Exploring Patterns of Sustainable Development, Governance and E-Infrastructure Capacities of Nations for Global Equity Praxis, Book, Publications

Exploring Patterns of Sustainable Development, Governance and E-Infrastructure Capacities of Nations for Global Equity Praxis ​


World development under the “modernity project” over the last 200 years has resulted in the chronic widening of economic and political gaps between the haves and the have-nots with significant global cultural and ecosystem challenges.  As the project transitioned from feudalism through imperialism, colonialism, and Cold War militarism to the contemporary dialectic of internationalism and globalism with increasing terrorism threats, the relationship between society, technology, and the environment seems to have become a multilevel-multilayer individual, local, national, and global public policy problem.  At the bottom of this problem is the challenge of resource limitations on the fixed planet with increasing population. This challenge is further compounded by inequitable pleasure driven and poverty-driven ecological depletion and pollution by the haves and the have-nots respectively. This modernity outcome is explored in the dissertation as a global equitable sustainable development problem through critical social research and a complex adaptive organizational system conceptual framework.

From this conceptual framework, it is argued that a balanced scorecard based performance management and “lobalization” (from local to global governance), a national governance framework that is internally (locally) balanced with external (global) forces but driven by the civil society through the process of operational citizenship and knowledge-based regimes might help to address the problem.  In making this argument, an empirical definition of three national capacity factors: sustainable development, governance, and electrical/electronic infrastructure (E-infrastructure) management is used to explore the performance of 132 nations representing 64% of the 206 world economies but covering over 90% of the world population, GDP, GNP, and surface area.  Available data as of September 2001 was used to quantify the three capacity factors for the performance ranking of the 132 nations.  In all, over 130 data variables obtained or derived from six complementary sources were used in the quantification.  These variables were then grouped into 42 attributes and nine indicators, three for each capacity factor. 

The dissertation is organized in six chapters. This first – chapter 1 has been an introduction providing a monographic overview of the dissertation. The second chapter covers the dual philosophical and theoretical conceptual framework for the inquiry including a summary of literature review and methodology of inquiry, research method and a discussion of the secondary data source and problems along with operationalization and empirical analysis of sustainable development capacity of nations.  Related sustainable development research questions addressed in this chapter 2 include: Is there an empirical distribution of sustainable development capacity among the national polities? What national polities or group of national polities indicates high sustainable development capacity and what national polities indicate low sustainable development capacity?  The third chapter provides an empirical exploration of national governance capacity of nations in terms of governance localization, governance globalization and governance empowerment indicators. It builds on the findings of chapter 2 and explores national governance capacity as a potential necessary condition for sustainable development capacity of nations. The key research question addressed is what pattern exists between sustainable development capacity and national governance capacity among the national polities?

 In the fourth chapter, the concept of E-Infrastructure management is explored in more details as the convergence of electricity and its cousin (electronics) into the cleanest, fastest and most reliable general-purpose technological infrastructure for public communication/mobility, energy/power, and transactions/telecommunication that humans have ever invented or used. Chapter 4 builds on the findings of chapters 2 and 3 to explore the coupling of E-infrastructure management capacity with sustainable development capacity and national governance capacity among national polities. It addresses two research questions: What pattern exists between sustainable development capacity and E-infrastructure management capacity and what pattern exists between national governance capacity and E-infrastructure management capacity among the national polities? The relative % scores on sustainable development, national governance and E-infrastructure management capacities are combined into an overall performance index to rank each national polity in the research sample. 

In the fifth chapter, the result of the empirical exploration of sustainable development, national governance and E-infrastructure management capacities are compared with other independent studies. The test and implication of the hypothesis that high national governance capacity and high E-infrastructure management capacity are necessary but not sufficient conditions for sustainable development capacity is explored. The nine indicators (3 for each of the capacity factors) covered in chapters 2 to 4 are explored to observed performance patterns among the national polities. The overall performance index is then used for comparative analysis of the national polities and their groupings into eight geo-cultural political global regions. Based on the findings of these comparative analyses a new paradigm for understanding the global system progress from three normative constructs – philosophical, historical and organizational perspectives toward bridging the performance gaps among the national polities and thus equitable global sustainable development for overall human progress and well-being is suggested in chapter 6.  Chapter 6 also presents two normative and theoretical frameworks suggested as application of the research results for global public policy process/praxis. These normative proposals may be seen as idealistic considering the practicality of overcoming the hegemonic tendencies in the global structure that is best describe in the world-system theory (see Wallerstein, 1979) – however from critical theory perspective, they are suggested for emancipation purposes. The limitation of the dissertation and suggested recommendations for future work are also outlined in this last chapter.