Markets First - 2003

By 2032, many of the same questions that were being posed at the turn of the century remain unanswered. The world has achieved much in terms of modernization and economic growth, presenting new opportunities for millions of people. Yet fundamental questions are still being raised about the sustainability and desirability of this pattern of development. Environmental standards continue to fall and pressures on resources remain severe, raising again the specters of economic uncertainty and conflict. Social stresses threaten socio-economic sustainability as persistent poverty and growing inequality, exacerbated by environmental degradation, undermine social cohesion, spur migration and weaken international security.

Opinions differ as to where the world is heading. Depending on which indicators the observer chooses to focus upon, arguments can be made for either side. Many argue that the cases of breakdown already seen in some social, environmental and ecological systems portend even more fundamental and widespread collapses in the future. These same groups express particular concern that efforts have not been made to develop the institutions that will be needed to handle these predicaments. Others point out that we have been able to handle most of the crises we have faced and that there is no reason to assume we will not do likewise in the future.

Most people stick to their daily routines, leaving the big questions to others. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose; the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Copyright © 2002, United Nations Environment Programme

Markets First is basically the mainstream U.S. Republican paradigm - it is beloved by conservatives worldwide.

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