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The paradoxes of modern development: Mankind on the edge of a historic bifurcation

Alexander B. Veber, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Associate professor, main researcher, Institute of Sociology of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences,
mailto: mailbox@polisma.ru
The paradoxes of modern development: Mankind on the edge of a historic bifurcation.
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2018. Vol. 9. No. 1. P. 52-75

DOI: 10.19181/vis.2018.24.1.494

This Article is downloaded: 184 times
Topic: Development as Theoretical Concept

For citation:
Alexander B. Veber. The paradoxes of modern development: Mankind on the edge of a historic bifurcation. Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2018. Vol. 9. No. 1. P. 52-75
DOI: https://doi.org/10.19181/vis.2018.24.1.494


This article examines the issues of modern development during a civilization crisis. The dominant development type, based upon uncontrolled economic growth, has lead to a disruption in the balance of the biosphere. Ecologic risks have determined the limit of growth – which are flexible, thanks to technological advancements, but are quite palpable. Globalization policy has exacerbated the situation, intensifying competition in the world’s markets and the struggle for gaining access to resources. However, limits to growth are not the same thing as limits to social development. There are certain areas which are not limited, such as culture, education, the arts, sports, and creative activities. There is a new approach emerging in the realm of public opinion when it comes to understanding development: its objective must be personal development and social prosperity. This implies development which is compatible with preserving the natural environment in a suitable condition for living, today and in the future. This constitutes the key meaning of the notion of stable development, which is officially accepted by the global community, but has not yet in fact become a priority for global policy. The transition to a different kind of development has been met with clear and implicit resistance from influential powers, since it implies overcoming extreme cases of inequality, a more even distribution of wealth, and positive international collaboration, which rules out any sort of hegemonic aspirations on anyone’s part. The future is unclear, bearing the possibility for various outcomes. The proper choice of development policy gains crucial importance. Reasonable regulation of global processes based on globally accepted norms and rules can give global development a new quality, adequate to the risks at hand.


growth and development; environmental threats; globalization; limits to growth; human development; social welfare; sustainable development; policy of development.


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