Unjustified arguments for energetic, social, cultural and economic sustainability

We have a responsibility not to allow that three basic myths of the pre-Coronavirus economic ideas pin again to the future economic politics. No matter how many new work places they bring, projects which have disappearance, destruction or degradation of water, air and ground as a final outcome, are not good projects for us.

There lays our responsibility: towards the planet, the ancestors, descendants, natural and cultural heritage, to ensure that it exists and lasts. Coronavirus has, globally, critically shown the vulnerability of economic ideas, politics, solutions, instruments and unions, which were until recently considered as superior.

  • Sustainable growth - as initially theoretically developed idea about "balanced" development which presumes balancing in regards to the pillars or subjects: economy, ecology and society + culture, subsequently added important category. The real truth is that, in the name of the argument of sustainable development, work is being done on many allegedly sustainable solutions, ideas and projects. Another important truth is that practical outcomes of seemingly decently established ideas of the sustainable growth, turned out to be very unbalanced, and thus remained as pillars in the function of economic pillar and the idea of economic growth. Sustainable growth carries a lot of positive connotations and takes one down the rabbit hole of the semantic gaps. It is in one word - nothing. Nothing contains the infinity of itself. In the example of SHPP, in the name of the sustainable growth (ideas incorporated in the economic policies all over the planet in the pre-COVID19 times), more and more is being insisted on the renewable energy sources. SHPP projects which we point to as DRSP movement and personaly (as people of common sense and stable emotion), not only that they don't bring balanced development in terms of economy,society, culture and ecology; these projects abolish basic human rights: right to access water of the local community, right of the people to evaluate natural resources through the fact that they are undisturbed and that they will exist. In addition, SHPP projects cancel local community's right to culture, tangible and intangible tradition and hydro-identity as theoretically and practically proven identity category. In other words, identity of the people living in the vicinity of rivers - hydro-identity, especially when it comes to the small mountain rivers, makes these people more similar on the planetary, than on the national level. More precisely, inhabitant of Stara Planina, e.g. someone from Topli Do, will have the identity which is more similar to some Latin American from Bolivia, who grew up in the similar geographic area near the river, where social and cultural activities are determined and interwined by the natural context of the small river running down the rocky river bed. Both of them have defended their waters and stories these waters tell from some form of "robbery and privatization". Their experience contains values and meaning, which is the field of culture and right to culture is guaranteed by the domestic legislation and international conventions just like the right to water.

SHPP projects change the context of the environment of the local community. In the example of Rakita, SHPP project has taken away locals' right to work. Destroying the only road to the common huts, they lost the possibility to do the basic economic activity - livestock breeding.

Finally, SHPP are economically unjustified. If the state wasn't subsidizing them using feed-in tariffs, the interest for these projects would decrease. Mentioned tariffs present enforced re-allocation of the funds of the electricity end users, through a separate item on every individual electricity bill. These resources are then allocated towards the privileged producers of electricity from renewable energy sources, from which the state then redeems kWh at the price several times higher than the market price. If this wasn't the case, investors wouldn't be interested in this.

  • Idea of the economic growth, which tended to be a point of the global economy in both theory and practice in the pre-Coronavirus times. Economic growth can be measured and this is done using GDP - Gross Domestic Product. Even if we accept that GDP is accurately calculated, because it's susceptible to manipulation and politicization, GDP still remains a reflection of great nothingness in the post-Coronavirus period. Indicator was suitable - perfect, yet future. Percentual growth of GDP, whichever formula one uses to calculate it, reflects only two things: power of the state to produce and sell products and the power of society to buy products. The addition is per capita, which should express purchasing power of men, per individual. If the only meaning of human beings is to buy goods, this is a good indicator.

Important questions related to the growth of GDP, that nobody is answering, are: WHO GROWS, ON WHICH BASIS IT GROWS, WHO DOESN'T GROW, STAGNATES OR SUFFERS BECAUSE OF IT? The ones who grow are the ones who are already big and strong, and the gap is getting bigger and bigger. WE DON'T ASK AND WE DON'T KNOW WHO GROWS IN THE STRUCTURE OF ECONOMY; DO THE ECOLOGICALLY ACCEPTABLE PROJECTS GROW, DO THE CULTURAL PROJECTS GROW, DO THE PROJECTS IMPACTING SOCIAL VITALITY GROW, OR THE ONES WHICH IMPROVE THE HEALTH SYSTEM? EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM? GDP tells us nothing about it. And not every growth is the same and not every is good.

  • A myth about Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), meaning everything to us, is always placed in the positive context. In reality, there are many theoretical and practical evidences that FDI don't necessarily help economy in a positive manner. In the example of Serbia, foreign investors are privileged comparing to the domestic ones, have more flexible working conditions, due to the fact that they come to the edge of Europe, or developing country, or country of the global South. In short, not all foreign (or domestic) investments are the same. Serbian representatives try to present it as economic El Dorado where everything is possible - doing business with dirty and outdated industries, cheep manpower working for minimal wage in the conditions one couldn't think of are possible, especially where the investor comes from. Serbia subsides foreign investors through salaries as well, and once subsidized period ends, investors usually leave Serbia.

We have to be ready to implement new values: cleanness, kindness, fairness, equality, freedom, solidarity in every segment of the society, because these values can guarantee a live worth living. Future doesn't function on the outdated technologies. We are here to build avant-garde and new ideology.

Dr Milica Kočović De Santo

Research Associate

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