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Academic Special Session: Policy Options for Achieving Sustainability: Review of a Revised Treatise: Technology, Globalization and Sustainable Development

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Given the powerful role of technology and globalization as drivers of change in both developing and developed countries, it is argued that the operationally important dimensions of sustainability consist of competitiveness (equitable economic development and welfare), the environment, and employment and earning capacity. These three dimensions together drive sustainable development along different pathways and go to different places than environmentally-driven concerns alone, or growth-focused industrial policies, which may otherwise require trade-offs, for example, between environmental improvements and jobs or economic growth.
 
Specific national and international governance initiatives that, if adopted, could promote progress towards sustainability include those initiatives that:
 
• Promote more sustainable industrial production and consumption
• Embark on a deliberate strategy to decrease unsustainable growth 
• Improve health, safety, and the environment
• Enhance meaningful, rewarding, and safer employment
• Provide for adequate earning capacity; and 
• Promote more sustainable industrial trade.
 
For each of the six strategic areas listed above, policy options include those that involve individual nation-states -- such as industry initiatives, government intervention and regulation, education and human resource development, and stakeholder involvement -- and those that require concerted actions by the international community. Drawing upon recent significant work of scholars from different traditions, these ideas are discussed in a revised edition of Technology, Globalization, and Sustainable Development: Transforming the Industrial State, N.A.Ashford and R.P.Hall (Routledge 2018) 
 
It is important to recognize that there are likely to be significant barriers to their implementation. Who is likely to win and who is likely to lose in the transformation of the industrial state towards sustainability is a question that has to be directly addressed. Persons, firms, and governments who benefit from maintaining the status quo or continuing its trends may drive us deeper into unsustainability. They can create a major source of lock-in and path dependence. Furthermore they can stand in the way of different actors who may provide better pathways. 
 
To address these concerns, legal interventions and other policy options should focus on "opening up the problem space" for decision-makers to consider the myriad of societal goals comprehensively, rather than just trying to enhance the capacity of existing actors to change in a narrow context. Policies are also needed to "open up the participatory and political space." Policy options must include not only those that educate and inform, but also include those using the power of legal mechanisms and the provision of appropriate economic incentives through law and legal institutions, anti-monopoly law, the limiting of unjustified profiteering, the cessation of rewarding excessive consumption of both materials and energy, the cessation of subsidizing the wrong kind of production and provision of services, countering and punishing financial corruption and fraud, providing for fair employment and wage policies, and addressing wealth and income inequality. Sustainable development requires stimulating revolutionary technological and social innovation through environmental, health, safety, economic, and labor market regulation. Greater support for such regulation is likely to be found if new voices are able to contribute to integrated thinking and solutions.

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Day: 2018-08-23
Start time: 14:00
Duration: 01:30
Room: Moriskan (Stora Salongen)
Track: - Other - (fill submission note below)

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