Sei sulla pagina 1di 17

T hir d W orl d Quarterly, Vo l 19 , No 4, pp 771 ± 786 , 199 8

d W orl d Quarterly, Vo l 19 , No 4, pp 771 ± 786 ,

S u stai n abl e de v el o pm en t an d A g en da 2 1 : t he sec u la r b ib le of g lo ba l f r ee m ar k et s an d p lu r alis t d em o cr ac y

T IM O T H Y D O Y L E

A BSTRAC T T hi s pape r provide s a critiqu e of sustaina bl e develop m en t an d A gend a 21 fro m a variet y of standpoints . A gend a 21 Ð forge d in th e R io de

Janier o `Eart h

m ent s in clos e associati on w it h larg e transnationa l corpora tions) . M uc h of th e environ m enta l m ove m en t w as co-opte d int o thi s proces s an d remain s profoun dl y w eakene d by it s continue d involve m ent . A gend a 21 sell s a visio n of globa l ecolog y w hic h de ®ne s th e m ajo r proble m s of th e Eart h in Northern elit e an d

scienti ®c term s (globa l w ar m ing , populat io n gro w th , specie s extinction ) w hil e largel y ignorin g th e ke y environ m enta l issue s as de ®ne d by th e m ajorit y of th e people , bot h in th e Nort h an d th e South . 1 A gend a 21 ha s als o bee n successfu l in sellin g a concep t of sustaina bl e develop m en t w hic h continue s to pro m ot e th e

industri alisatio n

Su m m it ’ in 1992 Ð w as shape d largel y by Northern elite s (govern -

E nlighten m en t goal s of progress throug h econo m ic gro w th an d

at al l costs . B ut it is w orse tha n this : it als o advance s th e globalis atio n of radica l libertari an marke t syste m s, alon g w it h US styl e `apolitic al ’ pluralis t

syste m s of democra cy . T he pape r conclude s w it h th e

develop m en t an d A gend a 21 nee d to be rejecte d ou t of han d by environ m ental -

ists.

poin t tha t bot h sustaina bl e

E nvironm entalis m ha s challenge d `business as usual ’ politic s m or e tha n an y othe r socia l m ove m en t in th e lat e 20t h century . T he fea r fo r environ m entalists , ho w ever , is tha t thi s challeng e is yesterda y’ s reality . Th e ® rs t principl e of A gend a 21 begins : `H uma n being s ar e at th e centr e of concern s fo r sustainab le develop ment ’ . 2 A gend a 21 is th e sustainab le develop m en t bible . It s co m mand - m ent s of sustainab le develop m en t hav e successfu ll y m anage d to co-opt, w eake n an d almos t co m pletel y dismantl e activ e environ menta l critique s of existin g politica l an d marke t syste m s. Interesti ngly , w hil e thi s `vision ’ is activel y sol d acros s th e glob e in th e interest s of an U S-le d `ne w w orl d order ’ , it is strangely m issin g fro m th e interna l politica l debat e of th e U nite d S tates . W agak i M w angi , a represen tativ e of th e N airobi-b ase d Internat iona l Yout h E nvironm en t an d D evelop m en t organisa tio n su m m ed up th e Unite d N ation s Confere nc e on E nvironm en t an d D evelopm en t ( U NCED ) experien ce nicely :

Timoth y Doyl e is in th e M aw so n Graduat e Centr e fo r Environmental Studies, University of A delaide, A delaide, Sout h A ustrali a 5005 , A ustralia; e-mai l , tdoyle@ arts.adel aide.edu.a u

TIM O TH Y DO Y LE

T hose of us w ho hav e w atche d th e proces s hav e sai d tha t UNCED ha s failed . A s youth w e be g to differ . M ultination al corporat ions , th e Unite d States , Japan , th e

W orl d Bank , T he Internati ona l Monetar y Fun d hav e go t aw ay w it h wha t the y

al w ay s wanted , carvin g ou t a

UNCED ha s ensure d increase d dominat io n by thos e w ho alread y hav e po w er . W ors e

stil l it ha s robbe d th e poo r of th e littl e po w er the y had . It ha s mad e the m victi m s of a marke t econo m y tha t ha s thu s fa r threatene d ou r planet . A mids t elaborat e cocktails , travellin g an d partying , fe w negotiat or s realise d ho w critica l thei r deci - sion s ar e to ou r generati on . B y failin g to addres s suc h fundame nta l issue s as

m ilitaris m , regulatio n of transnati ona l corporat ions , democra tisatio n of th e inter - nationa l ai d agencie s an d inequita bl e ter m s of trade , m y generati on ha s bee n dam ned. 3

bette r an d m or e co m fortabl e futur e fo r themselv es ¼

`N ature ’ is ofte n sociall y construc te d and , on occasion s, ther e ar e dimensi on s of existenc e w hic h m ay reasonab ly li e outsid e huma n contro l (an d eve n understa nd - ing) . T he balanc e betwee n th e advocac y of hu m an agenc y an d th e handin g ove r to an `other ’ forc e is a subtl e one . Bu t on e goo d thin g abou t th e Clu b of Ro m e an d othe r earl y neo- M althusia n Eart h astronau ts an d sailor s (th e E art h ha s bee n

portray ed

thei r belie f tha t th e Eart h w as ® nite . D espit e thei r failur e to understa nd th e socia l

m echanic s of life Ð an d thei r denia l of suc h indicator s as race , clas s an d gender Ð thei r `li m it s to growth ’ argu m ent s w er e successfu ll y used , on occasions , to challeng e th e do m inan t Enlight en m en t idea l of progress, w hic h coul d onl y ultimatel y be sustaine d by pursuin g industri al an d technolo gica l gro w th w hereve r an d wheneve r, at al l costs . D urin g th e lat e 1960 s an d up unti l th e earl y 1980 s so m e of thes e doo m sday , li m its-to-g ro w th argume nt s w er e successfu ll y utilise d to attac k certai n develop m en t interest s whic h w er e involve d in w ide - sprea d environ m enta l degradat ion . T her e wer e so m e goo d w in s fo r environ m entalist s durin g thi s period , thoug h piece m ea l an d short-li ved . Business interests , in thei r rejectio n of environ menta l argume nts , suffere d so m e seriou s losse s during . 4 Hug h M organ , CEO of W estern M ining , on e of A ustralia ’ s larges t m inin g co m panies , w rote :

in ter m s of spaceshi ps an d lifeboats ) w as tha t the y w er e explicit in

W e ar e barel y holdin g ou r groun d in thi s ideologic al w ar . A lthoug h w e ar e no t

retreating , ye t we ar e no t w inning . W e nee d ne w strategie s to revers e th e tid e tha t

is currentl y m ovin g strongl y agains t us . 5

A s th e 1980 s w or e on environ m enta l antagoni sts looke d to othe r les s con ¯ ictua l m ean s of securin g thei r futur e po w er . N o longe r di d man y business interest s acros s th e glob e den y th e existenc e of environ m enta l damag e caused , in part , to thei r ow n m alpractice s. Thei r plo y changed : to bea t th e environ m entalist s at thei r ow n ga m e (bu t on ne w ly de ® ne d term s an d agendas ); to subver t the m , to divid e the m , to supplan t the m , to appear to be greene r tha n th e green . A w hol e rang e of strategie s w as use d an d onl y a fe w ca n be m entione d here . Business interest s em ploye d person s to serv e on `think- tanks ’ w hic h produce d counterv ailin g m essage s an d deploye d argu m ent s w hic h em phasise d `interna l’ w eaknesse s w ithi n bot h environ mentalis ms an d environ menta l move m ents . In addition ,

m an y gree n argu m ent s

w er e refra m ed , largel y by business, w ithi n a discourse

w hic h revolve d aroun d th e ke y concep t of sustainab le developm ent .

