Ecology and the Limits of Justice: Establishing Capability Ceilings in Nussbaum's Capabilities Approach
AbstractHuman impacts on large-scale ecological interactions effectively confer fundamental advantages of wealth and power to some members of society and not to others. As illustrated here by reference to a 1993 cholera outbreak resulting from degradation of aquatic ecosystems, these impacts can pose barriers to the normal channels through which one might pursue individual advantage, thereby raising tensions for liberal theories of justice that are committed both to basic liberties and to distributive fairness. I first illustrate these tensions by reference to John Rawls's theory. I then argue that although Nussbaum's theory, which emerged in dialogue with Rawls's, improves upon it in this regard, it remains subject to the same basic tensions. Instituting 'capability ceilings' that impose a limit on the set of basic opportunities available to people would help resolve this tension. Thus, in addition to Nussbaum's proposal for establishing capability thresholds, I defend capability ceilings as a friendly amendment to her theory.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Human Development and Capabilities.
Volume (Year): 9 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
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- Griewald, Yuliana & Rauschmayer, Felix, 2013. "Exploring a nature-related conflict from a capability perspective," UFZ Discussion Papers 7/2013, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
- Polishchuk, Yuliana & Rauschmayer, Felix, 2011. "Ecosystem effects on well-being: More than just "benefits"? Looking at ecosystem services through the capability approach," UFZ Discussion Papers 6/2011, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
- Griewald, Yuliana & Rauschmayer, Felix, 2014. "Exploring an environmental conflict from a capability perspective," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 30-39.
- Volkert, Jürgen & Strotmann, Harald & Moczadlo, Regina, 2014. "Sustainable Human Development: Corporate challenges and potentials. The case of Bayer CropScience's cotton seed production in rural Karnataka (India)," UFZ Discussion Papers 5/2014, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
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