Sustainability Science

A Multidisciplinary Approach

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Sustainability science is an academic discipline that emerged in response to threats to the sustainability of the global environment. Its purpose is to help build a sustainable society by developing solutions to climate change, the exhaustion of resources, ecological destruction and other environmental crises that threaten the future of humanity. Sustainability science seeks comprehensive, integrated solutions to complex problems and a restructuring of education and research that spans multiple disciplines. It demands the development of policies that protect the natural and cultural diversity of different regions and promotes the physical and economic health of their inhabitants. This volume offers approaches to the development of a transdisciplinary perspective that embraces natural, social and human sciences in the quest for a sustainable society. It also strives for a global perspective while incorporating the wisdom and experience of local societies.



The market economy and the environment

It was in the 1980s that market fundamentalism – the faith in the market’s omnipotence – became extremely fashionable in Europe and the United States. In 1979, Margaret Thatcher took office as prime minister of the United Kingdom and, in 1981, Ronald Reagan became president of the United States. In Japan, Yasuhiro Nakasone became prime minister in 1982. Each of these three politicians was second to none in terms of their vitality and leadership, and they resolutely pushed free-market reforms forward in their respective countries. Based on their conviction that the best policy is to entrust all economic activity to the market, these three administrations loosened or rescinded legal regulations, privatized state-owned industries, liberalized financial markets and relaxed or abolished protectionism.


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