772

SU ST A IN A BL E DE VE LO PME N T A N D A G EN DA 21

Befor e th e centra l argume nt continue s it is necessar y to discus s brie ¯ y ho w larg e businesses an d corpora tion s exhibi t so m uc h po w er ove r environ menta l concern s. 6 Traditi ona l critica l analyse s w oul d centr e on th e fac t tha t business

interest s ar e si m pl y co-opti ng environ m enta l languag e in a bi d to increas e thei r po w er . S om e woul d advocat e a deliberat e, instru m enta l po w er pla y on behal f of

m ajo r brokers; others , of a m or e structur al bent , w ould si m pl y sa y tha t thi s is th e natur e of processe s an d routine s involve d in th e product io n of capital . In recen t time s thes e m or e oppositiona l vie w s of `o w ner s of m ode s of product ion ’ versu s `th e rest ’ (o r th e goodie s versu s th e baddies ) hav e bee n question ed on a nu m be r of ground s by thos e advocati ng mor e poststru ctural / post m oder n position s on th e deploy m en t an d distribu tio n of power . F irst , it is argue d tha t busines s interest s ar e neithe r uni ® ed , no r necessari ly explicit ; so ho w , therefor e, coul d the y co-opt? S econd Ð an d thi s follo w s on fro m th e

® rst Ð tha t th e distincti on s bet w ee n th e interest s of th e business com m unity ,

environ m entalists , othe r sectors Ð includin g th e stat e itself Ð ar e no w increasin gl y

blurre d in thi s er a of corpora tis m . F inally , it is suggeste d tha t powe r doe s no t necessari ly hav e to clas h in dualisti c confron tations . Rather , it is m ulti-dire c- tional , disperse d through ou t society . D espit e so m e descripti ve advantag es of thi s mode l of power , on th e negativ e sid e ther e ar e man y w eaknesse s in thes e argu m ent s w he n aske d to prescrib e futur e action s w hic h questio n th e po w er of capita l as a class , m os t obviously

m anifeste d in th e operatio ns of larg e corporat ions . S om e `ne w philosop hers ’

hav e use d F oucault ’ s w or k to discoun t th e possibili ty of an y rea l chang e in th e distribu tio n of powe r am on g people . 7 Le t us no t forge t as w e juggl e th e subtl e strength s an d w eaknesse s of structur al versu s poststru ctura l percepti on s of th e deploym en t of po w er , tha t m os t peopl e in th e Nort h operat e everyda y unde r th e notio n tha t th e pluralis t syste m of powe r is no t a m ode l at all , bu t si m pl y th e realit y whic h the y liv e under . Th e pluralis t de m ocrati c syste m , describe d in mor e

detai l late r in thi s paper , advocate s tha t ever y citize n ha s equa l acces s to power ,

w it h no addition al po w er give n to an y speci ® c interes t grou p or sectio n of

society . It doe s no t accep t tha t larg e corpora tion s hav e a privileg ed positio n

to w ard s th e state , 8 le t alon e tha t the y ofte n dictat e ter m s, or eve n tha t the y ar e

so m etime s indisting uishable fro m th e state . If w e partl y accept , as S tephe n Bel l argues , tha t `th e w hole w orld ha s no w beco m e a capitalis t syste m ’ Ð `wit h it s capacit y to terrorise an d disciplin e

nationa l governm ent s throug h currenc y depreciat io n or capita l ¯ ight ’ 9 Ð then w e

m us t no t be afrai d increasin gl y to vie w th e interest s of larg e corpora tion s an d

business

ti m e, no t overe m phasis e thei r unity . T hei r po w er , despit e it s im m ensity , ca n als o

be quit e fragile . 10

interest s as , if no t th e sa m e, the n ver y si m ilar . W e m ust , at th e sam e

Th e em ergenc e of su stai n abl e d evelo p m en t

G ro w th is th e engin e of chang e an d th e frien d of th e environm en t Presiden t G eorg e Bus h

T her e hav e bee n m an y w ork s w hic h investiga te th e sustainab le developm en t

notion . D urin g th e 1980 s an d 1990 s it becam e a `buzz w ord ’ an d inevitabl y

773

TIM O TH Y DO Y LE

`unde r suc h circu m stances , it lack s unifor m de ® nitio n an d substance ’ . 11 T here is no monolit hi c vie w of thi s m oder n sy m bol , as ther e is no unifor m percepti on as to w ha t constitu te s th e sy m bo l environ m ent . Lik e othe r gree n symbols, it ha s bee n use d to advocat e radica l an d increme nta l environ m enta l change . Further -

m ore , it ha s bee n use d by business to under m in e an d attac k environ m entalists .

It s de ® nitio n is both am orphou s an d am biguous. Indee d th e continue d currenc y

of sustainab le developm en t largel y derive s fro m `th e w ay it ca n be use d to suppor t thes e varyin g agendas ’ . 12

W hil e acceptin g th e existenc e an d validit y of thes e divers e interpre tations , it

m us t be sai d tha t a do m inan t readin g of sustaina bl e develop m en t is tha t w hic h

ha s bee n sol d by a disperse d arra y of business interest s an d advance d industri al

nation-s tates . Bede r w rites :

S ustainabl e developm en t is no t abou t givin g priorit y to environm enta l concerns, it is abou t incorpo ratin g environ m enta l asset s int o th e econo m ic syste m to ensur e th e sustainabi lit y of th e economi c syste m . S ustainabl e developm en t encompa sse s th e ide a tha t th e los s of environm enta l am enit y ca n be substitute d fo r by w ealt h creation ; tha t puttin g a pric e on th e environ m en t w il l hel p us protec t it unles s degradi ng it is m or e pro ® table ; tha t th e `free ’ m arke t is th e bes t w ay of allocatin g environ menta l resources ; tha t businesse s shoul d bas e thei r decision s abou t pollutin g behavio ur on economi c consider ation s an d th e quest fo r pro ® t; tha t economi c gro w th is necessar y fo r environm enta l protecti on an d therefor e shoul d tak e priorit y over it. 13

It is thi s versio n of sustainab le develop m en t w hic h inform s th e ensuin g argu -

m

ents . F or it is in thi s vei n tha t sustainab le developm en t ha s manage d to plac e

th

e econo m ic im perativ e ® rml y ove r th e ecologica l. P ar t of it s appea l is tha t

environ m enta l goal s ca n

ar e told , it is actuall y `goo d business’ to pursu e `bes t environ menta l

practices ’ . U nlik e th e neo- M althusian s, ho w ever , sustainab le developm en t

throw s ou t th e li m it s to gro w th argu m ents . W hil e ther e m ay stil l be limite d biota , sustaina bl e develop m ent , th e ke y gospe l of A gend a 21 , tell s us that , throug h increase d ef ® cienc y an d effective nes s in product ion , thes e biophysica l li m it s

ca n be bypassed. In thi s vein , sustainab le develop m en t re m ove s humanit y

fro m natur e in a w ay w hic h is m or e co m plet e tha n th e `unrest raine d exploitat io n

an d expansionis m ’ 14 w hic h ha s do m inate d th e plane t sinc e th e Industria l

Revolution , unti l it s challeng e fro m th e Doo m sdayer s in th e 1960s. W ha t make s

be achieve d alongside econo m ic goals . In fact , w e

it

mor e dangero us is it s lac k of explicitne ss , it s exquisit e us e of language , it s

O

rw ellia n doubles peak . W hil e th e unrestra ine d exploitat io n of th e earlie r

E nlighten men t projec t place d hu m anit y (m an ) separat e an d in aggressi ve

oppositio n to

no t recognis e it : it leave s `nature ’ of f th e agenda . A nd w herea s th e neo -

M althusian s question ed absolut e limits , sustainab le developm en t denie s thei r

existence . Interesti ngly , althoug h ther e ar e so m e importa nt differe nces , th e sustainab le

an instru m enta l nature , sustaina bl e develop m en t simpl y doe s

develop men t vie w of nature , or lac k thereof , is no t dissi m ila r to th e tradition al

M arxis t line . 15 In a socialis t transitio n, th e proletar ia t w er e to gai n contro l ove r

