The Principle of Sustainability and its contradiction
In recent years, the word sustainability has become widespread in most of the western world but it is still little known, or not at all, in countries where great social and cultural emergencies absorb men and states in emergencies that are no less critical or worrisome.
It could therefore be assumed that the west, in a certain sense, has a great advantage in the direction of the principle of sustainability but, due to what shall be said below, in reality we are still very distant from this assumption.
Meanwhile, let’s define what is meant by sustainability and when this concept was born.
The principle of social, economic and environmental sustainability, better known as “Sustainable Development”, was born with the first intergovernmental conferences of the United Nations. We could say that it began to take form and substance last century at the end of the sixties.
The concept of Sustainable Development itself, however, is an oxymoron, as Serge Latouche rightly observed, that is to say, a strong principle of contradiction in that sustainability does not fit well with development.
Therefore, in formulating the principle of Sustainable Development, the western world has already made an enormous error with the ideological formulation of this principle.
This error is born from the fact that the resources of the Planet are limited (and they have always been so) but our colonialist mindset (that invades and crushes all)) is slow to die and to admit this.
Centuries of social and cultural survival, based on the concept of infinite territorial, economic and religious expansion, has resulted in the weakening of the territory (the environment), the economy and all religions.
We are even colonialist in the application of the principle of the so-called “Sustainable Development”. That is to say, we have admitted that we cannot go any further but we will not accept to change course.
To make a comparison, it is as if the commander of a ship has realized the concrete danger which it is going towards but in order not to interrupt the cruise (which earns the company an evident profit) he prefers to sail straight ahead.
This way of conceiving History is so wrong that it was not until globalization brought us into contact with each other that few could understand it; today there is no justification and whoever wants to perpetrate this system, even if they are in good faith, are surely headed for a collision.
Sustainability is, therefore, a concept that has to consider ethical principles before every other aspect. These are fundamentally the Rights that must be laid as foundations for a new planetary constitution.
We will obtain Sustainability if we safeguard the Rights of the weak, the least important, the neglected, the forgotten. In short, we will obtain Sustainability if before considering every economic balance sheet, or a country’s budget, we protect all those people and all those things that do not interest the economy because they do not affect the balance sheet.
This colonialist way of first considering the territories (today the economy) is slow to die because the System has the tendency to perpetuate it.
Those who hold Power in the System have been so able that they have even found a solution (Sustainable Development) that instead is in itself a contradiction to the solution and therefore a collision course.
In another part of this site I have already affirmed that the ways of Politics, or, if you prefer, its aims, must be changed.
Until the indexes remain the GDP, the Dow Jones, the NASDAQ or the Mibtel, just to cite the more “famous”, then the ship remains on a collision course.
The politicians (or those people who define themselves as such) know this, as do the Economists.
The solution to the problems of the economy is not the Economy, just as the solution to the inevitable outcome of the ship captain’s course is not to continue it but to change it.
Here the Titanic is not a ship but our Civilization!
* Serge Latouche is an economist and French philosopher. He is the emeritus professor of economic science at the University of Paris XI and the Institut of études du devoloppement économique et social (IEDES) in Paris. He is among the most famous adversaries of the westernisation of the planet and a supporter of amicable degrowth and localism.