowhere in thinking about these problems [of industrial development and environmental impact] if we think that it is only the distinctive forms of modern production that represent the problems of living well and sensibly on the earth. Productive growth is not the abolition of poverty. What matters is the way production is organized, the way the products are distributed. It is also the way in which priorities between different forms of production are decided. (Williams, Socialism and Ecology, 1982)

This presents us with an alternative to, on the one hand, the depressing predictions of the "ecodoomsters" and on the other, the technological over-optimism of the "free marketeers" whose dominating ideology was in the ascendency during the 1980s. Such ideas about how industrial development affects the environment do not tie in neatly with the different theories of economic development, which take different views of how industrial production is organized and controlled. Nevertheless, in unraveling the links between all of these it is useful to start with the two main [development] approaches: (i) Structuralist approaches emphasize: the need for transformation of economic and social structures; the importance of ownership and control of resources; the key role of industrialization. (ii) Neo-liberal approaches emphasize the key role of markets over non-market (e.g. government) regulation. However there is a third approach which environment issues. appears to be more relevant to analysis of

(iii) An explicitly environmental approach makes safeguarding the environment a priority, emphasizing such concepts as "zero growth" option, and a steady-state economy. It is often associated with an "appropriate technology" perspective emphasizing small scale and "local" initiatives (possibly along the lines of E F Schumacher's Small is Beautiful, 1973). The neo-liberal approach seems to represent the very antithesis of an explicitly environmentalist approach. After all, critiques of laissez-faire capitalism have provided the focus for argument for successive generations of the majority of environmental thinkers. Yet some of the most persuasive political and economic arguments. Purportedly embracing a concern for environment, are emerging from new-liberal approaches. Another apparent contradiction arises with some of the more extreme environmentalist approaches. The political implications of attempting to implement the policies of the socalled "deep ecologists" are such that the term "ecofascism" has been used to describe them. However, the structuralist approaches and the "appropriate technology" environmentalist approach attempt to address the questions of economic growth, the way production is organized and the way products are distributed.

A common point of debate amongst all three approaches has been the notion of sustainable development. 2. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT What does "sustainable development" mean in terms of the relationship between industrialization and environment in the less developed world? Can it best be achieved by a neo-liberal approach or a structuralist approach? Or is it more appropriate to take an environmental approach with appropriate forms of technology and an emphasis on "local" initiatives? Should we consider the environment with industrialization rather than the environment versus industrialization? Towards Sustainability
Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two principal concepts: needs, in particular those of the world's poor, to which over-riding priority should be given limitations, imposed by the state of technology and social organizations, on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs. (Brundtland et al., Our Common Future, 1987)

This definitive statement emerged from the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development, chaired in the 1980s by the Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland. In fact, definitions of the concept have proliferated leaving the skeptical observer to surmise that "sustainable development" is merely a result of the latest political bandwagon. The richest nations are all trying to show concern for global environmental issues and to respond to what they perceive as the needs of the LDCs. However, the concept does deserve our serious consideration. From the Brundtland Report definition we may deduce a number of serious concerns in relation to industry and environment in the less developed world: concern about the relationship between resource use, population growth and technological advancement concern about the production and distribution of industrial and energy resources amongst the less developed and more developed nations implicit concern about economic dominance and ideological differences concern about environmental degradation and ecological destruction. By focusing on human need[s] and on development issues Brundtland appears to be offering a fundamental challenge to the materialist and consumerist values of the industrialized world (the North). The Report provides clear evidence for the links between poverty and environment in the LDCs. It sets out an agenda for action, particularly for the more developed nations. Yet for its critics, despite the considerable participation of many less developed nations in drawing it up, the Report represents the perspective of the North on what is best for the South, and it is full of contradictions.

A critical look at the findings of the Brundtland Report raises a whole series of questions which are not unique to the environmental aspects of development. Is economic growth synonymous with development? Is economic growth an adequate measure of development? What is it that is to be sustained; levels of production or levels of consumption? This last is a critical distinction. It is the patterns of consumption in the more developed world that makes development unsustainable on a global level. But the main focus for development is necessarily production. Can sustainable development really be concerned with meeting human needs, maintaining economic growth and conserving "natural capital" at one and the same time? The Brundtland Report goes into considerable detail over a range of issues, such as population, food, industrialization and urban growth. It explains the basis for concern, providing an agenda for achieving sustainable development, and proposing the institutional reforms that will be needed both nationally and internationally. Certainly, the emphasis of Brundtland is environment and development, environment with industrialization, using appropriate technological means to achieve sustainable growth in both developed and developing countries. There is clearly an empathy with Williams' thinking here. But, perhaps inevitably, the World Commission did not, as William did, go on to argue how ecological, political and economic thought could, and should, come together in a new "brand" of politics, underpinned by a progressive socialist commitment. The Brundtland Report is laced with references to the "need for political will". But it falls short in explaining how that is to be exercised and how the necessary radical reforms are to come about. The entire credibility of the Report hinges on the premise that major economic growth can be achieved in ways that sustain and even enhance environmental capital. It argues that development, primarily through industrialization, is the best way of achieving population control, and that growing populations should be sustained at economic levels "above the minimum" to satisfy fundamental needs, to improve the overall quality of life. This would mean an increase in consumption for many LDCs, but these cannot be of the order of those enjoyed at present in the industrially advanced nations. For all this to happen, two basic changes have to occur: (i) The nature of industrial development, specifically the forms of production and the use of resources, would have to change radically. (ii) People in developed nations would have to lower significantly their use of resources. It is easy to criticize Brundtland: it is optimistic, over ambitious, too farreaching. Moreover it has been seen as a conscience-salving exercise for the rich nations. However, a good deal of the criticism has been of a subjective nature. What varying perspectives might the contrasting theoretical approaches considered in the previous section offer? The following brief analysis examines: neo-liberal views (emphasizing the market) a moderate environmental approach (stressing small-scale and local approaches rather than measures requiring strong central political intervention) a structuralist perspective (emphasizing the unequal structural relationship between the