774

SU ST A IN A BL E DE VE LO PME N T A N D A G EN DA 21

resourc es an d thei r ow n labour . A fte r thi s transitio n, by overtur nin g capitalis m ’ s inef ® ciencie s an d w aste , socialis m `coul d spu r th e gro w th process: outdoin g capitalis m at it s ow n ga m e’ . 16 S ustainabl e develop m en t construc ts al l environ men t `proble m s’ as ef ® cienc y

issues, w hic h

includ e bein g technol ogically , economi cally , organisa tionally , educatio nall y an d

politicall y m or e ef ® cient . On e of th e associate d concept s whic h ha s emerge d as par t of thi s ideolog y is multiple -us e (so m eti m es referre d to as w is e use )

usin g thi s m ode l argu e tha t m os t environ -

m enta l processe s ar e reversib le , an d tha t al l sector s of societ y ca n pursu e divers e

goal s fo r resourc e us e w ithou t unnecess ar y con ¯ ict . A ll tha t it take s to succee d is tha t con ¯ ictin g sector s produc e en d position s base d on co m pro m is e an d negotiat ion . T he current RA MSA R Conven tio n is an excellen t exa m ple . Thi s conventi on is an internati ona l m echanis m designe d fo r th e protecti on of w etland s of inter - nationa l im portance . It s ow n pro m otiona l m aterial s describ e it as `a ¯ agshi p fo r

de m onstrati ng bes t practic e m anage m en t an d w is e us e of

A ustralia n context , conserva tiv e govern m ents Ð bot h stat e an d federal Ð hav e

plannin g. E nviron m enta l m anager s

hav e to be manage d m or e effective ly . Thes e m anage m en t issue s

w etlands ’ . 17 In the

em brace d thi s conventi on , ho w eve r ¯ awed . It s m ultiple-u se goal s ar e business- friendl y an d are , in part , designe d to co-op t an d w eake n th e w orl d heritag e listin g process. T wo suc h w etland s m anage m en t `round tables ’ hav e bee n create d to focu s on

th e futur e of th e S out h Australi a’ s Coongi e Lake s syste m an d on th e Cooron g,

at th e mout h of A ustralia ’ s larges t river , th e M urray . T hes e m anage m en t regi m es

ar e goin g to be use d as bluepri nt s fo r ove r 50 m ajo r w etland s ecosyste ms in

A ustrali a in th e ensuin g years . RAMSA R ha s enor m ou s weaknesses . In tru e

pluralis t ter m s, al l interes t group s ar e perceive d as stakehol ders , w hil e th e

govern m en t perceive s itsel f as an objectiv e middl e person , atte m ptin g to provid e

a

working co m pro m is e betwee n differe nt T he proble m s w it h thi s approac h ar e

set s of values . fourfo ld . First , th e RA MSAR process

re

m ains , at leas t at a sy m boli c level , a corporat is t exercise , designe d fo r

quieteni ng oppositi on an d co-opti ng m or e radical , non-go vern m enta l strategies . S econd , as w it h mos t simplisti c derivatio ns of pluralis t m odels , it ignore s th e

po w er differen tial s bet w een , fo r exampl e (i n th e cas e of Coongi e Lakes ) m inin g

an d pastora l interest s versu s environ m entalists ’ concerns . T her e is so m e evi -

denc e tha t pastorali st s an d th e S out h A ustralia n governm en t ha d alread y mad e infor m al agree m ent s befor e th e roundta bl e w as complete d. In addition , aborigi -

na l interests , despit e appearin g as an equa l slic e on th e pie-char t of th e

diagram m ati c roundta ble , ar e rarel y adequatel y consulte d. T hird , to im agin e a situatio n w her e ou r polit y is a sy m boli c roundta ble , w it h clearl y de ® ne d sector s denotin g differe nt stakeholders , is no t only simplisti c, bu t anti-ecol ogical . E cologica l concern s cros s th e border s of othe r sectors : tourism , tradition al peoples , m ining , pastorali sm , etc . In thi s narro w sectora l vie w , th e environ m en t is merel y see n as an external , instru m enta l reality , consistin g largel y of bird s an d othe r non-hu m ans . F inally , th e RAMSA R corpora tis t proces s

`m anufactu re nature ’ in economi c rationali st ter m s. A ll interest s ar e

tradeabl e com m oditie s w hic h ca n be bough t an d sold to th e highes t bidder . Ther e

ca n only

775

TIM O TH Y DO Y LE

is littl e plac e fo r argu m ent s pertainin g to th e intrinsic valu e of existenc e here . T her e is no environ m enta l crisi s or serie s of crise s w ithi n th e sustainab le develop ment , m ultiple-u se equation s, as thes e hing e on th e belie f tha t hu m an s ar e externa l to nature , an d tha t natur e is simpl y a collectio n of instru m enta l resourc es fo r huma n use . Piece m ea l chang e is al l tha t is eve r necessary . S o m ino r change s to la w s an d legislatio n ar e al l tha t ar e usuall y dee m ed appropr i- ate. W he n peopl e ar e see n as par t of th e sustaina bl e develop m en t equatio n the y

ar e see n as an `enviro nmenta l security ’ issue . P eopl e ar e stil l no t par t of th e environ m ent ; the y ar e simpl y user s or , in th e cas e of th e poor , degrade rs . S om e sustaina bl e develop m en t econo m ist s argu e tha t environ m enta l securit y lead s to

nationa l securit y w hic h

m en t vie w of th e m or e af ¯ uen t nation s of th e glob e (sy m bolicall y referre d to her e as th e N orth ) stil l contend s tha t th e povert y of th e S out h ha s cause d an d continue s to creat e environ m enta l degradat ion . In 199 0 th e U nite d N ation s H um an D evelop m en t Repor t argue d tha t povert y is on e of th e greates t threat s to th e environ m en t and , in 1993 , th e Internat iona l M onetar y Fun d ( IMF ) an- nounce d: `Pover ty an d th e environ m en t ar e linke d in tha t th e poo r ar e mor e

likel y to resor t to activitie s tha t ca n degrad e th e environ m ent ’ . 21 T her e ar e tw o ke y problem s wit h thi s lin e of argu m ent . F irst , al l poo r people ar e regarde d in an ho m ogeneou s fashion . In an articl e by Broa d on th e P hilippine s’ environ -

m enta l m ove m ent , an importa nt

betw een types of poverty an d environ m enta l degradat ion . 22 Broa d separate s th e

`m erel y poor ’ an d th e `very , ver y poor ’ . F unda m entally , th e for m er categor y ar e thos e stil l operatin g subsistenc e lifestyle s (thoug h unde r threat ) an d thos e w ho hav e bee n recentl y remove d fro m thi s lifestyle . T he latte r categor y ar e th e `landles s an d rootless ’ . T hes e hav e no securit y of tenur e an d littl e connecte d- nes s to place . Thi s categor y include s thos e peasant s an d squatter s w ho surviv e by cuttin g fores t cover , by consumi ng w ildlif e an d by plantin g crop s on soil s w hic h w il l erode . S econd , som e sustainab le developm en t theorist s fai l to w eig h up th e cost s of advance d industri alis m on a globa l scale ; no t jus t withi n th e bounda rie s of nation-s tates . Issue s of overcon su m ptio n in th e N orth Ð an d by th e N orth Ð can - no t be underest im ated . Th e fac t is tha t th e US A an d Japa n togethe r represen t 40 % of th e w orld ’ s Gross N ationa l P roduct . 21 Y et despit e th e fac t tha t it is nonsense, th e `enviro nm enta l degradin g by poo r

people ’ in th e S out h re m ain s a grav e concer n to

advocati ng `globa l ecology ’ and , as a conseque nce , seein g itsel f as inevitabl y havin g to shar e th e Earth ’ s essentia l surviva l m echanis m s w it h th e South . T he N ort h no w portray s th e m ajo r proble m s of th e S outh as specie s extincti on ,

globa l cli m at e change , deserti ® cation , th e internati ona l shortag e of fres h water , an d overpop ulation . 24 N eedles s to say , thes e ar e no t issue s hig h on th e environ -

T hir d W orld . O the r

m enta l agend a as de ® ne d by m os t people

issue s of m or e im mediat e surviva l dominat e. In a provoca tiv e boo k entitle d T ear s of th e Crocodil e , M oyo et al. , argu e tha t th e develop ed w orl d ha s m anage d to dives t itsel f of it s responsibilit y fo r th e globa l environ men t by m ovin g th e aren a `a w ay fro m peopl e an d ont o things , forces ’ . T he y w rite :

776

lead s to econo m ic gro w th . 18 Thi s sustainab le develop -

distincti on is mad e regardi ng th e connecti on s

th e N orth , w hic h is no w

livin g in th e

SU ST A IN A BL E DE VE LO PME N T A N D A G EN DA 21

In shor t th e developi ng w orl d fo r th e ® rs t time , is bein g aske d to be an equa l partne r in a world- w id e endeavou r precisel y because th e emphasi s ha s shifte d awa y fro m th e need s of th e poor . By advancing an environ m enta l agend a th e Nort h ha s onc e m or e concentrate d on it s ow n interest s an d ha s calle d the m globalism . 23

Centra l to increasi ng thi s environ m enta l ef ® cienc y an d environ m enta l securit y is th e `unfette ring ’ of th e m arke t plac e fro m th e bothers om e leftove r ¯ otsa m an d jetsa m of `planne d economi es ’ . T hi s entail s th e globalisa tio n of bot h radica l libertari an fre e m arket s an d U S pluralist / corpora tis t politica l m odel s of po w er distribu tion . Redclif t w rites :

S ustainabl e develop m ent , if it is to be an alternativ e to unsustain abl e developm ent , shoul d im pl y a brea k w it h th e linea r m ode l of gro w th an d accu m ulatio n tha t

planet ’ s lif e suppor t syste m s. D evelopme nt is

to o closel y associate d in ou r mind s w it h wha t ha s occurre d in wester n capitalis t

ulti m atel y serve s to undermi ne th e

societie s in th e past , an d

a handfu l of peripher al capitalis t societie s today . 24

F ree- m ar k et en viro n m en talis m

A da m Sm ith ’ s invisibl e han d ca n hav e a gree n thum b 25

Presiden t Bil l Clinto n

T ha t leave s us

w it h an uncomf ortabl e question : w her e ha s it

been ?

