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sustainable development, worldview, ecological


This article focuses on personal values and beliefs that critically underlie the "sustainable development" controversy and on the implications of those values and beliefs to personal and professional decision-making. The issues are presented through two contrasting paradigms: a "modern scientific worldview" (MSW) and a "sustainable development worldview" (SDW). MSW is intended to characterize the perspectives of most current-day academics, development practitioners, businessmen, and everyday citizens. SDW characterizes those disenchanted with MSW. Their disenchantment arises from concerns over possible adverse long-term implications of decisions arising from MSW which tend to be dominated by relatively immediate, narrowly based, and self-interested considerations. The first section in the article provides a brief historical perspective on the emergence of "sustainable development" as an issue in current-day society and in public policy decision- making. Eight illustrative contrasting MSW-SDW personal values and beliefs are then presented, followed by six illustrative impacts of those values and beliefs on private and public decision-making. The article concludes with the issuing of a challenge to the reader.


Department of Economics, South Dakota State University

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