In 2018, Chandran Nair — GIFT's Founder and CEO — will release his next book: The Sustainable State: The Future of Government, Economy and Society.
Drawing upon themes first explored in Consumptionomics: Asia's Role in Reshaping Capitalism and Saving the Planet, Chandran's next book will dive deeper into what the non-Western world will need to do to resolve the coming sustainability challenge.
When it comes to sustainability, the developing world (unlike mature economies) faces a dilemma. Both advanced and developing economies need to become much more sustainable given the challenges of the 21st Century (e.g. peak population, climate change, increasingly scarce resources, and so on). However, the developing world has yet to achieve a basic standard of living for all its people. The development models available to them (based off a Western experience) all rely on the overuse of resources and over-consumption, but these options will no longer be appropriate in a more resource constrained world. When it comes to sustainable development, developing countries need to achieve both sustainability and development. But under current models, developing countries can only achieve either sustainability or development.
It is strong state governance, with its legitimacy, accountability and authority, that is the foundation upon which strong global and local governance is built, and it is the only viable pathway to sustainability for the developing world. What is necessary is a “sustaining state”: one which preserves public and common goods to ensure that all citizens receive the basic “rights of life” through the equal and fair access of resources.
A strong state is the best vehicle for governance if the developing world is to achieve a universal basic standard of living without dooming the planet. This strong state will have an active and consistent government presence in the economy to resolve the system-wide market failure that encourages overconsumption, and will directly act to provide basic needs to a wide population.
Coming Fall 2018!
Chandran Nair has been discussing his views on the role of the state in sustainability at summits and in mainstream publications for several years.
Chandran debates against the motion "Business Should Take the Lead in Driving Sustainable Growth for Asia" at the 2013 Singapore Human Capital Summit.
Chandran has often written on the need to challenge traditional free-market approaches to sustainable development. A few recent examples are below:
The myth of convergence between developed and developing worlds, The Financial Times
Consumptionomics: China’s Dilemma on Moderate Prosperity, The Wall Street Journal
Praise for Consumptionomics
"Two virtually certain major trends will create a massive global collision. First, Asian living standards will rise spectacularly. This is good. Second, Asians will replicate Western consuming patterns. This is bad. How do we gain the good and avoid the bad? This will be one of the biggest questions of the twenty-first century. Chandran Nair's book could not be timelier. We need to seriously address the major questions that he raises and heed his valuable advice."
—Kishore Mahbubani, former Singapore Ambassador to UN and author of Can Asians Think? and The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East
"Terrifying, but terrific! Consumptionomics is an outstanding analysis of what the rise of Asia means for our world. Chandran makes an incredibly compelling argument about why business (i.e. consumption) as usual just won't do. Rather than acting as an impediment to growth for the region, addressing this issue head-on becomes an opportunity to innovate and shift towards a low-carbon economy, growing even more, faster and better."
—José-Maria Figueres, former president of Costa Rica, and former MD of the World Economic Forum