T im

D oyle

In essence , fre e m arke t environ mentalis m refer s to an approac h defende d by a

certai n schoo l of environ m enta l or resourc e economi st s w ho argu e tha t mos t

(ideall y all ) of ou r environ m enta l proble m s ca n be solve d by th e creatio n an d

enforce men t of tradeabl e propert y right s in environm enta l `goods ’ an d `bads ’ ¼ [T he y argu e against ] co m man d an d control ’ solution s or `stat e environm entalism ’ (tha t is governm en t regulati on ) w hic h the y se e as leadin g to th e `political ’ (an d henc e inef ® cient ) allocatio n of environ m enta l resources . 26

F re e m arke t `green ’ economi cs lie s at th e hear t of sustaina bl e develop m en t an d A gend a 21 . It is no t fashiona bl e to questio n radica l libertari anis m an d it s

associate d

de m ocrati c stat e w as value d to m onito r th e excesse s of an anti-soc ia l m inorit y (suc h as poo r an d irrespon sibl e business practices ), no w th e radica l libertaria n approac h dictate s tha t suc h govern m en t `interfe rence ’ is actuall y degradi ng to th e environ men t an d that Ð as aforesai dÐ goo d business is goo d fo r th e environ - m ent . T hank s to thi s rationale , m uc h environ menta l legislatio n an d m an y nationa l environ m enta l protecti on agencie s hav e bee n gutte d in recen t times . F urther m ore , m an y of thes e agencie s hav e change d thei r focu s fro m m onitori ng industri al excesse s to actuall y helpin g business jum p throug h th e regulato ry hoops. In thi s vie w , libera l de m ocrati c societ y is dead . Ther e ar e no ground s w ithi n thi s ideolog y fo r publi c healt h care ; suppor t fo r th e homeles s an d th e underpr ivi - leged ; provisio n of non-pr o® t inspire d internati ona l aid ; or protecti on of th e environ m en t fo r purposes othe r tha n `bes t practic e m anageme nt ’ . A ll w hic h w as

th e mo m ent . W herea s onc e a libera l

free-ma rke t econo m ic s at

onc e societ y is no w portraye d as an amalga m of individu als Ð or rathe r investor s an d consume rs Ð eac h on e pursuing hi s or he r disperse d an d disparat e need s in

777

TIM O TH Y DO Y LE

th e m arke t place . A ll th e public losse s ar e justi ® ed by argu m ent s of privat e gains.

th e othe r hand , is pre m ise d on th e

T he classica l libera l philoso phy , on

assu m ptio n tha t thei r exist s an anti-soci al (i n thi s context , on e

environ m entall y degradi ng ) m inority , w hil e th e m ajorit y of citizen s w il l perfor m

responsibly . Consequ ently , libera l politica l theorist s hav e lon g argue d tha t govern m ent s hav e a rol e in m onitori ng th e publicl y ow ne d com m ons , by

decidin g w ho gain s acces s an d in w ha t circumst ances . Thei r radica l libertaria n

`free- m arket ’ counter part s

th e com m on s is publi c ow nership . T he y conten d tha t th e co m mon s mus t be split up by privat e ownership , an d it s protectiv e bounda rie s mus t be remove d. A ll previou sl y believe d `fre e goods’ in th e com m on s m us t no w be deleted . A ll external itie s m us t no w be include d int o th e econo m ic , privat e ow nershi p equa -

tion . Fre e marke t economi st s believ e tha t thi s is a m os t positiv e step . F orests , fo r exa m ple , ca n no w be `valued ’ fo r mor e tha n jus t w oo d value . O the r value s ca n no w be include d int o th e equation s, includi ng wilderne ss an d w hol e ecosyste m product s, w it h projecte d futur e value s als o added . T he negatives , ho w ever , fa r out w eig h th e m or e im mediatel y recognis abl e `positiv es ’ . A ll value s ar e no w econo m ic ; ther e is nothin g consider ed as existin g outsid e th e m arket : T he eart h cease s to be a co m mons Ð a plac e fo r all , bot h hu m an an d non-hu m an Ð bu t beco m es a serie s of privatel y ow ne d co m m odities . T hi s unfetter ed syste m return s us to th e barbaric , inequita bl e an d m isunderstoo d econo m ic s of A dam ’ s S m ith ’ s `fre e hand ’ of th e market . T hroug h th e pursuit of thes e approac hes , th e ga p bet w ee n th e poo r an d th e m or e af ¯ uen t is gettin g greate r ever y year . T hi s

ga p

is no t im agined . Eve n th e radica l libertaria ns ackno w ledg e thi s fact . F or

exa m ple , in Jul y 199 6 th e U nite d N ation s D evelop m en t P rogra m ( UN D P )Ð anothe r Brundtl and-styl e internati ona l agenc y sellin g sustainab le developm en t

develop ment ’ repor t w it h th e follo w -

w orld w ide Ð bega n it s `sustaina bl e ing words:

argue , ho w ever , tha t th e proble m w it h thi s theor y of

w hic h is

hu m an

T he globa l ga p bet w ee n th e ric h an d th e

trend s continue , economi c

m ov e fro m inequitab le to inhuman . 27

poo r is w idenin g everyda y ¼ If presen t

disparitie s bet w ee n industria l an d developi ng nation s w il l

Bu t wha t do th e sustaina bl e develope rs an d A gend a 21 disciple s advocat e in a bi d to attac k thi s problem ? M or e econo m ic gro w th ! Th e repor t continue s: `M or e econo m ic growth w il l be neede d to advanc e huma n develop m ent , particula rl y fo r thos e w ho m gro w th ha s faile d in th e past ’ . In short, thi s increase d co m petitio n w il l lea d to mor e econo m ic growth . O n thi s occasion , ho w ever , gro w th w il l be furthe r unfetter ed by dissoluti on of internati ona l trad e barriers , usin g suc h N orther n device s as th e G enera l A gree m en t on T ariff s an d T rad e ( G AT T )-inspir ed W orl d T rad e O rganizati on ( W TO ), th e IM F , th e Worl d Ban k an d th e M ultilatera l A greemen t on Investm en t ( MA I ). T he las t thre e deserv e specia l mentio n here . M uc h of thi s radica l libertari an economi c debat e ha s le d to th e privatisa tio n of socia l responsibility . In 199 2 a W orl d Ban k repor t argue d tha t th e transfe r of stat e industri es an d service s to privat e ow nershi p `i n itsel f im prove s econo m ic ef ® ciency ’ . 28 Bria n M arti n argue s that , by develop in g econo m etri c model s to justif y it s beliefs , th e IMF an d th e W orld Ban k `entirel y exclud e th e testi m on y of

778

SU ST A IN A BL E DE VE LO PME N T A N D A G EN DA 21

th

e people affected , reducin g thei r experien ce to algebrai c gobbled egook ’ . 29

M

arti n goe s on to lis t severa l instance s of environ m enta l degradat io n in th e

S out h cause d by thes e N orther n radica l libertari an interpre tations . T hes e include :

th e loosenin g of control s on foreig n loggin g co m panie s to promot e ti m be r

exports an d thu s deb t repayme nt , resultin g in w idesprea d fores t destructi on in

an d A sia ; an d th e releas e of w orker s fro m state-o w ne d co m pa -

nies , leadin g to massiv e m igratio n int o wilderne ss area s to establis h subsistenc e landholding s in Bolivi a an d Brazil . 30 O f course , ther e ar e fe w bette r exa m ple s of globa l free-ma rke t econo m ic solution s bein g peddle d by th e Nort h tha n ha s occurre d in th e cas e of Indonesia .