North and South) Contrasting Approaches to Sustainability Neo-Liberal Views For some neo-liberals, like Professor David Pearce of London University, the concept of sustainable development is a positive and optimistic one. Professor Pearces report to the UK Department of the Environment in 1989 on the feasibility of achieving it, now in book form as Blueprint for a Green Economy has been welcomed in various quarters as "providing an economics of hope for the world around us". Whilst commending the Brundtland Report, Pearce says it does not define unambiguously what sustainable development is. Brundtland is critical of using market forces alone for achieving sustainability, but Pearce argues that sustainable development is a "practical and feasible concept" precisely because of the market. Pearce's argument rests on putting a value on the economic functions of the environment. Environmental problems are perceived as being essentially economic problems. "They are manifestations of the failure of market systems to allocate resources efficiency, he points out. Everything can be given a market value, and environmental improvements can be seen as equivalent to economic improvements. Figure 1 illustrates the process in the form of a demand curve. The diagonal line shows the demand for the services of a natural environment. If a price were associated with demand, the lower the price the greater would be the demand. If there were no market and the price were zero the neo-liberal theory would suggest that too much (Qo) of the environment would be used up. Thus, they argue, it is important to put a price on the environment. The supply of environment is fixed, so Figure 1 has a vertical supply curve. Thus, if such a market in the environment existed, the price would settle at P*, the equilibrium price, and the amount of environment used up would be Q*. Pearce recognizes that sustainable development must accept some trade-offs between narrowly construed economic growth and environmental quality, meaning that the economic value of environmental cost (and there usually is one) has to be understood. In short, a neo-liberal interpretation of Brundtland is that environment and economics should be merged in decision-making, and market incentives employed. The "polluter pays" principle and "green" taxes are two examples of economic methods to encourage "good environmental practice". For an international environmental issue like global warming the neo-liberal would see market-based approaches as a necessary part of any attempt to reduce the impact of "greenhouse gases", with the most attractive options involving the encouragement of energy efficiency. Environmentalist Approach Moderate environmentalists have generally been more equivocal about the Brundtland Report and sustainability, welcoming some of its recommendations for local action and practical solutions in developing countries, but being very critical of the general impression that economic growth and environmental conservation are mutually compatible. The emphasis on the person rather than the product (echoing E F Schumacher's approach in Small is Beautiful) comes through in a good deal of the Brundtland rhetoric. But the potential contradictions between the local and the global in Brundtland are too glaringly obvious for most environmentalists. The Report urges us all "to think globally but to act locally", but for many the Report's own thinking has not gone nearly far enough.
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D
Price

P*

---------------------------

Q* Quantity of environmental services

Q0

Figure 1. Demand curve for the natural environment. Those favouring more ecologically friendly solutions to the world's environmental problems have also been critical of the neo-liberal response, challenging the altogether simplistic proposition that you can put a realistic value on the environment and on environmental effects. How do we value the greenhouse effect? The consequences of such global environmental issues have not been foreseen due to lack of scientific knowledge, so how can the market allocate costs on the basis of information that does not even exist? Some environmentalists have taken the argument further to link the questions of sustainability and continuing growth to the worlds poor, and particularly to the developing nations. Their argument can be summed up in the comment from John Bowers of the British Association of Nature Conservationists:
If sustainability is to be accepted then the poor, both in the Third World and lower income groups in developed countries, must be protected. Substantial sacrifices will be required by the wealthy who consume the lion's share of the world's resources. (Bowers, 1990)

Structuralist Perspective The theme of inequality between North and South is expanded considerably within the structural approach. Structuralism is centrally concerned with the contradictions implicit in the Brundtland concept of sustainable development, imposed by the structural inequalities of the global economic system. Attention is focused, in particular, on the economic dependence of the less developed countries on the developed, and on the historical and social processes which have produced this. As a prominent commentator on these issues, Michael Redclift, explains: "People in the South are being thrown against the contradictions of development in their struggle to survive" (1987). For writers like Redclift the Brundtland

Report makes too many major assumptions about the ability of the capitalist system to accommodate the sort of changes required. Clearly, this view is diametrically opposed to the neo-liberal arguments of people like David Pearce, with whom Redclift takes particular issue. Pearce's discussion of sustainable development makes no assumptions about who benefits or who loses, and fails to acknowledge that structural linkages among nations at different levels of development can result in a politically and culturally biased view of what is sustainable. Pearce's approach may work for the industrially advanced countries, but it is wholly a perspective from the North. The core of the structuralist critique includes the issue of equity which Redclift sees as "the driving force behind indiscriminate resource degradation in developing countries", but such considerations are not high on the neo-liberal agenda of looking primarily at total economic value. Many structuralists, like many environmentalists, sympathize with Brundtland's aim of linking the environment with the needs of less developed countries, but challenge the fundamental assumption that sustainable development is achievable. Neo-liberals on the other hand, have generally embraced the concept of sustainability and made it their own. What does all this mean for the relationship between industrialization and environment in the less developed world? Is it realistic to talk in terms of progressing towards a sustainable future? Comparing the Three Approaches The position of the neo-liberals is that the system of industrial capitalism is sufficiently flexible and adaptable to allow sustainable development to be achieved globally, based upon market principles. For them capitalism has demonstrated its historical capacity to adapt to changing circumstances. The environmentally oriented approach provides a varied mix. The argument for "low input" technology and local initiatives is an attractive one, particularly for the less developed world; but the "no growth" solution is not, neither is it politically acceptable. The implications for the former are unclear in political terms. How is change to occur? The appeals to "populism", to local action and participation, sound encouraging, but how realistic are they in the political climate of the "real" world? The structuralist position is one of explaining the "real" world situation in terms of structural economic dependency within a dominant global political economic context that is capitalist. Radical structural transformations are required if these inequalities are to be addressed and environmentally sound solutions found. However, the structuralist approach is limited by its generality. A North and South Issue? Raymond Williams argues that what is crucially important for the developing nations is how decisions about prioritizing one form of production over another are taken. "It is, then, the social and economic relations between people and classes", says Williams, "which emerge from such decisions, which determine whether more production will reduce or eliminate poverty, or will simply create new kinds of poverty as well as new kinds of damage and destruction [to the environment]". The question of who decides and at what level such decisions are effectively taken becomes highly pertinent here.

