Understanding the Social Dimension of Sustainability
The imperative of the twenty-first century is sustainability: to raise the living standards of the world's poor and to achieve and maintain high levels of social health among the affluent nations while simultaneously reducing and reversing the environmental damage wrought by human activity. Scholars and practitioners are making progress toward environmental and economic sustainability, but we have very little understanding of the social dimension of sustainability.
This volume is an ambitious, multi-disciplinary effort to identify the key elements of social sustainability through an examination of what motivates its pursuit and the conditions that promote or detract from its achievement. Included are theoretical and empirical pieces; examination of international and local efforts; discussions highlighting experiences in both the developing and industrialized nations; and a substantial focus on business practices. Contributors are grounded in sociology, economics, business administration, public administration, public health, geography, education and natural resource management.
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the confusion and many of disagreements surrounding sustainability can be traced to differences in worldview. The propositions set forth in this chapter aim at finding ways to bridge worldviews to better inform the quest for sustainability. A first question, then, in sorting out the quest for sustainability provides a grounding that facilitates appropriate purposeful inquiry, debate, and problem solving: Proposition 2: Worldview matters when investigating the various constructs, linkages, claims,
in the southern state of Chiapas, Mexico, in 1994 on the eve of the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), heralded perhaps the most unexpected challenge to neoliberal market policies and the persistent poverty of indigenous people in a region endowed with extensive natural resource wealth. There were two fundamental triggers of the rebellion. The first was the government’s modification of Article 27 of the constitution as part of the negotiations for joining NAFTA. The
instrumental expenditures/initiatives/ public relations programs directed toward building community goodwill, with the justification being that such actions/expenditures will ultimately benefit profitability. The fourth category has to do with procedures and/ or actions motivated by noneconomic values and undertaken because the corporate culture sees them as appropriate or necessary in meeting its corporate social responsibility. As noted earlier, Intel uses corporate responsibility as the