S out h A m eric a

T he dra m ati c cras h of th e Indonesia n rupiah , losin g 75 % of it s valu e in 1997 ±98 ,

le d to a rang e of `bail-ou t’ initiative s bein g proposed by a coalitio n of U S an d

IMF interests . Rathe r tha n focusin g on th e urgen t an d necessar y restoratio n of

m uc h of th e valu e of th e rupiah , th e IMF pro m ise d ® sca l assistanc e w it h on e

hand , w hil e de m andin g furthe r `liberati on ’ of th e loca l market s wit h th e other .

T her e ca n be no doub t tha t th e Indonesia n econo m y an d it s environ m en t hav e

suffere d at th e hand s of th e lon g dictators hi p of S uharto , w it h al l it s associate d cronyism an d nepotis m . W ha t ha s furthe r contribu te d to th e Indonesia n crisis , ho w ever , w as th e prio r globalisi ng an d `freein g up ’ of it s m arketplac es . A m on g

nu m erou s outco m es , thi s proces s le d to vas t outbrea ks of

currenc y speculati on

by predo m inantl y N orther n trader s w hich , in turn , resulte d in outrage ousl y hig h

in

¯ atio n an d unempl oyment . U nfortun ately , increase d technol ogica l advance -

m

ent s (fo r exa m ple , electroni c or virtua l currenc y trading ) facilitati ng th e rapi d

transfe r of capita l betwee n nation-s tates , ha d w eakene d Indonesia ’ s capacit y to discipli ne it s econo m ic affairs . By denyin g th e contribu tio n of thes e effects , an d by overcon centratin g on th e `negative s’ of th e Indonesia n econom y an d culture ,

the IMF ha s furthe r exacerba te d th e `A sia n crisis ’ . W ha t is w orse , ho w ever , is th e

rene w ed vigou r w it h w hic h th e

Indone sia n societ y in th e w ak e of th e `crisis ’ . Am on g it s proposals is a tw o-third s reductio n of th e publi c sector , relegatin g m an y essentia l environ m en -

IMF is pushin g fo r furthe r deregula tio n of

ta

l infrastr uctura l project s to th e scra p heap . In th e w ord s of th e M anagin g

D

irecto r of th e IMF P rogra m w it h Indonesia `al l restricti ve m arketin g arrange -

m

ent s w il l be abolishe d, leavin g ® rm s fre e to produc e an d expor t thei r product s

as the y w ish , an d as th e m arke t decides ’ . 31 M arti n furthe r argue s tha t th e m os t signi ® can t chang e in po w er relation s as a resul t of thi s privatisa tio n of polic y `ha s no t bee n fro m publi c to private , no r fro m th e stat e to th e m arket , bu t fro m nationa l an d loca l politica l agenda s to

globa l centre s of economi c po w er ’ . 32 T hi s lead s to a brie f examinat io n of th e

M ultilatera l A gree m en t on Invest m ent .

S inc e 1995 , 29 of th e earth ’ s w ealthies t nation s w hic h compris e th e Organis- atio n fo r Econom ic Co-oper atio n an d D evelop m en t ( OE CD ), hav e bee n forgin g the MA I treaty , whic h w il l atte m pt legall y to bin d an d li m it th e po w er of nation-s tate s (an d thei r citizens ) to im pos e thei r ow n require m ents , w hethe r the y be ® nancial , environ m enta l or huma n rights-b ased , ont o multinati ona l investor s (se e th e edition , introdu ctio n to thi s specia l issue) . If thi s treat y is signe d by th e

O ECD (an d impose d ont o th e S outh ) an y nationa l legislatio n w hic h argue s fo r a

m inimu m w ag e fo r it s labou r m arket , or fo r m ini m um environ menta l standard s

779

TIM O TH Y DO Y LE

of practice , coul d be see n as compris in g a restrain t on trade . A s a conseque nce ,

nation-s tate s coul d be sue d on thi s basis . Th e MA I , amon g othe r things , provide s

unrestri cte d right s fo r transnati ona l co m panie s to : expor t thei r

service s w ithou t conditio ns ; to ow n an y ecosyste m or resourc e w ithou t an y obligati ons ; to accu m ulat e pro ® ts w ithi n an y natio n w ithou t responsibilit y fo r reinvest ment ; to acces s governm en t grants normall y provide d to do m esti c operato rs ; an d to inves t in an y privatise d publi c infrastr ucture . G riffe n Cohe n

co m m ent s on th e MA I as follow s:

com m oditie s or

U nlik e th e w or k of natio n states , w hic h ove r tim e hav e develope d institution s eithe r to correc t th e econom y w he n th e m arke t di d no t functio n in an opti m al w ay (suc h as durin g ti m es of depressi on) , or to contro l business , suc h as throug h labou r or environ menta l legislation , th e internati ona l replace m ent s tha t ar e bein g create d neithe r exer t disciplin e on th e marke t no r functio n as instrume nt s of m arke t correctio n. T he ne w internatio na l institution s ar e designe d solel y to disciplin e nation s in th e interest s of on e clas s w hic h enjoy s worl d citizenshi pÐ th e inter - nationa l investor . 33

Increase d gro w th , globalise d an d unfetter ed , is onl y par t of th e pictur e frame d

by Agend a 21 an d sustainab le develop m ent . A ll part s of th e w orl d m us t als o

operat e on th e sam e politica l system : U S -styl e pluralis m.

P luralis t de m ocrac y

A s th e fre e trader s argu e tha t al l peopl e hav e equa l acces s to al l m arkets ,

pluralis t politica l com m entator s conten d tha t eac h citize n ha s equa l acces s to

w er . N or m ally , throug h th e operati on of th e privat e an d publi c sectors , societ y

run s quit e sm oothly . O ccasional ly , ho w ever , ther e is a m ino r tea r in th e fabri c of de m ocracy , in that , certai n citizens ’ bes t interest s ar e no t bein g ful ® lled .

W he n thi s occurs , citizen s for m interes t groups (for m al organisa tions ) to lobb y

politica l parties , governm ent s an d othe r m echanis m s of th e state . If th e caus e is see n as just , is base d upo n a rationa l response, an d receive s stron g support, the n

th e proble m in questio n is addresse d by th e state , an d th e fabric of de m ocrac y

se w n bac k together : th e politica l quilt , on thi s occasion , no w stronge r tha n th e

original . S o in th e pluralis t m odel , environ m enta l NG O s, fo r example , ca n be see n

as rationall y for m in g to correc t m ino r hitche s in existin g politica l systems, w hil e large r proble m s, suc h as syste m ic inadequa cy an d inequalit y, re m ai n largel y unquest ioned . Interesti ngly , post- m aterialis t theorie s explaini ng th e origin s of environ menta l

m ovement s ® t in nicel y w ithi n th e concep t of a pluralis t polity . Enviro nm ental -

s ar e construe d as jus t an interes t grou p of m iddle-cla ss , predom inantl y white ,

educate d professional s pursuin g thei r `hobby ’ of highe r orde r ful ® lm ent . 34

T he stat e in thi s m ode l is see n as apolitica l and , in it s `natural ’ state , as havin g

ist

is

po

no particula r `ax e to grind ’ (a s w as th e cas e in th e previou s discussion of th e RA M S A R m ultiple-u se roundta ble) . In pluralis t system s (i n theory , m os t purel y

m onstrate d in th e U nite d S tates ) th e mai n tas k of NG O s (traditi onall y calle d

de

`civi l society ’ in th e U ntie d S tates ) is to lobby . NG O s do no t see k publi c of ® ce

780

SU ST A IN A BL E DE VE LO PME N T A N D A G EN DA 21

directly , bu t throug h in ¯ uenc e provide d by mone y an d po w er , see k chang e indirectl y. W he n `civi l society ’ em erge s in th e South Ð th e N ort h argues Ð conditio ns w il l

exis t w her e peopl e ca n hel p the m selve s (a s if the y w er e no t doin g so already) . It is argue d that , onc e th e poo r ca n hel p themselv es , beco m e m or e environ m en - tall y active , the n globa l environ m enta l degradat io n w il l cease . A n excellen t exa m pl e is th e curren t develop m en t in A ustrali a of th e Centr e fo r D em ocrati c Instituti on s ( CDI ). O n 27 A ugust 199 7 th e M iniste r fo r F oreig n A ffairs , throug h th e vehicl e of A us AID , establish ed th e CD I `t o assis t th e

strength enin g of

countr y to `qualify ’ fo r suppor t is , no t surprisingly , Indonesia . In thi s speci ® c cas e Indonesian s ar e to be traine d by A ustralian s in priorit y sector s w hic h `includ e goo d governa nc e an d com m unit y develop m en t training ’ . 35

