Essay: Sustainable Development in the South

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It is reported that making these problems worse is that fact that countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and other such regions characterized by poverty is that they are

"controlled by small elite groupings that control a disproportionately large share of the national income, and therefore have a disproportionate amount of political power and influence. The poor therefore do not have a forum for voicing their concerns, and because of a lack of political power, their needs are seldom articulated. Elite-dominated governments often maintain their power with military force, or even starvation, and rarely provide democratic options for society. Factors such as their colonial history, the concentration of political and economic power among a privileged minority, undemocratic governmental structures and poorly trained and paid bureaucrats make countries in SSA highly susceptible to government failure (Goodstein, 2008). Given these potential threats, policies that depend on sophisticated analytical capabilities or aggressive monitoring and enforcement are unlikely to succeed in developing countries. Weak or corrupt governments and the lack of meaningful opposition mean that business interests (legal or illegal) are likely to be able to influence the adaptive capacity of social systems, and how natural capital is used in these countries." (Lange, Wise and Nahman, 2010)

Sustainable Development in the Southeast Asian Context

It is reported that the political nature of Sustainable Development in Southeast Asia has been impacted by influences that are of a historical nature, specifically those made during the break from colonialization, and this has resulted in the region's dependence on resources. It is also reported that the dependent on export resource extraction has resulted in many countries in Southeast Asia becoming resource depleted. The result is that the countries that were previously exploited are now exploiting other nations exampled by the logging companies of Thailand now logging in the forests of Cambodia, Myanmar, and Laos. Due to rapid extraction of resources, the economy, which is focused on export, has now turned to agricultural production with land being cleared so that agricultural crops can be produced. The work of Hursch and Warren (1998) states "Political ecology addresses environmental questions through a political-economic lens of state, capital and social formation, which determines patterns of control over natural resources." (p.55 in: Lange, Wise and Nahman, 2010)

According to Walker (1989) there is "an inherent, continuing potential for conflict between the state's roles as develop and protector and steward of the natural environment on which its existence ultimately depends." (p.32 in: Lange, Wise and Nahman, 2010) There are tensions that exist between the desire on the part of the state for economic growth and the unavoidable change to the environment through damage that resulting in significant costs to the environment. Sullivan (1999) states that hydroelectric dams "are a perfect example of 'renewable' or sustainable development, largely because of the use of water as their fuel and the fact that the dams employ technologies that are non-greenhouse gas emitting." (p.302 in: Lange, Wise and Nahman, 2010) However, the result of many such projects is in reality simply a disruption to the community food and income supply. Because economic growth is a priority at the state level in Southeast Asia there is a resulting resource-dependency and follows is exploitation of the regions resources leading to resource depletion.


If there is to be an equal level of sustainable development throughout the world then it will be necessary to consider the starting point for each region and country as there is an imbalance of potential for sustainable development in various world regions which is based upon the country or region's share of wealth, share of resources, type of political institutions, type of governance as well as myriad other factors that influence the potentiality for success in the implementation of sustainable development. Therefore, there should be some method developed for measuring sustainable development that is based on a type of sliding scale scoring system that is weighted in its measurement upon a region or country ability index for potential implementation of a successful sustainable development program or process.


Alagh, YK (1999) Agricultural Trade and Sustainable Development. Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics Jan Mar 1999. ProQuest Central.

Conca, K., Prince, T., and Maniates, M.F. (2001) Confronting Consumption. Global Environmental Politics 1:3 August 2001. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Kates, RW, Parris, TM and Leiserowitz, AA (2005) What is Sustainable Development? Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development Vol. 47.

Lange, W.J., Wise, R.M. And Nahman, A. (2010) Securing A Sustainable Future Through a… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Sustainable Development in the South.  (2011, May 26).  Retrieved July 18, 2019, from

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"Sustainable Development in the South."  26 May 2011.  Web.  18 July 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Sustainable Development in the South."  May 26, 2011.  Accessed July 18, 2019.