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This course comprises three modules of Dr. Sachs' longer course, "The Age of Sustainable Development."
This preview course, "Introduction to Sustainable Development" will give you an understanding of the key challenges and pathways to sustainable development - that is, economic development that is also socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable.
What is Sustainable Development?
Sustainable development is a central concept for our age. It is both a way of understanding the world
and a method for solving global problems
A Short History of Economic Development
The world we’ve seen is divided – startlingly so – with 55 high-income economies (1.3 billion people),
103 middle-income countries (4.9 billion people), and 36 low-income countries (0.8 billion people). How
did these vast differences across the world come about? How is it that there are countries like the
United States at more than $50,000 dollars per person per year of income, and countries like Niger at
under $500 dollars per person per year, less than 100th the income levels of the high-income countries
when measured at market exchange rates? This huge gap certainly did not exist two centuries ago.
Growth within Planetary Boundaries
To achieve sustainable development, countries need to achieve three goals simultaneously: economic
growth, broad-based social inclusion, and environmental sustainability. While many countries have
“solved” the growth puzzles, few have succeeded in achieving all three aspects of sustainable