T her e ca n be no doub t tha t repressi ve regi m es m ak e environ m ental , or an y othe r for m of change , extre m el y dif ® cul t to imagin e or im ple m ent . Bu t it mus t be underst oo d tha t a certai n styl e of politica l system Ð on e whic h sit s co m fort - abl y alongsid e th e pro m otio n of economi c gro w th an d radica l libertaria nis m Ð is

als o bein g sol d as par t of th e A gend a 21

In m an y `w ell-mean ing ’ w ork s befor e th e U N CE D `su m mit ’ in Ri o in 1992 , it w as constantl y argue d tha t th e Sout h (an d Easter n E urope , fo r tha t m atter ) ha d to beco m e m or e lik e th e U nite d State s in it s politica l syste m s, if environ menta l degrada tio n wer e to be brough t unde r control. In thi s vein , th e develop m en t of `civi l society ’ is centra l to discussio n. U nderlyin g thi s `civi l society ’ is an unquest ione d acceptanc e of th e apolitica l N ort h Am erica n for m of de m ocrac y base d on capitalis m an d globa l fre e marketpl aces . A clea r exa m pl e of thi s m od e of reasonin g is a centra l plan k in th e boo k by G ha i an d V ivian , G rassroots E nviron m enta l Action : People ’ s Particip atio n in Sustain abl e D evelop m en t . They w rite:

de m ocrati c instituti on s in developi ng countrie s’ . O ne suc h

package : U S -styl e pluralis m .

T he existenc e of a democra ti c spac e allo w in g th e expressio n an d defenc e of co m munit y right s an d claim s ha s prove n to be a crucia l facto r in ¯ uencin g success - fu l grass-roo ts environ m enta l actio n ¼ T he essenc e of thes e activitie s is to persuad e or pressur e th e stat e to interven e on behal f of th e com m unitie s throug h adoptio n of ne w legislation . 36

A nothe r ke y ele m en t of thi s for m of pluralis m is it s aggressi ve individu alis m . A s th e stat e is dee m ed intrinsic all y apolitical , so to o is th e citizen . Indeed , it is onl y w he n so m ethin g goe s w ron g (mino r as it m ay be ) tha t individu al s coalesc e int o politica l groupi ngs . Th e natura l orde r is m ad e up of individu als , rationall y pursuing thei r ow n ato m ise d needs : ulti m at e salvatio n m us t be sough t fro m w ithin ; no t fro m politica l groupi ngs . O bviousl y thi s apolitica l mentalit y of th e pluralis t syste m manifest s itsel f in th e U nite d S tate s w ithi n a whol e rang e of Califor nian-styl e `ne w age ’ environ m enta l remedies , w her e th e spiritua l sel f is recentre d an d reinvesti gated , an d wher e th e profou nd discrepa ncie s bet w ee n citizens ’ acces s to politica l po w er ar e sorel y overloo ke d an d denied . In th e cas e of th e South , ho w ever , w hil e th e ne w ag e ecophilo sophie s an d crystal s ar e dee m ed inappro priate , A gend a 21 stil l insist s on promot in g chang e to th e interna l behaviou r of th e inhabitan ts of th e S outh .

781

TIM O TH Y DO Y LE

In thi s instance , behaviou r m odi® catio n is discussed w ithi n th e discourse of gro w th logi c advocate d unde r thes e radica l libertari an , free-ma rke t syste m s. T her e is a distincti on betwee n qualitie s of growth , no t jus t quantity . F or exa m ple , ther e is stron g emphasi s on capacit y building . Capacit y buildin g is de ® ne d as follo w s:

C apacit y buildin g is a nove l an d catalyti c initiativ e tha t assist s developi ng countrie s to buil d thei r capacit y to integrat e th e principle s of Agend a 21 int o nationa l develop m en t ¼ T he abilit y of a countr y to follo w a pat h of sustainabl e develop - m en t is determin ed by th e capabiliti es of it s people s an d institution s. Capacit y buildin g is th e su m of effort s neede d to nurture , enhanc e an d utiliz e th e skill s of people an d institution s to progres s to w ard s sustainabl e developm ent . 37

S o thi s is th e ® na l insult . S ustainabl e develop m en t no w insist s tha t it is poo r peopl e themselv es w ho m us t becom e mor e in w ardl y ef ® cient . P oo r trainin g an d lac k of `huma n developm ent ’ hav e le d to thes e inequitie s; no t m aldistrib utio n or exploitat io n by transnationa l corpora tion s an d elite s existin g bot h in th e N ort h an d th e S outh . Enviro nm enta l degradat io n ca n be overco m e, in part , by trainin g peopl e globall y to thin k in sustainab le developm en t ter m s. P eopl e ar e thu s

th e greates t

adverti sin g vision s eve r w itnesse d on th e planet , at leas t in secula r for m s. T hi s

is N orther n im perialism , usin g th e languag e of ecolog y as it s vessel . A ll peopl e m us t perceiv e natur e in th e sam e w ay , fo r the y do no t kno w ho w to live ; the y do no t kno w ho w to ac t (w hethe r as individu al s or in concert ); the y do no t kno w ho w to think : th e N orth mus t hel p the m thin k an d ac t in appropr iat e w ays . T he U nite d N atio n Environ m en t P rogra m , to w hic h th e autho r ha s bee n a contribu tor , is par t of thi s capacit y building . Basically , it is a for m of ai d w hereb y m os t of th e m one y is subcont racte d bac k to th e donatin g countr y (an d the n so m e) . T her e is no notio n of inequalit ie s of powe r here ; no recognit io n of

co m m odi ® ed an d ceas e to be an externali ty . T hi s ha s to be on e of

m aldistrib utio n of resource s. G lobally , th e fre e m arke t is em ancipated , bu t whe n it co m es do w n to distribu tio n of resource s, th e G NP s of th e m or e w ealth y

nation-s tate s appea r onc e

A nd onc e thi s capacit y buildin g ha s `develop ed ’ atomise d humans , ther e ca n be m or e gro w th . Stringe r, a fre e m arke t environ m enta l economi st , advocate s tw o approac hes . In fertil e areas , m or e product io n m us t be achieved ; in fragil e environ m ents , econo m ic activitie s m us t be diversi ® ed . 38 A gain , ther e is no

notio n of `li m it s to gro w th ’ in certai n areas . E ve n in fragil e environ m ent s w hic h m ay be unsuitab le fo r th e pursuit of econo m ic gro w th , peopl e ar e urge d to diversif y: ther e si m pl y ar e no natura l li m itation s consider ed . Th e poor , S tringe r outrage ousl y contends , `lac k th e capita l to inves t in environ m enta l protectio n’ . U nderlyi ng thi s irration alis m is th e assu m ptio n tha t invest m en t is innatel y goo d

sustaina bl e develop m en t doubleta lk , appeal -

in g to all , an d renounc in g nothing . T her e ar e a nu m be r of ke y problem s wit h th e sellin g of pluralis m an d it s connecte d `lobb y group ’ vie w , particula rl y in th e S outh : fou r ar e mentione d here . First , thi s lin e of reasonin g largel y divest s govern m ent s of thei r direc t responsibilities . Indeed , th e A us A ID exa m pl e ® ts in w it h thi s vie w nicely . In recen t ti m es it ha s dra m aticall y reduce d it s internati ona l funding , bu t no w seek s

782

fo r th e environ m ent Ð agai n thi s is

again .

