Department of Sociology
Delhi School of Economics
University of Delhi, Delhi, India
‘Sustainable development’, a popular term often used to imply ethical, conservative and prudent utilisation of all resources and a compassionate disposition to all humanity and biodiversity; and individual and organisational failure to learn from past experience. The words ‘sustainable’ and ‘development’ are discussed from an etymological and semasiological perspective since they are so often written about with no precise definition of what is meant or intended. Consequently the literature is replete with conflicting and confused concepts of what constitutes sustainable development. The term ‘Sustainable Development’ gained currency during the 1970s. Since then, ‘sustainable’ has tended to imply that a process or activity will progress prudently and efficiently, with economic and benign use of resources; and that it will be unlikely to inflict insult or injury to the health and welfare of humans and other organisms, or damage to the ecologies and environments in which they exist. In sensible sustainable development, preservation is valued not for its own sake but for what it can do for the welfare of present and future generations. One vital condition for approaching sustainability in development is that natural resources and environmental services not be undervalued or underpriced, a condition frequently violated in practice. This is the paper’s prime focus.
Keywords: Sustainable, Development, Ecology, Welfare, Exploitation, Resources, Carrying capacity.