Publication Type:Journal Article
Source:Organization Studies, Volume 24, Number 1, p.143–180 (2003)
Keywords:critical management studies, environmentalism, neo-colonialism, North–South relations, sustainable development
This paper explores the contradictions inherent in one of the more popular buzzwords of today: sustainable development. I argue that, despite claims of a paradigm shift, the sustainable development paradigm is based on an economic, not ecological, rationality. Discourses of sustainable development embody a view of nature specified by modern economic thought. One consequence of this discourse involves the transformation of
nature' intoenvironment', a transformation that has important implications for notions of how development should proceed. The
rational' management of resources is integral to the Western economy and its imposition on developing countries is problematic. I discuss the implications of thisregime of truth' for the Third World with particular reference to biotechnology, biodiversity and intellectual property rights. I argue that these aspects of sustainable development threaten to colonize spaces and sites in the Third World, spaces that now need to be made `efficient' because of the capitalization of nature.