Sustainable development, which meets the needs of the present generation without undermining the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, was widely adopted as a policy goal in the 1990s by many international agencies, governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). It was also translated into a theoretical concept that has become a major focus for academic research. Yet the speed and breadth of its adoption were surprising to many people, who regarded it, at best, as nothing more than a vague concept and, at worst, as a means to perpetuate the exploitation of developing countries. What is the reason for such conflicting attitudes? The answer to this question holds the key to a better ...