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Assessing the Top Performers: Mindful Conservatism and ‘Sustainable Development’
* 1 , 2
1  School of Education, University of Northern British Columbia
2  Human Security Institute (Canada)

Abstract: In the light of the increasing constraints imposed on human affairs and ambitions by the limits of our ecological support systems, the concept of sustainable development has undergone substantial revisions. In fact, many programs and plans that were advocated under the banner of sustainable development hardly qualify as either sustainable or even as development in any rigorous sense (Lautensach & Lautensach 2013). This finding is supported by the observation that the bioproductive areas of many of the world’s least ‘developed’ countries still exceed their ecological footprints (Lautensach & Lautensach 2010). In other words, unlike almost all of the world’s richer countries, they still operate within the realm of sustainability. The widely shared humanistic concern for the well-being of future generations elevates sustainability to a prime goal among our national and global aspirations. Countries that operate sustainably need to ensure that they remain in that realm, and others should endeavour to reach it. In this paper we focus on the former of those propositions and suggest some general policy directions that would help ‘developing’ countries retain their relatively sustainable status while improving the well-being and human security of their citizens. Preventive health care, subsistence agriculture, fertility reduction, and restrictions on foreign investments are discussed as possible means. Policies that are to be avoided include development schemes that increase market dependence and the ratio of footprint over capacity. As prerequisites we suggest counter hegemonic solidarity, democratic consensus, and holistic education. Lautensach, A. & S. Lautensach. 2013. Why ‘Sustainable Development’ is Often Neither: A Constructive Critique. Challenges in Sustainability 1(1): 3-15. Lautensach, S. & A. Lautensach. 2010. Prioritising the Variables Affecting Human Security in South-East Asia. Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies.Vol. 3 (2): 194-210.
Keywords: Development; ecological footprint; overshoot; neo-colonialism; human security;