Economic Development and Environmental Degradation in the era of Neoliberalism

University essay from Lunds universitet/Graduate School

Abstract: After the 1980s, neoliberalism became the dominant philosophy of development across the world. Whereas the widespread implementation of neoliberal economic policies contributed immensely for a maximization of world economic integration and activity, critics argue that the ideology was also responsible for dramatically widening the inequality gap between and within nations, as well as for the increasing deterioration of the planet’s environmental base. Throughout the dissertation, the reader can follow a critical assessment of the consequences associated with the implementation of neoliberal economic policies at a local and global level. The author comprehensively argues that the worldwide shift towards neoliberalization was accompanied by a remarkable increase in global environmental degradation. Furthermore, it is argued that in despite of neoliberal achievements of creating a substantial globalized economy, major beneficiaries of such trend were the most developed countries of the North. Therefore, the author strongly questions the adoption of a global neoliberal agenda fostered by international institutions and free trade agreements. Lastly, the author argues that the United Nations conceptualization of sustainable development successfully merges concerns over development and the environment. The major finding of the research is that the promotion and pursuit of an international sustainable development agenda can deliver significant results in both economic development, and global environmental issues. However, a problematic encounter appears when economic interests are confronted with environmental concerns in the era of neoliberalism.

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