The Challenge of Adapting Form to Function
Edited by William M. Lafferty
Chapter 4: Management by Objectives: A Comparison of Dutch, Swedish and EU Strategies for Realising Sustainable Development
4. Management by objectives and results: a comparison of Dutch, Swedish and EU strategies for realising sustainable development Lennart J. Lundqvist POLITICAL TERMS AND ECOLOGICAL CYCLES – CAN THE TWAIN BE JOINED? Doing Time on Earth: Politics as Ultimately Fenced by Natural Eco-cycles Earlier satellite pictures of ‘Spaceship Earth’ have driven home the insight that our home in the universe is a finite entity with finite resources. They made it dramatically clear that nobody can escape from doing his or her time here. Just as we are today fenced within the – astronomically speaking – infinitesimally thin biosphere surrounding Earth, so will our descendants be fenced for generations to come. Life is critically dependent on the sustainability of that thin layer. But population growth, water and air pollution, and possibly irrevocable climate change, threaten the long-term sustainability and productivity of the biosphere. Thus the critical question: How can we achieve long-term sustainable development? The closing decades of the 20th century witnessed energetic efforts to come to grips with this question. A host of global initiatives were taken, whose fate depends on the political power and will among the leadership in the community of nations. But politics suffers from institutionalised short-sightedness. Political time is measured by distinct events that begin or end electoral terms with special meaning or importance. Reoccurring at two- to five-year intervals, elections strongly shape the views and uses of time among political representatives in the world’s democracies. Re-election by necessity becomes a major motivation for political action. Consequently, democratic politics...
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