1. From quantity to quality:
The quantitative aspect of growth had settled upon the simplistic tendency of cost-benefit analysis about the worth of a productive process. However the intangibles in nature are difficult to quantify. Thus new forms of accounting techniques are being developed to quantify the value of flora and fauna in nature so that the material and monetary scarcity can be assessed in real terms. Incentives other than money have been found to be more welcome by communities in a large number of cases.
2. Human self-development is the core of sustainable economic growth:
It draws connection between individual and social change. It also encourages symbiosis between humanity and nature. The dominant industrial system survives upon various forms of mental slavery which leads to material dependence. Under this system unhealthy relationships are tolerated and creativity and simplicity are suppressed.
3. From patriarchal society and male supremacy towards a holistic paradigm of equity:
Unsustainable economic growth is based upon male domination, beliefs in racism, subordination of nature, suppression of women and other weaker sections of society. Excessive and single minded emphasis on efficiency in the productive processes ignores these factors and encourages accumulation of surplus to very few. A feminist theory of science, on the other hand, deconstructs, lays open and criticizes embedded assumptions that result in domination of nature and aims at developing alternatives towards a more benign relationship within the society and between society and nature.
4. From TINA approach to a Strategy of design:
TINA stands for ‘There is no alternative’ approach. It was the suggestive approach to generate conspicuous technology in colonial industrial societies. Though forces of domination still exist and are growing simultaneously the pool of knowledge in the form of awareness of alternative approaches is also growing and this has a high liberating potential. Sustainable economic growth has reprioritized economic goals to move societies out of the ‘commercialization trap’ and provide need satisfaction in a more elegant, comprehensive and efficient manner.
5. Polluter Pays principle:
Sustainable economic growth strategies recognize that producers have a genuine responsibility towards people and labour they employ. Producers who damage conditions of good living and environment must also pay and bear the cost of damage to the society. This is possible in two ways: One, by internalizing the cost of damage in the productive process and the cost of the object produced and two, by a regulatory mechanism such as public liability or insurance acts which may prevent obsolete and polluting technology or hazardous systems from being used in a poor region.
6. Appropriate technology and community-owned firms:
Appropriate technology refers to technologies that do not necessarily require large capital and resource intensive industrial systems. It is also need based. Community firms on community owned firms or municipally owned enterprises that work not only for profit but also to protect and represent community interests such as local developmental issues that are often termed as “Non-Profit Organizations’. They are also referred to as ‘Community Corporations’ and provide alternatives to large capital and resource intensive industrial systems.
In terms of appropriate technologies or methods of production that make use of local skills and resources, the developing countries provide a wealth of innovative ideas practiced at grass-roots levels. These innovative ideas and practices also provide leads to alternative production systems.
7. Problem of accounting environmental losses:
Authoritative studies to reveal the economic costs of damage caused by environmental pollution are not available although. Since the mid eighties many such studies have attempted to reveal the costs. For example costs of damage to health of society, historic monuments and biological systems. The economic cost of pollution and global warming include the cost that nations would have to bear due to the impact of sea level rise such as the cost to deal with the migration of coastal area population as ‘ecological refugees’. Some studies estimate the cost of pollution abatement and control in the developed countries at 0.8 to 1.5 per cent of annual GDP a figure much lower in developing countries.
Following this, in the past two decades some attempts have also been made to adjust national income accounts to register both the direct cost inflicted by environmental degradation and the ‘depreciation’ of natural resources capital to allow for losses in future production potential. Although the national accounts record the income earned from harvesting resource stock such as fish, timber and minerals, the loss of future income through declining resource stocks and deteriorating environmental quality is excluded. When such depreciations are included into natural capital stock, the net contributions of resource degradation to national income are much lower and more accurately reflect the impact on economic reforms.
Take for example Japan which attempted to correct its Gross National Product (GNP) for many factors including environmental. It was found that instead of the GNP growing by a factor of 8.3 percent per year between 1955 and 1985, it grew by an average of only 5.8 percent per year. Similarly if the physical depletion and petroleum price increase, forest, soil and water assets are taken into consideration most of the developed and developing countries face a sharp drop in their GNP ratings. However accounting for the loss of stock resources is complex and remains a contested debate in international politics. The task of adjusting national accounts becomes a political task when no national government likes to reveal the drop in its GNP rise.