What does sustainable development consist of?


Contemporary world faces a plenty of challenges of different sorts. The governments of both developed and developing countries strive to invent and to imply the strategies that would be efficient for every aspect of development of their countries. The key elements of sustainability challenges can derive from economic, environmental and social problems. First of all, the economic sustainability here is the crucial one since it not only fosters a fast growth of countries’ economies but basically provides economic welfare for their people, as well as higher standards of living, higher level of salaries and other benefits. Secondly, social aspect refers to melioration of human interaction and cooperation for achieving better results regarding two aforementioned aspects. And last but not least, environmental issue is one of the major challenges that are facing not only governments and business industries but also communities all around the world. Therefore, these three points are the basis of sustainable development and common welfare of the population.

Economic sustainability

First and foremost, economic development is still the best index of countries’ sustainable development and that is the reason why it should be observed primarily. Usually, economic development is estimated by the level of utility or simply welfare which means the index of the want and willingness of people to purchase new good and consume services suggested. Nowadays the majority of the developed countries strive to make their economic policies work on increasing conventional gross national product and, therefore, imply more effective production and consumption of popular goods and services. The important issue here is sustainable prices and high level of employment which underlie of the economic growth and future prosperity. Well, at least the concepts of contemporary developed economies usually are the basis of such framework. The problem is, that simultaneously the alignment of common well-being and prosperity with the income of currency and consumption of the currency is a great challenge of the last decades. For instance, among relatively recent scientists, Abraham Maslow (1970) has invented the hierarchy of basic human needs that can give psychic satisfaction not just the material satisfaction of buying brand-new good and services. Furthermore, ancient philosophy of Buddhism provides a precise yet comprehensive catalog of a variety of human desires and intentions and one of the main Buddhist ideas was that satisfaction had nothing to do with material consumption of the objects and acquiring them. So, it’s not necessarily to buy and get a lot of new staff to get happy and satisfied with the things that already belong to you. 

Moreover, economic aspect is important because of the results in the economic growth rates among different states thanks to such economic factor like the expansion of foreign trade. The contemporary vision of the concept which is the basis and an essential part of economic sustainability tells that the countries should strive to make the flow of income as big and fast as possible for the purpose of maintaining the level of capital which produce this income. Many scientists tend to define capital as a group of instruments which exist at this very moment of time, and income as group of services which derive from the capital. So it’s no accident that economic effectiveness is an essential part of sustainable production and sufficient consumption.


There is also and approach which says that constant and unregulated increasing of economic indicators of a state often contravenes the sustainable development and presents some visible restrictions in applying the principle of the sustainability without any ecological or societal guarantees. Problems usually occur while distinguishing the types of capital to be saved, when, for instance, natural or artificial, human or social capital are to be observed, and while their sustainability is to be characterized (Shah, 2009). Nowadays, more and more often the difficulties of estimating these assets and the services provided by them arise, primarily concerned with environmental and human resources. Also the fundamental economic assets are to be totally overlooked, at least those where non-market transactions largely prevail. Of course, such uncontrolled factors like inevitability, uncertainty, and total collapse also tend to have some difficulties.

Contemporary microeconomic approaches basically rely on marginal analysis which is based on the small, mostly non-visible distortions, for instance comparing constantly growing costs and benefits of some economic initiatives. So, lightly distorted system is very likely to achieve its dominant sustainable equation and, therefore, there occurs the risk for the instability. It’s no surprise that marginal analysis demonstrates lightly changing numbers and is not appropriate for analyzing such changes, inevitable phenomena, and quick transitions among diverted equilibria. Economic system elasticity is better valued by its’ capacity to provide main economic services and to effectively find the location of resources in the face of major distortions, like, for example, the unprecedented oil shock or awful draught. More contemporary researches demonstrate the exploration of the behavior of non-usual, dynamic and unpredictable systems, in relation to system elasticity and exposure.

Environmental sustainability

The second key element constituting the sustainable development of the country is the environmental one. Modern, already developed economies have realized for the past few decades that they should have managed rare resources in a reasonable manner. The reason for such tendency is that human prosperity first and foremost depends on the environmental services. The attention should be also paid to the safe ecological restrictions, otherwise the risk of subversive long-run prospects for sustainable development will increase. Some researches show clearly how sustainable economic growth and the environment were tightly linked in the literature since very the occurrence of the ancient stories. But only very special, peculiar literature mentioned the issue of the environmental problems. More contemporary instances of the description of the environment in case of the sustainable development appear in the literary works of Faucheux (1996). He also refers to the tight connection between n the economic growth and environmental sustainability. Some other researches tend to say that ecological and geographical aspects have been the fundamental elements of past prosperity and development. 

Environmental issue of sustainability is concentrated on the common livability and health-length of living systems. The systems are absolutely defined in terms of a comprehensive, dynamic and whole different definition of the organization and resilience. These key elements apply to not only natural or wild but also to artificial or agricultural systems, and cover wilderness, both countryside and urban areas. And the resilience is actually the key potential element of a system which has to maintain its usual structure un the name of disturbance. An ecological system state is usually perceived  as its own consistence and  group of developments which enhance one another inside itself. Some prominent researchers originally mentioned resilience as the amount of change that will cause an ecosystem to switch from one system state to another. Resilience is also considered to be the ability of a system to return to equation after a destructive shock. Other researchers concerned often say that the resilience of a particular ecological system is connected to the adherence of appropriate ecological developments at both levels of the greater and smaller dimension (Shah, 2009).