We could argue that they way production and its priorities are organized at a national level creates the social relations which then determine how we distribute the production and how people actually live. The issue of national sovereignty may be significant. But in the industrialized nations of the West, the inherent capitalist priority of profit is the driving force of an international economic system that crosses national boundaries. The global economy crucially influences the relationship between the North and the South because it is dominated by the production and consumption interests of the industrially advanced nations. ...Structuralism is a useful concept for exploring more specifically the links between industrialization in the less developed countries and environmental impact of industrialization. Industry is essential to developing countries if they are to widen their development base and meet the growing needs of their rapidly expanding populations. India, for example, is likely to have a population of around one thousand million by the year 2000. The Brundtland Report affirmed that "all nations require and rightly aspire to efficient industrial bases to meet changing needs". Industry extracts minerals from the natural resource base, processes them and puts both products and pollution back into the environment. Whether or not profit is the motivating force, industries have seldom taken responsibility for the consequences of their actions, unless required to do so by law, and even then often only by lip service. If enforcement of national legislation is problematic within sovereign states, then how much more difficult is it in the international arena with the implementation of protocols and conventions? Some of the worst offenders are the transnational corporations (the TNCs). In 1984, a chemical leak from a Union Carbide pesticides factory in Bhopal, India, killed more than 2,000 and maimed an estimated further 200,000.
Table 1. Share of manufacturing value added in GDP, by economic grouping and income group (%) 1960 Developing Countries Low income Lower-middle income Upper-middle income High income Developed Market Economies Centrally Planned Economies (Estimated) [Source: 14.2 11.2 11.0 19.4 17.2 25.6 32.0 1970 16.6 13.8 13.5 21.6 16.2 28.3 42.4 1980 19.0 15.0 16.4 24.1 17.2 27.9 50.5 1982 19.0 15.0 16.6 23.3 17.9 27.1 50.8

UNIDO, 1985]

Industrial production in the LDCs is diversifying and moving into more capital-intensive areas such as chemicals, machinery, metal products and equipment. In the mid-1980s the proportion of manufacturing value added (MVA) in gross domestic product (GDP) had increased to 19% (see Table 1). Heavy industries, traditionally the most polluting, had been growing in relation to light industries. Nonetheless the LDC share of world MVA had risen only from 10% to 13% between 1960 and 1985.

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Energy consumption is also extremely uneven (see Table 2). The industrialized countries of North America, Western Europe and Japan used approximately half of the world's energy consumption in 1988, the centrally planned economies used about a third, and the less developed countries used a sixth.
Table 2. Global distribution of energy consumption in 1988 % of world total consumption North America Western Europe Centrally planned economies: USSR China Other Asia and Australia Latin America Middle East Africa [Original data source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 1989] 27.2 16.2 17.3 9.0 7.7 12.3 5.3 2.4 2.6

The negative environmental impacts of industrial activity have long been recognized. But it was only in the late 1960s and early 1970s that growing public awareness and concern, principally in the more developed countries, led to action by some governments and industry. Government regulatory measures and a number of economic instruments such as pollution charges and taxation, were considered; in line with the thinking of David Pearce and others who saw the market as a powerful instrument to achieve sustainability. But only a few governments actually introduced these measures. Industries also responded to some degree, principally in the more developed countries. Scandinavian and German companies, and a few US companies such as 3M, developed new processes designed to cut emissions, reduce pollution and avoid other adverse environmental impacts. The good news, then, is that there have been achievements over the last two decades. Expenditure on pollution control measures has increased in some highly polluting industries such as steel, chemicals and energy production. Guidelines on safety, trade practices and technology transfer have been introduced, as have voluntary codes of practice. International industry associations, established to cooperate on improving industrial performance, has also facilitated pollution control. The Brundtland Report is keen to emphasize that some firms, all former major polluters, that established teams to research and develop innovative technologies to meet new environmental standards "are today [1987] among the most competitive in their fields, nationally and internationally". The bad news is that these improvements have been almost entirely limited to the industrially advanced nations, and even there many problems remain to be tackled and "solved". Along with competitiveness and innovation, energy efficiency, recycling and reuse have become the key themes for "technologically aware" industrialists. Pollution
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control has become a thriving branch of industry in the developed countries. But polluting industries have sometimes been relocated to less developed countries. Levels of air pollution in some "Third World" cities have risen above anything witnessed in the industrial countries during the 1950s or 1960s. For example, peak levels of airborne particulates in Calcutta and Delhi, and of sulphur dioxide in Beijing, are several times greater than peak levels recorded in cities in developed countries (Table 3). Both types of pollutant are linked to inefficient burning of fossil fuels, with sulphur dioxide usually coming from coal in particular. It would be wrong to give the impression that air pollution is a problem in every Third World city. It is not, particularly where there is not a great deal of industry as in some African cities. Also, levels are seriously high in a number of developed countries; but conditions are clearly worse in cities like Beijing, Delhi, Manila and Bangkok. They are worse still in Mexico City, which is not recorded in Table 3, but is described later in this chapter. Pollution problems that were once considered as "local" are now global in scale, and as Brundtland solemnly reported:
Contamination of soils, ground-water, and people by agrochemicals is widening, and chemical pollution has spread to every corner of the planet. The incidence of major accidents involving toxic chemicals has grown. It is evident that measures to reduce, control and prevent industrial pollution will need to be greatly strengthened. If they are not, pollution damage to human health could become intolerable in certain cities, and threats to property and ecosystems will continue to grow. (Brundtland, 1987) Table 3. Peak air pollution levels in selected cities, 1982-1985 (in microgrammes per cubic metre) particulates Developed Countries Brussels (Belgium) Frankfurt (Germany) London (UK) New York City (USA) Warsaw (Poland) Less Developed Countries Bangkok (Thailand) Beijing (China) Calcutta (India) Delhi (India) Manila (Philippines) Sao Paulo (Brazil) [Source: World Resources Institute, 1989] 741 307 967 1062 579 338 48 625 188 197 198 173 97 117 77 121 248 205 230 171 131 205 sulphur dioxide

