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The warring gods of sustainability : approaches to sustainability within capitalism

Von Schuckmann, Lukas LU (2015) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM02 20151
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
There is no answer to the question “Are sustainability challenges solvable within capitalism?” which is not already taking sides in a debate about values, perceptions and motivations. There are several different approaches to sustainability, based on assumed feasibilities and expected agents of change. By disclosing one’s own stand in the debate while being aware and acknowledging other possible approaches and their rationale would not only be constructive but essential if we are to find solutions to the pressing challenges ahead in the short time frame we have.

The aim of this thesis is to enable the reader to grasp and acknowledge the differences between ap-proaches to sustainability with in capitalism, while taking an informed... (More)
There is no answer to the question “Are sustainability challenges solvable within capitalism?” which is not already taking sides in a debate about values, perceptions and motivations. There are several different approaches to sustainability, based on assumed feasibilities and expected agents of change. By disclosing one’s own stand in the debate while being aware and acknowledging other possible approaches and their rationale would not only be constructive but essential if we are to find solutions to the pressing challenges ahead in the short time frame we have.

The aim of this thesis is to enable the reader to grasp and acknowledge the differences between ap-proaches to sustainability with in capitalism, while taking an informed decision for him-/herself as a prerequisite for meaningful dissonance and deliberation.

I distinguish between four approaches to sustainability within capitalism based on the type of envisaged change mechanism, i.e. formal institutions – laws, constitutions, regulations – and informal in-stitutions – norms, values, perceptions. Each approach is elaborated and presented in detail: neoliberal sustainability, based on the neoliberal rationale and without any considerable demand for institutional change; neoliberal deep sustainability, advocating informal, i.e. value and perception, change within neoliberalism; Keynesian sustainability, which favours stricter regulation and does not focus too much on informal institutional advance; and republican sustainability, which suggests a revival of civic values in combination with stronger regulation. The selection of approaches is based on an extensive literature review across disciplines and schemes are pooled according to common characteristics. After presenting the four approaches, each is extensively critiqued with arguments of proponents of other approaches including arguments from Eco-Socialist/Marxist and De-/Post-Growth, which serve to critique capitalism as such.

This thesis is intended to be a thought-provoking presentation of the plurality of sustainability, pro-posed to facilitate deliberative processes in our daily encounters as well as political debates which have the potential to render clashes of worldviews and interests more constructive. (Less)
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author
Von Schuckmann, Lukas LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM02 20151
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
capitalism, sustainability science, institutional change, values, Habermas
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2015:031
language
English
id
5473862
date added to LUP
2015-06-18 11:56:01
date last changed
2015-06-18 11:56:01
@misc{5473862,
  abstract     = {There is no answer to the question “Are sustainability challenges solvable within capitalism?” which is not already taking sides in a debate about values, perceptions and motivations. There are several different approaches to sustainability, based on assumed feasibilities and expected agents of change. By disclosing one’s own stand in the debate while being aware and acknowledging other possible approaches and their rationale would not only be constructive but essential if we are to find solutions to the pressing challenges ahead in the short time frame we have.
 
The aim of this thesis is to enable the reader to grasp and acknowledge the differences between ap-proaches to sustainability with in capitalism, while taking an informed decision for him-/herself as a prerequisite for meaningful dissonance and deliberation. 

I distinguish between four approaches to sustainability within capitalism based on the type of envisaged change mechanism, i.e. formal institutions – laws, constitutions, regulations – and informal in-stitutions – norms, values, perceptions. Each approach is elaborated and presented in detail: neoliberal sustainability, based on the neoliberal rationale and without any considerable demand for institutional change; neoliberal deep sustainability, advocating informal, i.e. value and perception, change within neoliberalism; Keynesian sustainability, which favours stricter regulation and does not focus too much on informal institutional advance; and republican sustainability, which suggests a revival of civic values in combination with stronger regulation. The selection of approaches is based on an extensive literature review across disciplines and schemes are pooled according to common characteristics. After presenting the four approaches, each is extensively critiqued with arguments of proponents of other approaches including arguments from Eco-Socialist/Marxist and De-/Post-Growth, which serve to critique capitalism as such.

This thesis is intended to be a thought-provoking presentation of the plurality of sustainability, pro-posed to facilitate deliberative processes in our daily encounters as well as political debates which have the potential to render clashes of worldviews and interests more constructive.},
  author       = {Von Schuckmann, Lukas},
  keyword      = {capitalism,sustainability science,institutional change,values,Habermas},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {The warring gods of sustainability : approaches to sustainability within capitalism},
  year         = {2015},
}