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Unsustainable Development Trap

Aris Ananta

Mletiko, 9 September 2014

The UN has declared “The Future We Want” as sustainable development, rather than a growth oriented development.

If we follow the UN concept of “The Future We Want”, we need evaluate some economic concepts we often heard today. One of them is poverty trap or middle income development trap. Indonesia is often feared to fall into a middle-income development trap, being as a middle-income country for a very long time. However, this concept is very growth oriented. It needs to be evaluated to suit the UN’s concept of “The Future We Want”.

Therefore, we need to introduce the concept on “unsustainable development trap”, rather than poverty trap or middle-income development trap. Conceptually, country or a community is “trapped” in unsustainable development when it cannot escape from a situation of continuously destroying its own environment. When members of a community cut trees from their close-by forest, the forest may suffer and eventually harm the community itself. When the cutting of the trees is still minimum, the forest can recover the trees. But when the cutting become more extensive and intensive, the forest lost its ability to recover the trees. The community suffers. Then, it seeks other forest or natural resources to destroy. It is ironic, that people destroy their own resources simply to survive. Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed under: economy, English, poverty, statistics, , , ,

Impact of Environmental Degradation on Upland Poverty: the case of South Kalimantan (Indonesia) and Sarawak (Malaysia)

Aris  Ananta

The poor have often been blamed for environmental degradation, as being poor has caused them to destroy the environment. However, this study concludes that  poverty is not the sufficient condition of the environmental degradation. It is only the necessary condition.  The sufficient condition is the existence of a third party (big companies) that destroys the environment. The  poor join the big companies because they see an opportunity to sustain their livelihood or even increase their income.

We recommend three policies to be implemented simultaneously, in addition to the full enforcement of the laws against environmental degradation. First is to create alternative employment opportunities for the local people so that they do not  depend on activities which are harmful to their own environment.  However, the people, including those from outside their area, may continue contributing to the environmental degradation. The  people may not be able  to resist joining the big companies in the environmentally harmful activities  as long as their own income  will rise. We cannot expect them to have a long vision.

Therefore, we need the second policy, that is to create employment opportunities which heavily depend on the bio-diversity of the environment. By doing so, it is for the interest of the local people to protect and enhance their environment. They will protest  and resist companies and developmental projects which destroy their  environment.

However, such a policy may not work well if those multi-national companies offer incentives and other forms of compensation (“bribery”) to  the local people. Thus, we need the third policy, that is to enlist all goods produced by companies which destroy the environment. The list of the goods is then published and disseminated  to   all over the world, through credible sources such as international websites. The consumers have the right to know whether the goods and services they consume are harmful to the environment and/or are produced using environmentally harmful activities. The strong campaign to increase the consumers’ awareness  will greatly reduce the demand for such products and consequently reduce profit of the companies.  The decline in the profit will reduce the companies’ motivation to destroy the environment.

Read the full paper in ImpactofEnvironmentalDegradationonPoverty

Related article

Trade off between Environmental and Developmental Goals

Filed under: economy, English, environment, publications, , , , , , , , , , , , ,



This site contains the writings of Aris Ananta & Evi Nurvidya Arifin. Click here to find out more about them.

We are researchers in the field of demography, social and economic statistics, and economics, focusing on Indonesia and Southeast Asia. Click here to find out more about OUR PUBLICATION .<br

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