The Ecological Opportunity
Edited by Blandine Laperche, Nadine Levratto and Dimitri Uzunidis
Chapter 14: Global Economic Governance for More Stable and Sustainable Development: Some Proposals from the Stiglitz Report
André Gabus and Alexander Hawthorne INTRODUCTION If it is to be sustainable, social and economic development must be conducted so as to respect the environment, be it only to avoid toorapid depletion and degradation of natural resources. Implicit in this approach is respect and a sense of responsibility for the future. The financial crisis of 2007–08 demonstrated that this condition was being flagrantly disregarded by the financial sector, in its relations with the environment and with the rest of the economy. Even if its footprint is far less than that of industry and transport, the direct environmental impact of this sector is not negligible, given its massive IT infrastructure and the social side effects of the inequalities it has engendered. More critically, its activities, driven by the imperative of shareholder value as its central criterion, have in recent decades focused on short-term profit to the detriment of longer-term projects. In consequence, the investments necessary for the transition to a post-petroleum economy have so far not been adequately supported. In similar fashion, this mode of thinking, and the influence of the financial sector on the rest of the economy and at the political level, has greatly contributed to the underpricing of pollution and of carbon emissions in particular, with no regard for the magnitude of the issues at stake and the global consequences for the future. Sustainable and orderly development of the planet requires not only effective regulation of environmental issues but also appropriate and adequate financing by a financial...
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