Renewed EU Sustainable Development Strategy: What Does it Mean for Poland? (in Polish)
affiliation not provided to SSRN
June 1, 2008
Problems of Sustainable Development, Vol. 3, No 2, pp. 89-128, 2008
For years now, international fora have been playing host to an unseen dispute as to how the global crisis might be overcome. The neo-liberals in world establishment circles have launched their ”zero growth” strategy with a view to ”steady state” being achieved in the system comprising (the wealthy part of) humankind on the one hand, and the natural environment on the other. The prerequisite for this is a radical reduction in the world’s human population, as well as such a limitation of output as will mainly serve in meeting the needs of the strongest (20-80%) part of global society. This goal would de facto be achieved through the generation of structural unemployment on a mammoth scale (if in the guise of a “natural” phenomenon emerging along with scientific and technical progress), as well as through restrictions on both the use made of resources in short supply and the degradation of the natural environment. The inevitable hidden agenda here is nothing more or less than the freeing of ”spaceship Earth” of its excess ”human ballast”. Standing in opposition to this rather sick socio-Darwinian concept of a defensive, reactionary nature is the United Nations’ already-launched but so far largely ineffective eco-humanist concept, whereby sustainable ”three-pillared” development of the whole of global society is achieved through inseparable linkage of social development with balanced economic growth and the protection and appropriate shaping of the natural environment. Eco-humanism is a partnership-based co-operation for the common good of all people (rich and poor, from countries highly developed and behind in development), their descendants, and the natural environment - commonly supported by science and high technology. The attainment of this eco-humanist alternative to ”zero growth”, by which an end might be put to the global crisis, will entail a recognition – first and foremost on the part of most of the world establishment – that inevitabilities exist and that egoism will have to be set aside urgently in the name of egoaltruism. This will in turn require the shaping of qualitatively new social and international relations based on such fundamental values (postulated inter alia by the late Pope John Paul II) as: 1 – the common good/common interest; 2 – solidarity; 3 – subsidiarity. For some time now, world – and most especially European – elites have been coming to a realisation that the ”zero growth” strategy will need to be cast aside, in association with a radical makeover of globalisation methodologies. It is postulated that the place of the neo-Liberal, socio-Darwinian globalisation be taken by a developed ”fair globalisation” as the UN has dubbed it, or ”globalisation with a human face” as it was described by Angela Merkel at Davos in 2007. Evident confirmation that this eco-humanist trend was taking shape within the EU came with the June 2006 renewal of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy, as well as the qualitatively new formulation enshrined in Lisbon Treaty provisions regarding ”sustainable development”. The aforementioned Strategy has as its main aims: 1. the safeguarding of sustainable progress regarding quality of life and wellbeing, for both present and future generations; 2. the obtainment of a dynamic economy offering full employment. The Strategy further: 1 – advocates the once-and-for-all integration of policies regarding social development, economic development and the protection of the natural environment; 2 – serves strategically in a capacity superseding the Lisbon Strategy; 3 – recognises the need for a far-reaching 50-year EU Sustainable Development Strategy to be devised. The Lisbon Treaty provides that the social market economy plus balanced economic growth “shall work for the sustainable development of Europe”. The Union “shall contribute to the sustainable development of the Earth” (i.e. a global ecosystem comprising the world society, its economy and the natural environment). The text in question also recognises the need to support those anti-neo-Liberal political forces within the Union which oppose the ”zero growth” strategy, as well as to work actively towards the EU-wide engendering of the kind of infrastructural circumstances allowing for the planning and introduction of a strategy for ”three-pillar” development of European and world society in line with UN recommendations. In the light of this, it is further proposed that the infrastructure of the Polish State be modified to allow the EU Sustainable Development Strategy to be put into effect. It is also considered particularly important that the information bases of sustainable development policy and sustainable development economy be developed within the UN, EU and domestic frameworks.
Note: Downloadable document is in Polish.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 40
Keywords: EU SDS, sustainable development, ecohumanism, social market economy, limits to growth, quality of life
JEL Classification: O13, Q20, Q32, Q41, R11, M14Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: October 4, 2009 ; Last revised: December 3, 2011
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