Though sustainability is a key dimension of the wellbeing framework there are still confusions about the concept, its measurement and its applications. The main feature of the sustainability is the uncertainty about the future. Daly and Cobb, Capra, Berry, and others have addressed the limits of current economic theory on sustainability issues. Most of critics of economics suggest changes in public policy as a means of addressing the market failures. The scholar John E. Ikerd (1997) outlines a case for developing the theory of “economics of sustainability”. In recent years, efforts for inclusion of sustainability principles within policy-making and alternatives to GDP as a measure of social progress have been undertaken. There are many significant contributions from the fields of economics, philosophy and environmental science. In economics, the contributions start with the work of Frank Ramsey (Ramsey 1928) and the literature continues to influence the international and domestic policy dialogue including the G20 policy agenda, the work of OECD, World Bank and International Fund etc. The ongoing efforts try to improve measures of social progress. The techniques and policy prescriptions are based on particular theoretical models of economic development with assumptions that simplify reality. Applying them without appreciating the consequences of such assumptions can lead to false inferences related to the wellbeing of the future generations.
Since there are different economic theories regarding the sustainability and the conflicting beliefs are at the root of the sustainability issue, John Ikerd challenges for a new belief system that must build from the ground up and proposes four economic principles as essential for economic sustainability: individuality, scarcity, efficiency, and sovereignty. The theories, the techniques and the policies for sustainability measurement need to be continually explored.
The special issue of the journal is dedicated to unifying the economic theories regarding the sustainability, introducing alternative measures if a nation is making true progress in improving its wellbeing, and discover mathematical models related to sustainability-similar to the one related to biological systems. Authors are expected to provide their research results on panel data and suggest certain methods of analyzing the effects of panel data problems, cross-section dependence affecting the inference, panel unit root tests assuming cross-section independence; introduce new dynamic mathematical models related to sustainability.