Sustainable Development and Social Market Economy to Promote a Culture of Peace

Sustainable Development and Social Market Economy to Promote a Culture of Peace

Patrizia Gazzola (University of Insubria, Italy) and Enrica Pavione (University of Insubria, Italy)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 36
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7464-4.ch008


The aim of the chapter is to analyze the evolution of the concept of sustainability and the role of the culture of peace for a balanced sustainable development. The culture of peace is an essential ingredient for sustainable development. Sustainable development plans can be delayed or accelerated depending on the creative and dynamic integration of culture in development planning. The chapter also deepens the link between sustainability and social market economy in a vision in which the intersection between the two paradigms promotes the culture of peace. The chapter aims to contribute to the debate on the future prospects of the European socio-economic model and to verify how these teachings can be generalized to grasp the scope of institutional arrangements in helping to address the great turning points of economic development in the direction of peace.
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Attention to sustainability has led to an expansion of the concept to include more aspects. It has become a value-laden concept comprising many ideals such as equity, choice, confidence, and quality. Given that the term now has economic, social, and political dimensions, a broad, undifferentiated use of the term makes sustainability difficult to understand. At the same time, a focus on spending alone will not resolve the full range of concerns being expressed regarding sustainability.

Growth and development must be compatible with the needs and expectations of the citizens: consensus and social legitimization favour the conditions of trust necessary to achieve earnings and competitive advantages (GBS, 2001).

At the same time, when sustainability is at the forefront of many organization’s agenda (Vos, 2007), culture of peace is a central concept. The reason behind this is the difficulty in integrating the numerous needs and requirements of different cultures and localities into a single, comprehensive blueprint.

Sustainable development does not represent an option (Christen and Schmidt, 2012), but is rather a necessary condition for success of the governments in the medium-long term and culture of peace becomes an important strategic factor.

The report of the United Nations Secretary-General on the “Prevention of Armed Conflict” (2001) states that conflict prevention and sustainable development are mutually reinforcing concepts.

Building a sustainable peace is a universal challenge that requires collective, comprehensive solutions. Extreme poverty, radicalization and climate change are some of the many factors that contribute to conflict and fragility. To achieve a sustainable peace one must address the social, political and environmental factors that create inter-group tension.

The fundamental purpose of governance is to work towards a healthy, safe, tolerant and creative society (rather than merely a financially prosperous one). This means that local governments must promote a model of development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”, as well as ensuring the enjoyment of culture and its components by all, and protecting and enhancing the rights of citizens to freedom of expression and access to information and resources.

It is in this scenario that all industrialized countries, while taking different approaches, feel the need to identify new models of action and to re-think the relationships among State, economy and society, reviving those principles of freedom, peace and solidarity on which the European construction was historically based, and placing individual and human values at the very core.

The need to redesign the balances between the public powers and private initiative under a sustainable and peace-oriented growth perspective shifts the focus back to the Social Market Economy model.

The historical time that industrialized countries are currently living through, characterized by an abrupt break from the recent past, seems in fact to be extraordinarily close to the historical period in which the Social Marked Economy model was developed. There is an important connection between Social Marked Economy and the current stage of development in Europe, which, however, still needs to be thoroughly defined and substantiated. Indeed, the institutional and economic order of Social Marked Economy seems to be consistent with federalism and with the constitutional principle of subsidiarity, which are the foundations of the European integration process. Social Marked Economy relies on the ability to combine State, society and enterprise in a harmonious relationship based on principles of vertical and horizontal subsidiarity.

The current revival of the Social Marked Economy topic is evidenced by the fact that present socio-economic context is characterized, as was the case in the first half of the past century, by a clear break away from the past balances, which points to the need of redefining the relationships among the key economic players.

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