To this extent, the lack natural resources, contamination and forfeiture of a variety of species on the planet are rather harmful for the sustainability of any country around the world because they increase vulnerability of some groups of existing organisms including human beings and animals inhabiting the Earth, destruct the health system. Ciriacy-Wantrup (1952) has presented the idea of safe limitations which were also referred to as carrying capacity, which is of the greatest importance since it allows to avoid awful collapse of the ecological system. Sustainability may be perceived also like the notion connected with the normal and rating of ecological and socioeconomic systems. 

Social sustainability

The last constituent element of the sustainable development for any country around the globe is social aspect and and issue of society as a whole. The development of the society is usually referred to the melioration in not only individual welfare but also, and more importantly, the overall social indicators of well-being too. The key element here is the social capital which is basically an aggravation of abilities for groups of people as well as for individuals to cooperate, to work together in a team for the purpose of achieving more effective and important shared aims. Social capital is literally the resource which people are ready to rely on in case of pursuing their desires. Such capital is to be developed through the networks and connectedness principle, through participating of better organized groups and through the development relationships built on trust, ideas exchanges and mutual assistance, or mutuality as a whole between the people.

It’s also worth noting that the basics of the human capital are the education, professional skills as well as social relationships and customs are the basics of the cultural capital. Both cultural and human capital are the key elements of the social capital. But of course, a plenty of distinctions exist between these two and the social capital. Firstly, the way of social interactions that is the basis of human existence along with the level of mutual assistance and scale of common social customs, gives a chance to find the stock of social capital. Moreover, some forms of social capital may be destructive, for instance, cooperation within criminal gangs may benefit someone, but impose far greater costs on the larger community in the future perspective. Equality and poorness estimation are of the greatest importance here. So, social goals include protective strategies that decrease vulnerability, equity and provide that basic needs are met for such people. Future social processes will demand socio-political and establishments that can meet the challenges of modern age – which often destroy usual settling mechanisms that disadvantaged groups have ell for the past years. 

From the perspective of poorness and need, social capital may be divided into three basic kinds used in practice: bonds, bridges, and links. To bond social capital is connected to concentration of the development of the relations of trustworthiness and common living with relatives, loved ones or simply friends and groups within the same community. It helps to create wide social solidarity, meet the daily needs of the poor, and enhance the long-term and reliable relationships between the people in communities. To bridge social capital is like relying on individuals and local groups of people who develop connections not only with local communities, but also with regional and national organizations, which share similar values or interests. For instance, such organizations could be a credit organizations and livelihood networks which provide social protection and job vacancies for those people who need it or is somehow deprived of it. Such bridging has made it extremely easy the establishment of many non-state and civil society instituitons. Finally, to link social capital means to rely on influential associations – for example on those who have access and influence on powerful people or organizations like government ministries and interested international agencies which can help and support the initiatives concerning the social capital. Such connections are extremely useful to facilitate access to benefits, like loans, jobs, help with small enterprise development for the young amateur entrepreneurs and finally get people out of poverty.

Trust and security are essential parts of social capital. When the work networks and organizations are not sufficient or just ineffective, people generally do not trust each other so much. Unfortunately, power is usually aligned with impact and some close ties. If the rulers can not understand the community and do not bring any beneficial changes to its people, they will be no longer recognized by them as powerful ones. Leaders often fail to link with the poorest groups, which, therefore, deprives them of their authority and power. Constant and safe relationships play is a key element for any experienced governor.  Analysis of the dynamics of community relations provides a social map that allows practitioners to create some specific programs to targeted audience and also to create better opportunities for those who have bad jobs or less money to participate in decision making too. Recent research has clearly shown the crucial role of specialized institutions and agencies in explaining differences among nations in terms development or stagnation, or, in other words, how behavioral norms govern social conduct, which in the end actually determines economic behavior of the society as a whole. 

Understanding the links that connect communities deprived of money, food and comfortable livelihoods, and their constant interaction with specialized organizations and governments is crucial for strengthening connections and aggravating resources more directly to make social development more sustainable. Cooperating with existing community-based social capital generates easy ways to get people out of the poorness. It also results in a more sustainable and tight connection with communities, and creates opportunities for more effective participation.

So, these are the fundamental elements of the sustainable development for any country of the world. All of them are tightly connected between each other and they act simultaneously. It’s observed when the sustainable economic development provides better livelihoods, higher standards of living, reduce poverty and gives the poor people the opportunity to have a good job and to have a roof above their heads. So, sustainable economics fosters the potential of social development, which in its’ turn will promote environmental sustainability. Finally, the environmental sustainability can actually provide an effective basis for the aforementioned economic sustainability. Therefore, this is the way these three elements interact and the way they all constitute the notion of sustainable development.

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