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Technology, Globalization, and Sustainable Development

Technology, Globalization, and Sustainable Development

Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 736
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Technology, Globalization, and Sustainable Development
    Book Description:

    In this book Nicholas A. Ashford and Ralph P. Hall offer a unified, transdisciplinary approach for achieving sustainable development in industrialized nations. They present an insightful analysis of the ways in which industrial states are currently unsustainable and how economic and social welfare are related to the environment, to public health and safety, and to earning capacity and meaningful and rewarding employment. The authors argue for the design of multipurpose solutions to the sustainability challenge that integrate economics, employment, technology, environment, industrial development, national and international law, trade, finance, and public and worker health and safety. This book is essential reading for anyone with a policy or scholarly interest in sustainable development and the critical roles of the economy, employment, and the environment.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-17760-2
    Subjects: Business, Economics, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Detailed Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xxii)
  4. List of Illustrations
    (pp. xxiii-xxvi)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xxvii-xxviii)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxix-xxx)
  7. Overview
    (pp. 1-16)

    Like other books with the word “sustainability” in the title, the motivation of this work stems from a dissatisfaction with the current state of the world and from a desire to identify those policies and strategies that will transform firms, institutions, governments, and societies in a more positive direction. We will argue that the main driving forces that have sent us in the wrong direction are the same forces, but differently fashioned and designed, that could be used to reverse course and improve the state of the world. These forces fall under the broad heading of technology and trade or,...

  8. Part I The Multidimensional Concept of Sustainability

    • 1 Concern for a Global Future
      (pp. 19-121)

      At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the world might have been described as one of significant technological progress, industrialization, and globalization. Our current standard of living is based on many drivers of modern progress. In developed nations, energy systems supply power to our homes, places of work, and general environment. When we become ill, we find an abundance of modern drugs that can ease or cure our suffering, maintaining or improving our physical and emotional well-being. Global financial and commodity markets provide trillions of dollars a day to supply our investment and consumption needs. The agricultural sector, through mechanization...

    • 2 The Emergence of Sustainable Development
      (pp. 122-142)

      This chapter provides an abbreviated overview of the emergence of the concept of sustainable development during the latter part of the twentieth century. For a more detailed discussion, see the extended Primer on Sustainable Development found at the website associated with this book.

      The concept of sustainable development obtained formal international recognition at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. However, it is possible to trace the modern environmental movement back to the 1950s, when developed nations—for example, the United States, Japan, and several nations in what is now the Europe...

  9. Part II Economic Development, Globalization, and Sustainability

    • 3 Economic Development and Prosperity: Current Theory and Debate
      (pp. 145-182)

      In Chapter 1, we discussed fundamental concepts of economic growth and the metrics that might be used to mea sure that growth in terms of increased GNP and GDP. We also argued that not all increases in these metrics were necessarily good. For example, the GDP of a region might go up as a result of activities related to digging out of a blizzard or rescuing people in a flood, but no one would argue that more of this kind of increase in GDP was good, even if some firms and people benefited or profited from the activity. Increased economic...

    • 4 Globalization: Technology, Trade Regimes, Capital Flows, and the International Economy
      (pp. 183-213)

      Globalization and trade create new opportunities, alliances, and relationships among technology-based firms and nations. They also create new problems and challenges:

      There are opportunities to expand existing domestic production/services to international markets, but the international marketplace may present additional competitive challenges as well.

      There are opportunities to benefit from lower factors of production by locating facilities abroad, but the advantages of doing so may be undercut by currency fluctuations, political instability, inadequate infrastructure, and lower worker productiveness

      There are opportunities to avoid costly domestic financial, environmental, or tax regulation by operating abroad, but future foreign regulatory systems may be uncertain,...

    • 5 Globalization and Sustainability
      (pp. 214-268)

      In previous chapters, we have introduced three dimensions of sustainability—the economy, work, and the environment—that we argue are continually influenced by the dynamic forces of both technological change and globalization. What has so far been avoided is putting the pieces together—that is, attempting to articulate the effects of both technological innovation and important trends in the international economy on national economies, work, and the environment. This chapter focuses on “globalization” and its impact on sustainability. Part III, which consists of Chapters 6, 7, and 8, takes a detailed look at the impact of technological change on sustainability....

  10. Part III: Industrial Policy and the Role of the Firm in Pursuing Sustainable Development

    • [Part III Introduction]
      (pp. 269-270)

      In Part II of this book, we articulated the effects that both technological change and globalization have, or are expected to have, on the three pillars of sustainability. Technological change is both a cause of unsustainability and a vehicle for the improvement of the workings of the industrial state. Therefore, understanding the technological change process and the possible roles of the private sector and the government in influencing that process is essential for the design of policy. A number of questions are suggested in this regard. The reader might wish to address them on the completion of all the chapters...

    • 6 The Importance of Technological Innovation
      (pp. 271-286)

      In Part I of this book, we addressed the dimensions and historical evolution of the concept of sustainability. In Part II, we discussed the concept of industrial development, first in the context of the nation-state and then in the context of the globalized economy. We then linked globalization with sustainability, tracing the current and anticipated effects of development on sustainability.

