Economics of Sustainability: Exploring Perspectives and Possibilities

What are the economics of creating a sustainable world?

The question whether economics and sustainability are at odds with each other has been the focus of much research and debate. Could economics offer solutions to sustainability concerns that are the consequences of the currently dominant economic doctrine, and whether there is some economic sense in pursuing sustainability are two questions that a development student in India today will benefit from pursuing. Pursuing these questions can provide directions to our intellectual inquiry into the what’ and how’ of instilling sustainability into developmental change at different scales, in terms of both analysis and action. This also means engaging with the triad of theoretical grounding, contemporary economic mechanisms and analytical tools – all targeting sustainability.

The specialisation in sustainability offered to the MA (Dev) students at APU, consists of four categories of courses – core/​mandatory; framing, elements and interventions; in that
sequence. While the mandatory’ exposure to interdisciplinary perspectives’ is
accomplished in the third semester, a specialisation student has to delve deeper into any one frame’ work among those offered in the third semester, and engage with any two elements’ — among energy/​agrarian in the third semester or water /​land in the fourth semester. She also has to take the second mandatory course on strategies’ in the fourth semester when courses on selected interventions will also be offered. Specialisation in its current form envisages sustainability action in the form of justice, education and economic policies. Thus economics of sustainability forms an important part of interventions discussed in the specialisation.

Sustainability’ here is considered as already understood by the student in its multidimensional and dynamic sense, as pursued in the first mandatory course of this
specialisation (Sustainability – an interdisciplinary exploration; Sem 3). This course builds on the foundation laid earlier the journey of a radical idea on equitable social change towards a green washing of whatever we as a society do. Thus this course will venture beyond theoretical exposition and analysis of sustainability in a world where pursuit of capital and consumption have to jostle with quest for social and ecological sustainability.