What Governs Sustainable Development? The Role of Ethical Standards
Acknowledging the significance of setting up indicator measures of sustainability and of building new institutions and regulations on sustainable development, the purpose of this proposed paper is to point out that the role of ethical standards cannot be ignored. Such a view is based on the following arguments: (1) the theme of sustainable development itself contains ethical components. However, the existing economic system, in which business operation is guided by “profit-maximization” and individual consumption is directed by “utility-maximization,” does not restrict irresponsible behaviors. (2) Many technologies not only have dual uses, but also increase individual capacities. Nonetheless, the current global political and legal systems are still weak in preventing harmful utilization of technologies. (3) As the enforceability of regulation is often challenged by highly diversified political systems in the world, the code of ethical conduct can be complementary. Illustrations and typical examples are to be given to explain the role of ethical standards in the governance of sustainable development. Implications in understanding what makes effective governance of sustainable development can be drawn.
Keywords: Sustainability, Development, Governance, Ethics
Dr. Jianhong Xue
Affiliation not supplied