The issue of sustainability is very important for the growth and development of an economy. The most popular view of sustainability comes from the Brundtland Report of 1987 according to which development which meet the needs of present generation without compromising the needs of future generation is said to be sustainable. Sustainability is the capacity and ability to use the resources sensibly, prudently, judiciously and maintain their equilibrium. The sustainability perspective suggests that radical and proactive government policies and programmes are required to achieve economic development that is both socially just and ecologically sound and hence socially as well as ecologically desirable.
Every generation wants to get the greatest benefits from the available resources but such a thing would be quite terrible and catastrophic because the graph of available resources is downward sloping and convex thereby meaning that it is decreasing at an increasing rate and within a short span of time, most of the resources shall be exhausted and the present generation, in general, and future generations, in particular, will be deprived of such resources. We should, therefore, use our resources most judiciously so that a certain we are able to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the needs of future generations.
Adam Smith (1776) included in, “ The Wealth of Nation” the physical capital stock as well as human capital stock, the acquired and useful skills of individuals. We must protect the wealth of our nation. If we fail to protect IT, we can never achieve growth and development that is sustainable. If we fail to protect our animal wealth from human exploitation, we may lose our important species forever.
In such a case, we may fail the very purpose of sustainability and development because our coming generations would be deprived of much charm and beauty which we at present enjoy by savoring biological diversity. Even though, some resources are inexhaustible but we must not put them to wrong use. There is nothing bad about resource utilization but over or under use is a matter of concern. If we use our resources above its optimum level we will arrive at over utilization of resources. In case we use our resources below their optimum level , we will arrive at under-utilization of resources. There is no harm in using resources but we must ensure that its fertility and productivity is maintained , otherwise sooner or later it will be unsustainable.
In the same manner there is no harm in using land but we should see that its fertility is maintained otherwise sooner or later it will turn into a wasteland. Most of our mineral wealth is exhaustive in nature and as such must be used very judiciously. And, for that matter we must device systematic methods of recycling these resources so as to reuse them again.
Sustainability talks arguably depend more on the social and political institutions of a nation(Basu, 2012).Many of the basic doctrines or canons of our policy need to be redefined in the context of current global problems. The main aims and objectives of our macroeconomic policies and plans should include economic equilibrium or stability, distributional equity, both horizontal and vertical equity, comprehensive social goals and targets such as food security, income security, education, and universal health care, and the financial management and management of economic growth and development, both of them are interdependent as change in one affects the growth and development of the other.
There is an increasing acknowledgement that the achievement of social and environmental goals is both necessary as well as sufficient condition to environmental sustainability in general and economic development in particular. Traditionally, growth was considered as both means as well as end and it was considered be all and end all of life. Modern economists and growth theorists realized growth as a means and not an end in itself because the end being welfare of the society. Regarding economic growth, while earlier macroeconomic theorists generally supposed that there was nothing bad about growth or dreams about growth, ecological economists such as Herman Daly (1991) have suggested that limits should be set to economic growth and that a sustainable economic scale, rather than exponential growth, should be the goal of policy makers.
Most of our environmental sustainability and go green policies go wrong when it comes to implementation because of one fundamental flaw: a tendency to treat the law implementers- policemen, administrators and the bureaucrats as robots, who will carry out the task they are supposed to do mechanically and flawlessly. According to Basu (2012), whatever scheme, system or policy we suggest must have the property of being a ‘self-enforcing equilibrium.’
The societal and political beliefs that prevail in a society can strengthen or weaken the intrinsic tendency of human beings to be other-regarding. Social standards, norms and rules are like in-built restraints or chains, which ensure that certain activities that may be physically possible are, nonetheless, well-thought-out or considered of bounds, constraints and limits. All enemies can harm but only some harm. While framing any policy, we must take convincing, conclusive and realistic stock of the interests and innate tendencies of those who actually implement such policies. They can be subjective in nature because they can differ across societies. Automation or Mechanization is not the solution to success of any policy or programme or even the issue of sustainability. In order to design policies right and achieve sustainable development goals we cannot go mechanistic or robotic but we must be well acquainted with the society we are dealing with and the tendencies of the people of this society. There must be a good interaction of people with their environment and society because such interaction will promote sustainability while as bad interaction of people with their environment and society will hamper sustainability.
The theoreticians and experts of a new macroeconomics and growth and development economics, in general, and sustainability, in particular, should emphasize upon a comprehensive perspective that asks what macroeconomic policy , , in general and fiscal policy , in particular, can achieve in the areas of distribution of income, output and employment, social equity, and ecological sustainability. A “sustainable eco-friendly approach” is needed that will answer such socially relevant question. The goal should be to provide a theoretical as well as a practical basis for the reorientation of macroeconomic sustainable development policy at the national and international levels, connecting efforts to promote local-level sustainability, on the one hand, and domestic-level and worldwide-level sustainability , on the other hand. Such a broad goal will definitely promote equity with “greening” and streamlining sustainable development institutions, particularly multilateral. In any policy what is all important is people-environment setting. Realization of such a setting is success of any policy.
Basu, K. (2012).The Rise of the Indian Economy: Fiscal, Monetary and Other Policy Challenges. Rivista Italiana degli Economisti (Journal of the Italian Economic Association).
Daly, Herman. (1991).Elements of Environmental Macroeconomics.Chapter3in Costanza ed.Ecological Economics: The Science and Management of Sustainability. New York: Columbia University Press.
The author is a Research Scholar at the Department of Economics, Central University of Kashmir , an Academic Counselor, IGNOU STUDY CENTRE 1209,S.P. College, Srinagar; and Editor in EPH – International Journal of Business and Management Science & Asian Journal of Managerial Science. She is also the IJRULA title awards, 2018 winner (Best Researcher, 2018) and can be reached at: [email protected]