Most discussion of sustainable development has paid more attention to the long-term needs of the environment than to the needs of the present. But, as this book argues, the needs of people who are alive today must not take second place. And although the policies that are put forward in the name of 'sustainable development' are intended to benefit everyone, especially the poor, in reality many of them would harm rich and poor alike.Seventeen expert contributors examine every aspect of sustainable development, including the changes in humanity's well-being over the last two centuries, the prospects for specific current global policies, the predicament of poorer regions that have failed to develop sustainably, and the problems of climate change, energy policy and management of natural resources. Their analysis shows that the key to more sustainable development is not to impose global environmental regulations, but to ensure that people have a real stake in the global economy. Formal ownership of property and removal of the red tape that holds back entrepreneurial activity: these steps will give people the incentives they need to protect, conserve and innovate, and in so doing to build sustainable societies. In this way sustainable development can truly promote progress - not perpetuate poverty.