ABSTRACT

The real challenge of sustainability is to reframe the challenge. As conventionally understood, sustainable development contests our competence to predict the consequences of our interactions with nature and taxes our capability to control those interactions so that the old idea of development remains intact yet is sustainable. I trust, however, after elaborating on this framing of the challenge in the previous chapter, that it is clear that this challenge cannot be met. The world is far too complex for us to perceive and establish the conditions for sustainability. Those who-on realizing our limited ability to perceive and control-tout the use of markets fail to realize that the objectives that markets reach depend on the system of property rights underlying their performance. The design of the appropriate system of rights not only requires equivalent prescience but presumes a static world. Indeed, even the elaboration in the last chapter, with all of its complications, never went beyond assuming that societies and environments are static, complex systems.