Clearly, a heavy burden of responsibility continues to rest with the industrialized countries to "clean up their act". That they are making progress, as evidenced for example in the recent series of international climate conferences, may give some grounds for cautious optimism. But what of the responsibilities in the less developed world? To what extent does the structural interdependency between North and South provide industrializing countries with options or choices?

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We should pause to take stock here of the various dimensions to this whole issue. There are a number of important considerations: For industrial development to be at all sustainable in the long term (discounting the "no growth" scenario of some radical greens as being politically and economically unrealistic) there will have to be radical changes to the quality of that development. To accept the Brundtland concept of sustainability is not to suggest that industrialization has yet reached a quantitative limit, particularly in the LDCs; According to the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), world industrial output would have to increase by 260% for the consumption of manufactured goods in developing countries to reach current levels in the industrialized countries (based on 1987 figures). UNIDO also estimates anything from a five-to a ten-fold increase in world industrial output, depending when world population stabilizes "sometime in the next century". (UN projections range from 7.7 billion in 2060 to 14.2 billion in 2100.) Growth of this magnitude has the most serious implications for the future of the world's ecosystems, and its natural resource base.

We may rightly feel that any projections so far into the future should be treated with at least a modicum of circumspection. But, whichever way we approach the United Nations figures, there is cause for concern. Despite the growth of awareness of global environmental problems and the improvements referred to already, we are repeatedly being informed by a growing number of voices, including scientists, that the situation is deteriorating . There is a widening hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica. There are threats of global warming. There is widespread deforestation and desertification. And this is not just a concern being expressed by agitated "Northern" voices. Note the following quote from a representative of a Brazilian ecology movement, presenting evidence to the Brundtland Commission:
Our ecological movement is not against industry, but we must think of the social function of industries and that pollution and progress are not the same thing. Pollution is not the synonym of progress and, therefore, the time has come for new development concepts to come up. Pollution should not be a synonym of progress because we know that pollution is controllable and when you do not control pollution you are transferring this pollution to the community of the whole. (Fabio Feldman, Sao Paulo, October 1985)

The reference to the "social function of industries" brings us once more back to Williams' questions: what kinds of production; what priorities for production; and to a structuralist explanation. Do less developed countries have much of a choice? This is the subject of the next two sections, the second of which takes a more detailed look at three very different case studies from the less developed world. What Choices? The United Nations' estimates to which reference has been made in the previous section make all kinds of assumptions about the ability or the freedom of developing nations to choose their paths to further industrialization. For writers like Michael Redclift, quoted earlier, this is a blinkered approach which merely serves to underline the contradictions

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inherent in the concept of sustainable development. Using structuralist theories, it is possible to predict a situation in which the shortage of key commodities leads to the more developed world exerting the strong pressure to secure their supplies; political pressure, economic pressure, and in the extreme, military pressure. Just such a situation existed in 1991 in the Middle East in relation to oil. And it is equally feasible that similar scenarios could occur in the future in other parts of the developing world. Raymond Williams has expressed it thus:
We can see the possibility of recruiting wide areas of public opinion to cast as "enemies" the poor countries which have been assigned the role of supplying the raw materials, the oil, the whole range of basic commodities, at prices which are convenient to the functioning, in received terms, of the older industrial economies.

(Williams, 1982)

Events at the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations appear to support the structuralist argument that LDCs are assigned the dependent role. A widely expressed view, particularly from Third World commentators, is that the main priority of the industrialized nations in the Uruguay Round was:
... to extend their control over the global economy. In the past this was achieved through a mixture of colonialism and threats of military intervention. Today it is hoped that GATT and the threat of retaliation will serve the same purpose. (Raghavan, 1990)

One particular argument being advanced is that GATT could advance TNC domination of the world economy to a "point of no return". Raghavan talks in terms of a world divided between the "knowledge-rich" and the "knowledge-poor" where the latter are "permanently blocked from acquiring the knowledge and capacity to be rich". His argument continues:
In economic and social terms, Third World countries could be said to be on the point of being rolled back to the colonial era. Third World governments would not only be unable to act to advance the economic well-being of their people, but would be obliged to protect the interests of TNCs and foreign enterprises against their own people. (Raghavan, 1990)

One structuralist view is that, far from environmental considerations leading to a more equal use of resources for development, there will be increased inequality and constrained development in LDCs. To be aware of these arguments is to demonstrate the complexity of the issues under discussion, and yet we should not leave the question of the United Nations' projections there. The UN made the point that "industrialization has yet to reach a quantitative limit, particularly in the developing countries". Yet material limits there have to be. If we consider that the United States currently (in 1991) uses something like 370 times as much energy per capita as Sri Lanka, then it seems very unlikely that the ecological balance of the planet could sustain developing countries using similar levels. In short, this means that the less developed world cannot follow the development path of the more developed. Nor can the industrialized nations continue along this same path without changing their habits. What propositions might we consider that would see all nations moving, if not along the

