Welcome to the WEA Conference “Sustainability – Missing Points in the Development Dialogue” 2012.

Sustainability has many dimensions and is a challenge for both economists and other social scientists. The idea behind this online conference is to raise issues from and about fundamental perspectives, to broaden the dialogue through an articulation of alternative or complementary perspectives, and to provide policy advice. The focus is not just on so-called “tipping points,” but also on “missing points” in the sustainability dialogue.

The papers

We would like to thank all contributors for their papers that have provided a rich and varied intellectual landscape for our discussions, mapping “missing points” in the sustainability dialogue, and providing diverse directions worth considering and alternatives to the mainstream.

We are very pleased with the stimulating and inspiring discussion that has risen. We would like to thank all commentators who participated in the discussion Forum for their time and contribution to our dialogue.

On behalf of the organizers, we can add that we learned a lot about sustainable and unsustainable development, as well as about the logistical side of arranging such an event. This experience will help us organize future online conferences.

In the present situation, characterized by multifaceted and complex threats to humankind, we need open, pluralistic debate in line with normative ideals of democracy. This entails some disagreement, as was the case during the conference. However, we highly value such disagreement as it is a starting point to any transformation, and gives testimony to our ability to learn and cooperate across diversity.

Despite the fact that in a world of plural values and worldviews we can hardly expect any lasting, over-arching consensus, especially pertaining to urgent environmental, financial, and social crises, the power of sustainability dialogue lies in the degree to which all inherent tensions are made visible, as well as in challenging us to develop new modes of learning, cooperation, and action.

We invite all visitors to this website to read and gain an understanding of the issues and arguments presented. We hope that this online conference can serve as a useful resource to all who visit it.

Thank you all for your engagement in such a constructive dialogue.

Peter Söderbaum
Conference Leader

Małgorzata Dereniowska