      In this chapter that begins Part III, “Industrial Policy and the Role of the Firm in Pursuing Sustainable Development,” we focus on a deeper understanding of technological change and argue that technological innovation is essential for achieving sustainable development. In...

    • 7 Organizational Innovation and Learning: The Role of the Industrial Firm in Achieving Sustainable Development
      (pp. 287-335)

      In early chapters, we argued that four types of innovation, technological, organizational, institutional, and social (Ashford 2005; Rennings 2000), were essential in transforming industrialized/industrializing nations into sustainable ones. These distinctions may not always be very sharp (Rennings 1998, 2000). In any event, they are related to one another and are necessary for sustainable development. In this chapter, however, we focus primarily on the intersection betweentechnologicalandorganizationalinnovation. Technological innovation is defined as the first commercially successful application of a new technical idea (or an invention). Organizational innovation refers to changes in the private sector, while institutional changes pertain...

    • 8 Government Policies to Foster Innovation, Economic Growth, and Employment
      (pp. 336-366)

      We have argued earlier that technological innovation is essential for achieving sustainable development. More specifically, that innovation can be focused on improving (1) production processes, products, product-services, and ser vices (that is, competitiveness); (2) the environment (through environmental technology or the prevention of pollution at the source); and (3) employment (through the design of better sociotechnical systems). In Chapter 9, we discuss nation-based policies for achieving environmental sustainability. Here, we address various approaches to industrial policy to improve competitiveness and employment.

      Government policy to foster innovation for competitiveness can take various forms:

      1. It can provide a suitable business and financial...

  11. Part IV National, Regional, and International Efforts to Advance Health, Safety, and the Environment

    • 9 Government Intervention to Protect the Environment, Public/Worker Health and Safety, and Consumer Product Safety
      (pp. 369-418)

      Following our exploration of interventionist government policies focusing on the economy/competitiveness and employment in Chapter 8, this chapter, the first of two chapters constituting Part IV of this work,* explores two different policy models for addressing health, safety, and environmental concerns from the perspective of the nation-state. One approach focuses onenvironmental policycontrolling pollution in various media (air, water, waste, and the workplace), product safety, and industrial chemical production, use, and disposal. An alternative approach focuses on developing anindustrial policy for the environmentthat encourages or requires environmentally sustainable production, products, and energy-related activities through the tools of...

    • 10 Regional and International Regimes to Protect Health, Safety, and the Environment
      (pp. 419-520)

      There are several types of environmental problems that have been exacerbated by increased industrial throughput (driven by increased consumption) of energy and materials that (1) adversely impact public health and the environment and (2) consume natural and physical resources and energy. These environmental problems are not bounded by geopolitical borders but rather have international and even global consequences that must be managed through both domestic and international legal instruments, agreements, and principles. Inherent in the concept of sustainable development is the necessity to have the fundamental tools and instruments to manage environment, health, and safety issues effectively for the well-...

  12. Part V International Trade and Finance

    • [Part V Introduction]
      (pp. 521-522)

      The globalization of commerce and financial capital has an increasingly large impact on most of the developed world and some of the developing world. Although there is no international department of commerce or international ministry of trade, voluntary trade regimes have sought to regularize international economic activity by establishing rules of conduct for trade and commerce, mechanisms for dispute resolution, and forums for discussion of issues of concern about the global economy.

      The first of two components of Part V, Chapter 11, focuses on the legal issues related to environment and employment in the context of trade regimes. Looking ahead,...

    • 11 Trade Regimes and Sustainability
      (pp. 523-568)

      Before growth in trade became important for raising sectoral or national revenues—and before globalization in its various manifestations began to influence development in individual nations (see Chapter 4), environmental policies, and employment—countries were content to focus on domestic policies affecting competitiveness (here meaning the productiveness of the economy), environment, and employment. Trade and globalization have changed this.

      Although there is no international department of commerce or international ministry of trade, voluntary trade regimes have sought to regularize international economic activity by establishing rules of conduct for trade and commerce, mechanisms for dispute resolution, and forums for discussion of...

    • 12 Financing Development
      (pp. 569-666)

      The international financial architecture currently still lacks an effective method of providing development aid that enables and encourages the world’s poorest nations to develop and grow in a truly sustainable, efficient, and equitable way. As was expressed in the Brundtland report (WCED 1987, p. 8): “Many present efforts to guard and maintain human progress, to meet human needs, and to realize human ambitions are simply unsustainable—in both the rich and poor nations. They draw too heavily, quickly, [on] already overdrawn environmental resource accounts to be affordable far into the future without bankrupting those accounts.”

      This chapter will examine the...

  13. Part VI Strategic Policy Design for Sustainable Transformations

    • 13 Pathways to Sustainability: Co-optimizing Economic Development, the Environment, and Employment
      (pp. 669-702)

      This book has thus far focused on the origins of the emergence of sustainability as a concept; its evolution through national and international political and legal processes; the theories of economic growth in national and global contexts; the effects of globalization and trade on sustainable development; the role of innovation and the industrial firm in achieving sustainable development; governmental industrial, employment, and regulatory policies; and financing mechanisms for growth and sustainable development. Although policy options that address various problem areas have been discussed throughout the text, it is in this final chapter that they are brought together in order to...

  14. Index
    (pp. 703-720)