There are three distinct stages in the evolution of
economic thought, namely:
1. in the first stage, the major concern was to accelerate
economic growth with increased availability of material
goods, especially in developing economies with very low
living standards, because poverty eradication meant faster
2. in the second stage, economists made distinction between
growth and development. Development was seen as going
beyond economic growth, and bringing certain changes in
the structure of the economy with more equitable
distribution of the benefits of growth, with the growth
coming automatic and sustained.
3. the third stage is now reached. Our concern is now with
“sustainable development", that is, development not only
for the present but also of the future.
Thus the focus changed from “sustained growth" to “sustained
development". Sustained development brings to the fore the long
term relationship between the ecology and economic development.
Since the creation of UNEP in 1972 it has worked for
development without destruction for environmentally sound and
sustained development. It was realised that the environment cannot
be viewed in a vaccum, it is not separate from development, nor is it
competing. It suggested for the integration of the environment with
development whereby ecological factors enter development planning,
socio-economic policies, cost-benefit analysis, trade, technology
transfer, waste management, educational and other specific areas.
Industrialisation has contributed to the growth of economy of
several countries. It has improved the standards of living of its people
and provided benefits to the society. It has also created in the process
great environmental problems like climate change, forest destruction
and denudation, soil erosion and desertification etc.
On the other hand, industry has provided jobs and improved the
prospects of wealth for the industrialists. The working class
communities had to simply put up with the high levels of pollution in
order to keep up their jobs and also to save their income.
There are many roots of the environmental problem. They may be
political, economic, cultural and technological conditions of the
modern society. The experts concede that industrial growth lies
somewhere close to the heart of the matter. Therefore, the objective
of this paper is not to document all roots of an environmental crisis
but rather to discuss the effects of industrial growth and
We have come to the conclusion that although public intervention
is often unnecessary to ensure that perfectly competitive markets will
function in society-s best interests, such intervention is necessary
when firms or consumers pollute.