SU ST A IN A BL E DE VE LO PME N T A N D A G EN DA 21

so m e for m of m ora l hig h groun d by advocatin g tha t th e developi ng w orl d need s m or e democra cy ! N ext , interest s ar e pursued onl y throug h legiti m at e lobb y groups , w hil e mor e grassroots , socia l m ovemen t concern s ar e dee m ed illegit -

im at e an d ar e m arginalise d. Mor e radica l environ m enta l argu m ent s ar e incorpo r- ate d an d co-opte d. T hird , it m isco m prehend s th e rol e of environ menta l N GO s an d infor m al

co m m unit y group s operatin g in th e S out h an d

proble m s w hic h ar e eviden t there . T he fac t is tha t m an y solution s wil l no t be foun d throug h th e pursuit of increme nta l bargaini ng an d decisio n m aking . U nlik e th e North , S outher n N G O s do fa r m or e tha n jus t lobb y an d educate . T he y ar e th e direc t provide rs of infrastr uctur e an d services . F or exa m ple :

in man y citie s in A si a (lik e Bandun g in Indonesi a, Bo m ba y in India , or Bangko k in T hailand ) w her e ther e is a m assiv e populati on explosio n, entir e citie s ar e formin g outsid e of th e establishe d `cit y limits ’ . In thes e cases , NGO s ar e directl y involve d in th e provisio n of clea n w ater ; th e physica l labou r of cleanin g up refus e an d th e disposa l of soli d w astes ; th e buildin g of shelte r an d th e provisio n of se w erag e syste m s; treatin g peopl e directl y fo r diseas e an d malnutri tion ; direc t provisio n of foo d an d othe r basi c essential s fo r living ; an d co-ordi natin g m an y othe r `hands-o n’ task s an d activities . 39

F inally , it ca n be prove n tha t it is ofte n jeopardi satio n of th e righ t to subsistÐ no t increase d gro w th or increase d de m ocratisati on Ð w hic h lead s to environ menta l activis m an d re m ediation . 40 Despit e thi s reality , th e Nort h continue s to tou t it s sustaina bl e develop m en t vision . M uc h of thi s confusi on is base d on th e assu m p- tio n tha t cultura l an d geograp hica l differe nce s acros s th e glob e ar e fa r les s divers e tha n th e actuality , an d on th e fac t tha t thes e differe nce s ar e no t suf ® cientl y valued . Grif ® n Cohe n contends :

th e m agnitud e of environ menta l

ther e is an urgen t nee d to recogniz e ¼ tha t differen t goals , conditio ns an d culture s through ou t th e w orl d requir e ver y differen t solution s to proble m s. O ne system , th e w ester n syste m base d on a US kin d of econom y an d socia l system , w il l no t serv e th e need s of al l peopl e in al l circumsta nces. 41

Co n clusio n s

A t th e politica l level , m an y of th e problem s discussed abov e ar e th e resul t of decade s of colonia l imperial is m carrie d ou t by th e N orth . M uc h of th e stres s on citie s in `emergi ng Asia ’ (se e above ) come s fro m th e hug e m igratio n of peopl e fro m th e countr y int o thes e urba n areas . T hi s m igratio n is aki n in `Western ’ ter m s to th e agraria n an d Industri al Revoluti on s in it s magnitu de . Thes e citie s ar e increasi ng in populati on by bet w ee n 80 00 0 an d 20 0 00 0 peopl e pe r annu m . 42 O ne of th e causa l factor s of thi s m igratio n is th e globalisa tio n of trade , w hic h ha s destroye d th e opport unitie s of sm al l landhol der s an d w orker s to m ak e a subsistenc e living , w hil e at th e sa m e ti m e increasin g th e pro ® ts of larg e corpora tion s w hic h ca n ente r an d leav e m arket s al m os t at w ill . M ulti - an d transnat iona l corpora tion s ca n produc e com m oditie s fa r mor e `ef ® ciently ’ , utilis - in g chea p labou r markets , an d th e les s stringen t environ m enta l de m and s of loca l legislati on . 43 F urther m ore , `damag e is partl y th e resul t of loca l industri es

783

TIM O TH Y DO Y LE

in

th e ª ne w globa l econo m yº ’ . 44 Fascinati ngly , bu t perhap s no t surprising , non e of thes e issue s w as discussed in of ® cia l for a at Rio . Chatterje e an d Finge r re ¯ ec t on thi s absenc e of critique :

necessari ly produci ng ` ª dirty º products in a bi d to maintai n co m petitivene ss

B usines s an d industry , in particula r bi g business , w er e systematic all y buil t up through the UNCED proces s as th e agent s holdin g th e ke y to solvin g th e globa l ecologi ca l crisis . Sinc e N ort h an d S out h cam e to agre e tha t accelerate d economi c gro w th wa s th e solution , TNC s ha d no troubl e presentin g the m selve s as th e agent s

w hic h coul d furthe r stimulat e gro w th , provide d, howeve r, tha t environ m entall y base d trad e restriction s w oul d no t im ped e the m . U nde r th e in ¯ uenc e of som e ne w m anageme nt philosop hie s an d helpe d by publi c relations , bi g busines s propose d th e onl y intellectua l novelt y of th e of ® cia l UNCED process , ie `clean ’ gro w th , `clean ’ m eanin g technol ogica l an d organiza tiona l ef ® ciency . No t onl y di d thi s eco - ef ® cienc y approac h becom e w idel y accepted , bu t bi g busines s managed , thank s to it s privilege d acces s an d it s generou s ® nancia l contribu tions , neve r eve n to be m entione d in th e UNCED docu m ent s as bein g a proble m fo r th e environm ent , locall y an d globally . T w o othe r m ajo r contribu tor s to th e globa l crisis , scienc e an d th e

m ilitary , als o m anage d neve r to be mentione d as a

problem . 45

S o w her e do environ mentalist s go at niu m ? W ell , certainl y no t to Rio , no r

confere nce s sinc e Rio . Ther e ar e profou nd li m itation s to th e abilit y of m oder n

th e en d of th e secon d Christia n millen - to an y of th e Brundtl and / U N CED -inspire d

nation-s tate s to m onito r an d regulat e transnationa l corpora te activities . W it h

th e

em ergenc e of globa l ecology , m an y environ m enta l issue s ar e see n as beyon d

th e

tradition al scop e of nationa l govern m ents . G overn m ent s are , mor e ofte n tha n not , severel y laggin g behin d in thei r responses, `an d thi s transnati ona l politica l spac e ha s bee n occupie d by corpora tion s an d NG O s, w hic h ca n cros s nation-s tat e bounda rie s m or e readily . T hi s globalisa tio n of ecologica l an d m arke t system s ha s le d to ª th e politic s of no- ® xe d address. º ’ 46 Jacque s A ttali , w ho serve d as th e foundat iona l hea d of th e Europe an Ban k fo r Reconstr uctio n an d D evelopm en t look s int o th e nea r future , an d see s th e followi ng :

S evere d fro m an y nationa l allegianc e or famil y tie s by microchi p-base d gadget s tha t w il l enabl e individu al s to carr y ou t fo r themselv es man y of th e function s of health ,

educatio n, an d security , th e consume r-citizen s of th e w orld ’ s privilege d region s w il l beco m e ª ric h nomads. º A bl e to participat e in th e libera l marke t cultur e of politica l an d econo m ic choice , the y w il l roa m th e plane t seekin g w ay s to us e thei r fre e time , shoppin g fo r infor m ation , sensation s, an d good s onl y the y ca n afford , w hil e yearnin g fo r hu m an fello w ship , an d th e certitude s of ho m e an d commun it y tha t no longe r exis t becaus e thei r function s hav e beco m e obsolete . L ik e N ew Y orker s w ho ever y da y fac e ho m eles s beggar s wh o loite r aroun d auto m ate d telle r machine s

pleadin g

fo r spar e change , thes e w ealth y w anderer s w il l every w her e be confront ed

by rovin g masse s of ª poo r nomadsº Ð boa t peopl e on a planetar y scale Ð seekin g to escap e fro m th e destitut e peripher y, w her e mos t of th e earth ’ s populati on w il l continu e to live . T hes e impover ishe d migrant s wil l pl y th e planet , searchin g fo r

sustenanc e an d shelter , thei r desire s in ¯ am ed by th e ubiquito us an d seductiv e

image s of consume ris m the y w il l se e

on satellit e T V broadcas ts fro m P aris , L os

A ngeles , or T okyo . Desperatel y hopin g to shif t fro m w ha t Alvi n T of ¯ er ha s calle d

th e slo w w orl d to th e fas t world , the y wil l liv e th e lif e of th e livin g dead . 47

784

SU ST A IN A BL E DE VE LO PME N T A N D A G EN DA 21

T hi s is th e w orld of A gend a 21 .

currently see m s capabl e of m ovin g beyon d th e

bounda rie s of nation-s tate s in ho t pursuit of transnati ona l corpora tion s ar e socia l

m ovement s an d N G O s, als o

th e age-ol d stor y depictin g th e battl e bet w ee n D avi d an d G oliat h see m s an approp riat e metapho r to describ e thi s situation . O nl y thi s ti m e, D avi d ha s no sling-shot .

actin g throug h transnati ona l conduits . At ® rs t glance ,

T he onl y forc e w hic h

N otes

T hi s paper wa s initiated whil e I wa s Visitin g Professo r of E nviron m enta l Studies, University of Montana, Missoula , MT , USA . It arose fro m m an y discussio ns wit h m em ber s of faculty, th e studen t body , an d th e m an y environ m enta l activists bot h within an d outsid e th e acade m y. My thanks go to them .

