Development and infinity

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This article examines the links between development and the infinite, suggesting that the idea of sustainable development is simply a means of extending the idea of development indefinitely. Western society is viewed as operating under the "prime symbol" or "imaginary social signification" of infinity and infinite development. The article then proposes an interpretation of perception through the use of metaphor, arguing that metaphors shape interpretations of development, and that contemporary ecological projects such as sustainable development are largely metaphorical. The conclusions note that the mainstream concept of sustainable development is inherently conservative and therefore adds little to a clearer understanding of nature-society relations and development policy. © 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd.

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World Development

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