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same path, at least in the same direction? Such propositions might include: a realignment of political and economic blocs that does not adversely affect the LDCs a serious commitment on the part of the more developed nations and the World's financial institutions to review and to amend radically current positions on debt and policies for structural adjustment a serious commitment by the industrialized nations to achieve the goals of sustainable development sooner rather than later the continuing development of new technologies that avoid the most dire environmental consequences, and their export through technology transfer to the LDCs without strings attached an end to "ecological imperialism" like calls to "internationalize" Amazonia. Given such an hypothetical context, what theoretical choices might exist for developing countries in their desire to industrialize without causing major environmental damage? A range of possible themes that are practicable could be considered here: The promises and risks of new technologies; the establishment of internationally agreed environmental standards and incentives to help achieve them; dealing with industrial hazards; the disposal of hazardous waste; strengthening international efforts to assist developing countries to develop safer technology.

Before taking a brief look at the first and last of these possibilities, we should be clear about the political economic context within which such initiatives might occur. We have been considering contrasting perspectives of sustainable development: neoliberal market-led, environment-oriented (emphasizing "local" action), and structuralist. It should be evident from the foregoing discussion that the structuralist explanation of unequal nations at different stages of development is powerful, particularly in terms of its critique of market-led development processes. It highlights the essential contradictions within the concept of sustainable development, which purports to promote radical change yet derives from an ideology dominated by market economics. Herein lies both the strength and the weakness of structuralist explanations. For sustainable development is, for many, about achieving practical results on the ground. Maneka Gandhi, Indian Junior Environment Minister 1990-1991, said "it means just clean water, clean air and a rational land use. That's all sustainable development is about". The first inference is that issues of sustainable development may appear to involve meeting simple environmental needs in many LDCs: such as water, land and housing. The meaning of environment in particular circumstances can be broader than the issues of humanly produced waste, hazard and pollution. But the second inference is that although
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sustainable development can effectively argue that global resources are available to meet the basic human needs of the world's population, it does not mean that changes will occur without dramatic structural transformations. New Technologies and International Cooperation As has already been demonstrated in the industrially advanced world, new technologies can offer great opportunities for improving productivity, health and the overall quality of life, whilst at the same time minimizing risk to the environment. Significant advances have been made in Scandinavia, Germany, and in the most progressive industries in the highest per capita energy consuming nation of all, the USA. The 3M Company has for more than a decade reoriented its whole productive process to be "environmentally friendly", including reduction of waste and built-in product recyclability. Developments in information technology and the introduction of new materials can contribute towards energy and resource efficiency. In the field of biotechnology, developments in genetic engineering could have major implications for the environment. Energy derived from plants, new high-yield crop varieties, and integrated pest management are three major areas of predicted improvements. It is also being confidently forecast that biotechnology could yield cleaner, more efficient alternatives to a whole range of industrial processes and polluting products, and make a major contribution to the problem of hazardous waste disposal through the advancement of new techniques to treat solid and liquid wastes. Clearly, new energy-efficient technologies, promising reduced risks to the environment, are capable of promoting sustainable forms of development in the industrialized North. But what are the prospects for the less developed world? The "green revolution" and the provision of new seeds became the domain of the huge transnational chemical industries. The chemical companies have been concerned with reaping the benefits from developing and controlling a limited number of crop varieties, often requiring large inputs of specific fertilizers and pesticides, which they also produce. Such dependency scarcely enhances either the chances or the choices for the LDCs with agriculture-based economies to achieve sustainability. The green revolution may have had a significant impact upon productive output in many developing countries, but not without a considerable environmental cost. The necessary research into new techniques and production processes, to promote "environmental compatibility" and minimize the risk element, is both costly and time consuming. Can the less developed world afford either in its struggle to industrialize? Those industries which are fastest growing in developing countries are pollution-intensive and based on exploiting natural resources. Many developing countries do not possess either the technical or the institutional capacity for making the most of imported or new technologies. These have to be brought in from outside. However, lack of capital means that new industry may only be started with aid or commercial loans, or from investment from the transnational corporations. The international economic system holds few favours for governments in the South.... [The] running up of large external debts, high interest rates, and the inequitable trade situation which sees less developed countries receiving less than a fair market price for their commodities, means that allocating scarce financial resources on environmental protection gets a very low priority. Yet the industrialized world is busily drawing up the guidelines which stress that "nations have to bear the costs of any inappropriate industrialization"
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(Brundtland, 1987). This is a cleft stick for the LDCs. In a world of rapid technological change they have neither the resources nor the time to prevent or remedy environmental damage. The existing technology is "dirty", It is heavily polluting and energy consuming. New technology is expensive and comes with strings attached. We might argue, from the relative luxury of our "northern" observation points, that governments must tighten their existing environmental legislation, although even here there are no guarantees that this would be consistently enforced. A burden of responsibility certainly rests with the governments of the LDCs; but arguably a far greater burden resides with the governments of the richest nations and with the transnational corporations (TNCs). Less developed countries will continue to have a very restricted range of options without substantial assistance from the international community, in financial, technical and institutional terms. The TNCs have a major responsibility to "smooth the path to industrialization in the nations in which they operate", according to Brundtland. How optimistic can we afford to be that either of these essential undertakings will occur at a significant level before the turn of the century? 3. INDUSTRIALIZATION AND DEVELOPMENT: CONTRASTING CASES In the following case studies we will take a brief look at the challenges of industrialization and development which are being faced in three contrasting Third World areas, each at a different level and stage of development. Thailand is a rapidly industrializing country on the Pacific rim, facing severe environmental problems. Haryana State in India has a local initiative for promoting energy efficiency and the use of renewable resources, as a counterbalance to the huge Narmada Valley Project. In Mexico City there is a seemingly intractable problem of balancing the demand for continued industrial expansion with the provision of environmental safeguards. Thailand Between 1960 and 1990 Thailand's GDP expanded more than eighteenfold, with a buoyant 7.5% average annual growth rate throughout that period. According to Bank of Thailand forecasts, the Thai economy was set to expand by a further 9.7% at the start of the 1990s, with indicators suggesting continued high growth in virtually every sector. Trade has played a central role. Export volume expanded by 34% in 1987, which has since led to a further major increase in investment. The capital city, Bangkok, has witnessed explosive growth, from a modest city of some 450,000 people at the end of the Second World War, to something over 8 million according to 1989 estimates. Thailand has achieved such remarkable sustained growth because of a consistent record of macro-economic stability, and an enduring commitment to undertake structural economic reforms, encouraged by the World Bank. The substantial input of foreign capital, including aid, to boost development in Thailand is certainly creating wealth. But a significant proportion goes abroad again in the form of export capital, especially on debt repayments, and as profits to the transnational corporations. Problems of Rapid Growth The paradox is that such economic dynamism co-exists with severe economic, social and