1

`North ’ an d `South ’ ar e crud e ter m s tha t tr y to na m e a co m plex, differentiated an d nuanced reality. T her e

ar

e no si m ple , agreed, unambiguou s an d effective ter m s to describ e th e distribu tio n of powe r an d af ¯ uenc e

in

th e globa l order . W it h extrem e caution, thes e ter m s ar e use d her e as convenien t shorthand.

2

United Nation s Conferenc e on E nviron m en t an d Developm ent, A genda 21 , Geneva (o n lin e at , http:ww w

erin.gov .au / portfol io / esd / nesd / Agend a 21 / ht m l . ).

 

3

P

Chatterje e & M Finger , Th e Eart h B rokers:

Po w er , Politics an d W orl d Developmen t , L ondon : Routledge ,

1994, p 167.

4

D

Mc E achern , B usiness M ates: Th e Po w er an d Politics of th e Ha w ke E ra , Sydney : Prentice-Hall, 1991 .

5

H

Morga n quoted in ibid , pp 15±19.

6

Fo

r a m or e detailed discussio n of powe r in relation to busines s interests an d th e environm en t se e T Doyle ,

`Corpor ations, powe r an d th e environm ent’ , Chai n R eaction , 73 ±74 , 199 5 pp 14 ±17 .

7

Fo

r a goo d overvie w of these poststructural argu m ents, se e R Anderson , Th e P ow er an d Th e W ord :

Languag e, Po w er an d Chang e , London: Paladin Grafto n Books, 1988 .

8

C

L indblom , P olitics an d M arkets: Th e W orld ’ s P olitical± E conomic System , Ne w York : Basi c Books, 1977 .

9

S

Bell, `T he environ m ent Ð a ¯ y in th e ointm ent ’ , Chai n R eaction , 73 ±74 , 1995 , pp 30 ±33 .

1

0 A Si m pso n m akes thi s poin t in relation to th e Shoalwate r Ba y ca m paig n in Queensland , Australia:

`Shoalw ater Bay Ð a wi n fo r th e environm en t m ove m ent? ’ , Chai n Reaction , 73 ±74 , 1995 , pp 42 ±44 .

1

1

1 D Simon , `Sustainabl e developm ent : theoretica l construct or attainabl e goal? ’ E nvironmenta l Conserva tio n , 16 (1) , 1989 , p 42 .

2 M Redclift, `Sustainabl e develop m ent : econo m ic s an d th e environm ent’ , in M Redclift & C Sag e (eds) , Strategies fo r Sustaina bl e Develop ment : Loca l A genda s fo r th e Southern Hemisph ere , Chichester : Joh n

W iley , 1994 , pp 17 ±34 .

1

3 S Beder, Sustaina bl e Develop men t , Victoria: Scrib e Publications , 1994 , p 8.

1 4 W Fox, To w ar d a

Transperso na l E cology: Developin g Ne w F oundati on s fo r E nvironmentalism , Boston, MA

1

1

1

1

1

2

2

2

Sham bala.

5 T J Doyl e & A J

1995.

Kellow , E nvironme nta l P olitics an d P olic y M akin g in A ustrali a , M elbourne, Mac m illan,

6 S Bell, `Socialism an d ecology: wil l eve r th e twain m eet’ ? Socia l A lternative s , 6 (3) , 1987 , p. 11 .

7 Australi an Natur e Conserv atio n Agency , `T he Ra m sa r Convention ’ , brochur e, 1997 , 10 pp .

8 Fo r an extensiv e discussio n on varyin g approache s to sustainabl e develop m en t econom ic s se e C T isdell, `Sustain abl e develop m ent : differing perspect ive s of ecologist s an d econom ists , an d relevance ’ , W orld Develop men t , 16 (3) , 1988 , pp 373 ±384 .

9 Internationa l Monetary Fund , cited in R Broad , `Th e poo r an d th e environm ent: friend s or foes? ’ , in W orld Develop men t , 22 (6) , 1994 , pp 811 ±822 .

0 Broad , `Th e poo r an d th e environ m ent ’ .

1 H Im ura , `Japan’ s environm ental balancing act’ , Asia n Surve y , XXXI V (4) , 1994 , pp 355 ±368 .

2 Fo r an excellent example of thi s lin e of reasonin g rea d G S Hartshor n, `Ke y environ m enta l issue s fo r

developin g countri es ’ , Journa l of Internationa l A ffairs , 7, 1991 , pp 393 ±401 .

2

2

2

3 S Moyo , P O’ Keef e & N M iddleton, Th e Tear s of th e Crocodile : F ro m R io to R ealit y in th e Developin g W orld , L ondon : Plut o Press , 1993 , p 5.

4 M Redclift, Sustaina bl e Development : E xplorin g th e Contradictions , L ondon : Methuen , 1987 , p 4.

5 B Clinton , quote d in M Dowie , Losin g Ground : A merican E nvironmentalism at th e Clos e of th e Tw entieth Century , Ca m bridge, MA : MI T Press .

785

TIM O TH Y DO Y LE

2

2

2

6 R Eckersley , `Fre e m arke t environm entalism : frien d or foe?’ , Environmental Politics , 2 (1) , 1993 , pp 1±19 .

7 United Nation s Developm en t Progra m : Sustaina bl e Hu m an Develop m ent , `Econo m ic growt h ha s faile d fo r

a quarte r of world ’ s people, say s repor t written fo r UN Develop m en t Progra m m e’ , pres s release, 17 Jul y

1996.

8 W orl d Bank , `Privatisation : th e lesson s of experience ’ , cite d in B Martin , In th e Public Interest?

Privatisation an d P ublic Secto r R efor m , L ondon : Z ed Books, 1993 , p 139 .

2

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

9 Ibid , p 144.

0 Ibid , pp 158±59.

1 M Camdessus , `State m en t by th e Managin g Directo r on th e IMF program wit h Indonesia ’ , IMF , DC, news brie f no 98 / 2/ 15 January 1998 .

2 Ibid , p 162.

3 M Grif ® n Cohen , `Presentation to th e Hous e of Co m m on s Sub-Co m m itte e on Interna tional Trade , T rade s Disputes an d Investm ent , Hearing on th e MAI Pane l on Corporate , Consu m er an d Socia l Im plications’ , Ottawa, Canada, 1997 , p 6 (o n lin e at , http:ww w.policyalternatives.ca/ m aipresen tation.htm l . ).

4 Fo r thi s lin e of reasoning rea d R Inglehart , Th e Silent R evolution , Princet on , NJ : Princet on Universit y Press ,

1977.

5 Australi an Agency fo r Interna tional Develop m ent , `Indone si a Australia Specialise d Training Project’ ,

advertisem en t in Th e A ustralia n , 4±5 Apri l 1998 .

6 D Gha i & J M Vivia n (eds) , Grassroot s Environmental A ction : People’ s Participation in Sustaina bl e Develop men t , L ondon : Routledge , 1992 , pp 18 ±19 .

7 UNDP `E cono m ic growt h ha s failed’ .

8 R Stringer, `Food , hunger an d th e environm ent : painfu l lesson s an d m isguide d policies’ , Dept s of Geograp hy

an d Environm ental Studie s Join t Se m ina r Series, Universit y of Adelaid e, 9 Septem be r 1996 .

3

4

4

4

9 T Doyl e & D Mc E achern, E nvironment an d P olitics , L ondon : Routledge , 1998 , p 94 .

0 Se e Broad , `T he poo r an d th e environ ment’ , p 813 , fo r referen ce s whic h substanti at e th e fac t tha t m an y poo r

people living in th e Sout h ar e actively involve d in environ m enta l proble m solving .

Sub-Co m mittee’ , p 8. th e specia l issu e on co m m unity base d urba n

environm ental m anagem en t in Asia ’ , A sia n Journa l of E nvironmenta l M anagement , 2 (1) , 1994 , pp ix ±xv .

2 M Douglas , Y S F L ee & K L owry , `Introd uction to

1 M Grif ® n Cohen , `Presentation to th e Hous e of Co m m on

4

3 Doyl e & Mc E achern, E nvironment an d P olitics , p

79.

4

4 Ibid.

4

5 Chatterje e & Finger, Th e Eart h B roker s , p 171.

 

4

6 Doyl e

& Mc E achern, E nvironment an d P olitics , p

105.

4

7 Attali, M illennium: W inner s an d Loser s in th e Comin g W orl d Orde r , Ne w York : T im es Books, 1991 ,

pp 5±6.

786