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environmental problems. Although economic growth has undoubtedly reduced poverty; severe imbalances in the distribution of wealth have applied relentless pressure on natural resources and on an inadequate infrastructure. Is sustainable development an achievable goal in Thailand, or is growth being achieved at a price? Thai financial institutions continue to paint an optimistic picture for the 1990s, claiming that Thailand is now Asia's top performing economy, and even the world's fastest growing economy. However, the labour force remains largely rural-based, with two-thirds of the population (in 1989) of almost 54 million still engaged primarily in agricultural activities. Despite industrial expansion, Thailand is still heavily dependent on the natural resources that continue to make an important contribution to the country's GDP. Even so, the share (by value) of agricultural products in Thailand's exports fell from 48% in 1981 to 34% in 1986, while the share of manufactured products increased from 35% to 55% over the same period. There is certainly a recognition by a concerned minority in Thailand of the need for policies directed towards sustainability and conservation. Equally there is an uneasy acceptance that many economic development projects have paid too little attention to the long-term sustainability of their natural resource base; that laws and regulations have been weighted in favour of the unscrupulous, rather than the conscientious; and that a fair distribution of the wealth derived from Thailand's natural resources and industrial progress is as distant a prospect as ever. Pollution in Bangkok The most potent images of rapid growth are to be found in Bangkok itself. As industrialization has continued apace, the economic relations of the country have become progressively oriented towards the capital city, to the extent that over 75% of Thailand's factories dealing with hazardous chemicals are now located within Bangkok's hinterland. The growth of private transport has been equally phenomenal, and the city is fast becoming choked with traffic. Like all burgeoning Third World cities Bangkok has its shanty towns, with their associated problems of sanitation, health and securing a fresh water supply. Water is a crucial issue. So much of it is being pumped out of the underground aquifers that the city is literally sinking by up to 100 mm a year. The authorities have a major task ahead in prioritizing expenditure to deal with this and other pressing matters of infrastructure, like public transport and essential services. Living in Bangkok is becoming more and more environmentally hazardous. Air and water quality are deteriorating. Every year there is serious flooding, exacerbated by the logging of forests in the north. The disposal of waste, industrial and domestic, an ever present headache, is getting worse. The problems are the hallmarks of four decades of rapid uncontrolled and largely unplanned growth. As in all developing cities, the urban underclasses are suffering the most and carry the least political clout, but the problems are beginning to affect everyone. Here is an extract taken from a letter written by one concerned woman in Bangkok:
It seems not enough to learn from other countries' experiences; we have to be an NIC and learn the lesson first hand. Unfortunately, by the time we learn that being an NIC is not to the advantage of Thailand, which is basically an agricultural country, it will be too late. Once fertile farmlands have

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been turned into factory sites, beaches and forest reserves have become tourist resorts, paralysed traffic has become a way of life, the air has become heavy with industrial smoke in Bangkok, and there would be more natural disasters to contend with as nature takes her revenge on us. (The Bangkok Post, 26 November, 1989)

Plans for Sustainable Development The Thai government has a long-term plan to develop the country's eastern seaboard to take some of the pressure off Bangkok and its hinterland. There are also policies in the process of implementation for rural development to open up the interior of Thailand. To concerned citizens the official response is that growth is essential as the only solution to poverty, and that increased awareness on environmental issues will ensure that Thailand will not make the same mistakes as the industrialized nations. One particular safeguard being stressed is the incorporation of "state of the art" technologies into the forefront of the development process, supported by loans and the transfer of technology from the West. Dr. Dhira Phantumvanit, one of the country's foremost environmentalists, argued in 1987 that "Despite its acknowledged problems, Thailand has a real opportunity to pioneer in an emerging field of sustainable development. Much of the groundwork has been laid, even though the legal and administrative framework cannot yet exploit the full potential of the investments already made. There is certainly a sense amongst leading politicians and economists that Thailand can "contain growth" and steer a course towards sustainability. There is a powerful argument that economic growth and industrialization are essential to eradicate poverty in the developing world. This is a cornerstone of the Brundtland Report. However, the free-market-based approach embraced by Thailand through her strong ties with the more developed countries of the West is hardly likely to produce an equitable distribution of resources internally, and the price being paid in environmental terms is considerable. India The environment and development problems facing India are of a different order. The population is expected to reach one billion by the year 2000. In 1991 the UN estimated that more than a third of the population was below what is in any case a very low poverty line. India has made great strides to industrialize, and to initiate major economic development schemes through a rolling programme of five-year development plans. However more and more Indians are questioning the whole approach to the process of development, specifically the scale of projects and to who actually benefits from them.

Narmada Valley At the forefront of controversy has been the Narmada River scheme, which in the 1990s is set to become the world's largest hydroelectric power and irrigation complex. The project involves the building of 30 major dams, 35 medium-sized dams, and 3,000 small dams, over a period of fifty years. It is designed to irrigate some 20,000 square kilometres in the drought-prone states of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, provide drinking water for the whole region, and generate 500 megawatts of electricity. It represents the archetypal "grand development scheme", and much of the estimated costs of around US$40 billion will be met by the World Bank.
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The Narmada Valley project has also produced India's first nationwide environmental protest movement, bringing together campaigners for peasants' rights, fishermen, the urban poor and other groups. The protesters see the scheme as being an environmental catastrophe, a "technological dinosaur" and an example of great social injustice. For the dams, when completed, will displace more than 200,000 people, submerge 2,000 square kilometres of fertile land, and 1,500 square kilometres of forest. The essence of their argument is that environmental damage would be minimized with hundreds of local irrigation projects, which could do the same job (although not provide the electricity) at a fraction of the cost. In this they have the support of a number of prominent politicians, including Maneka Gandhi. Poor farmers and agriculture in general will lose out, because the whole scheme will benefit more intensive farming methods, encouraging those who are already prosperous to grow more cash crops, leaving peasants upstream with even less water. Just such a process has been typical of large scale development schemes all over the developing world. What purports to be development for everyone in fact can benefit only those who are already wealthy and the developers themselves. It is, in effect, a classic example of "top-down" thinking, the imposition of grandiose ideas from above. Haryana State At the other end of the spectrum, in terms of the scale of development and the politics involved, comes an example of a sustainable energy project in Haryana State to the north west of New Delhi. It was initiated on an experimental basis in 1984 by the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI) in Delhi, an organization that is mostly funded by the Tata Industrial Group, one of the largest corporations in India. The aim has been to demonstrate the practical achievements of their work on local renewable sources of energy. The project has centred on one village, Dhanawas, which has about 300 inhabitants. The long-term objective is to spread the ideas to other villages in the state. Participation by the villagers is a cornerstone of the initiative, in what is clearly a "bottomup" process. All work has been undertaken in complete cooperation with the village council, with the equitable concept of the "common property resource" as a lynchpin of resource management and use policies. There has been to date (1991) no costs borne directly by the inhabitants, modest funding coming jointly from TERI, the Indian government and the FAO. The principal features of the project have been: The establishment of an 18 acre plantation on what were very poor saline soils supporting only scrub vegetation. The policy is for long-term improvement of soil quality, using hardy nitrogen-fixing species like acacia and mesquat which can be used as a source of much needed fuelwood on a sustainable basis. All the trees are held as a common property resource. The development of a number of bio-gas makers, which use a mixture of cow dung and water. The capacity of each unit is 2 cubic metres per day, which is sufficient for about five hours cooking on modern cookstoves or ten hours of lighting. The plan is to introduce enough units to make the village self-sufficient in renewable sources of fuel, reducing the consumption of fuel wood in conventional cookstoves.

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The building of a gasifier, which uses a mixture of shredded mustard stalks, cow dung and water in the form of small pellets and converts them into gas. The equipment is capable of generating the equivalent of five kilowatts of electricity with an 80/20 gas/diesel mix, enough power to provide lighting for the whole village. The use of solar powered water heaters.

Essentially the project concerns the use of intermediate technology to promote the efficient use of renewables, thus cutting the cost of conventional fuel consumption in rural areas. It is not being suggested that such projects can solve the problems of energy use in the cities. A central problem is that Haryana State is amongst the most agriculturally productive states in India, and the inhabitants of Dhanawas have been willing and able to participate because their village is relatively well off. Poorer villages have other priorities, like access to safe water and income generation. Nevertheless, the TERI project does demonstrate what can be achieved locally with a small budget, and with the political cooperation of the government. At the same time such initiatives are taking place within a context of continuing pressure for economic growth nationally, as the Narmada project illustrates. In India, it is a question of striving to achieve a balance between huge, national multimillion-dollar projects and small-scale local schemes, with the emphasis not necessarily on the former. Mexico City The environmentally and socially damaging effects of industrialization, combined with high rates of population and rapid urban growth, are starkly illustrated in Mexico City. Of all major cities in the less developed world, Mexico City must surely face the greatest environmental and social problems. In Bangkok we saw the adverse consequences of rapid growth and development in a country with a continuously high rate of economic growth, striving to achieve NIC status. In Mexico City we see the impact on urbanization processes of a rapidly rising population; a combination of high natural increase and continuing migration from rural areas. Population and Poverty Mexico City's 1991 population of over 19 million is expected to rise to 25 million by the year 2000, according to UN predictions. Even though the pace of demographic growth is slowing a little, to many who live in the city and to many more outside observers, the problems appear insurmountable. Mexico City's inhabitants also have to contend with the natural hazard of living in an earthquake-prone area. Records indicate that the city has been struck 122 times since 1460. The latest serious tremor in 1985 caused widespread death and destruction. Estimates of the total number of fatalities have varied from 10,000 to as many as 60,000. Over 45,000 homes were destroyed or severely damaged. Schools serving some 40,000 pupils were devastated and an estimated 40% of the city's hospital beds were put out of action. Floods are also a recurrent threat, as in Bangkok. But it is on the human side, in the social, economic, political and technical processes that contribute to urbanization, that Mexico City attracts the greatest attention as an "urban nightmare". Environmental disaster may be

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waiting in the wings in Bangkok, but it has arguably already assumed centre stage in Mexico City. A description of the social deprivation and environmental degradation in Mexico City is a catalogue of some of the worst ills of the "Third World" city. Housing conditions are poor; 40% of families live at densities of more than two per room, and 25% live in a "house" with only one room. Sanitation is substandard and waste disposal deficient, posing major health and pollution problems. Road traffic (there are now over 2.75 million vehicles in the city) is causing very serious congestion and air pollution, with smogs a frequent occurrence during the dry half of the year. Most significantly, Mexico City's industrial concentration of oil refineries, power stations and cement works adds considerably to the pollution and environmental hazards. The task facing the city's urban managers is formidable and, perhaps not surprisingly, much criticism is focused on government for incompetence and corruption. But some observers contend that, with more than five million being added to the city's population between 1980 and 1990, the local authorities and government agencies have accomplished a great deal in terms of increasing the number of homes with piped water and mains drainage, improving public transport and building new roads. Politics and Pollution Nevertheless, the crucial problems of ensuring continuous supplies of safe water and of progressively reducing air pollution levels remain unresolved, and appear indeed to border on the insoluble. Even an efficient city administration, able to lay its hands on the requisite funds, would have its work cut out to clean up the polluted skies. For here we encounter an all too familiar story, that of political conflict surrounding the control of pollution, and specifically the "dirty" industrial processes which give rise to it. There are two principal sources of air pollution: motor vehicles and heavy industry. Attempts to control the pollution caused by vehicles would be vigorously opposed by the motor industry. (It is the considerable political lobbying pressure of the motor industry in the industrially advanced nations, particularly the USA, that is hampering attempts to reach international agreement on how to tackle global warming.) They would also be opposed by those in government concerned with stimulating economic growth. For it has been the rapid growth of the motor vehicle industry during the past two decades that has contributed significantly to increasing Mexico's GNP. Efforts to impose controls on the major industrial polluters, who now contribute around 30% of the total air pollution, will also be bitterly contested. If legislation is introduced on the "polluter pays" principle and production costs rise (as they inevitably would), these will be passed on to the consumer, thus fuelling inflation. Mexico City appears to be facing insoluble problems because of rapid growth and increasing industrial concentration. Successive governments have all pursued the goal of urban and industrial deconcentration. They have set up rural-based commissions to stimulate agricultural development in the regions. They have also attempted to woo industry away from the city, offering tax incentives to companies willing to locate outside the metropolitan area. Well over 100 new industrial estates have been established throughout the country. But in practice, these schemes have had only limited success, as more and more activity has continued to locate in Mexico City's hinterland. As in Bangkok, but on a far larger scale, we see the conflict between much-needed economic growth and equally essential environmental safeguards.
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4. Sustainable Industrial Futures?


One of the principal lessons from the three case studies is that there are no simple explanations about environmental impact and deterioration in the less developed world. We cannot talk in terms of a single cause and effect, but only of multiple causes with a variety of effects. It is misguided to see all problems in terms of inappropriate development and industrialization emanating from the industrially advanced nations. Governments in the LDCs have to shoulder a share of the responsibility. The problem, as this chapter has sought to demonstrate, is that they are most often presented with very limited choices. The case studies demonstrate the challenges which developing nations face in trying to strike a balance between the need to industrialize and the increasing pressures from the international community to "safeguard" the environment. Their options are often heavily constrained. From whatever perspective we choose to explore these issues, whether it be neo-liberal, structural or environment-centred, the problems remain complex. There are always gaps (and sometimes yawning gulfs) between the rhetoric or theory and the reality, particularly the political economic reality. Neo-Liberal Ideology It is worth questioning the conventional wisdom that global environmental problems can be resolved within a dominant neo-liberal ideology of development, and that the capitalist system is sufficiently flexible to deal with environmental problems. Even so, neo-liberals such as Pearce have worked out practical proposals based on prices, which aim for sustainable development. Structuralist Framework Within the structuralist framework, the key is to acknowledge the need for structural change to reduce inequalities between nations. The Brundtland Report... can be read as a proposal to deal with inequalities between North and South, recognizing their mutual interests. The framework of welfare-based capitalism could adapt to the requirements of an economically and environmentally sustainable system. This would mean acknowledging and coping with the contradictions inherent in the concept of sustainable development. And this is something that neither the more radical structuralists nor the radical "deep" environmentalists are prepared to do. Radical structuralists appear to be strong on explanation and weak on practicality. The Marxist approach in particular offers a challenging and relevant analysis of the fundamental aspects of economic dependency in global development. The environment is not seen in isolation as some kind of "fetish". People, poverty and inequality are placed above the issues of the market place. Environmentally Centred Approach The followers of writers like E.F. Schumacher emphasize the need for "local" action and low-impact technology within an environmentally-centred approach. Such an approach has appeal. The case study of Dhanawas in India pointed up the significance of participation and "bottom-up" initiatives. But is "local" a realistic overriding context for tackling global environmental problems? Where is the political and economic realism?
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"Sustainable development is ultimately a local activity", writes Lloyd Timberlake (1988); "governments do not do development, people do". One may be cautiously optimistic about the movement (politically) of people to bring about change, but a lot has to happen. Habits of production and consumption in the industrialized North have got to change, and sooner rather than later. National aspirations and goals must be seen in a far wider, global context. The industrialized nations have got to clear up their own mess before expecting less developed countries to do likewise. Third World Views In all of this discussion, the view from the less developed world can easily be submerged. Many Third World critics continue to argue that the West has an immense historical debt to pay. The consequences of following the "conventional path" of economic development over 200 years of history has been disabling and dependency-creating for much of the developing world. These are manifested in rising debt, in structural adjustment programmes, in trade protectionist policies. The role of science and technology is seen by many not as "liberator" but as "destroyer". They point, in particular, to the huge annual expenditure on armaments. The end to the Cold War offered a chink of light that funds might be diverted away from military expenditure into a "peace dividend". But skeptics remain unconvinced, as there are still numerous wars being fought in various parts of the world. Many questions about "the environment" remain unanswered for the citizen of a less developed country, who does not have enough to eat and has no permanent place to live. ****

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