A utilitarian notion of responsibility for sustainability
AbstractWe develop and formalize a utilitarian notion of responsibility for sustainability which is inspired by Singer's (1972) principle and the Brundtland Commission?s notion of sustainability (WCED 1987). We relate this notion of responsibility to established criteria for the assessment of intertemporal societal choice, namely Pareto-efficiency, (discounted) utilitarian welfare maximization, and Brundtland-sustainability. Using a two-generationsresource- model, we find the following. Sustainability and responsibility for sustainability are equivalent if and only if sustainability is feasible. If it is not, there still exists a responsible allocation which is also Pareto-efficient. Further, the utilitarian welfare maximum without discounting always fulfills the criterion of responsibility. Discounting may be responsible to a certain extent if sustainability is feasible. If sustainability is not feasible, discounting is not responsible.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics in its series Working Paper Series in Economics with number 234.
Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2012
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basic needs; Brundtland; discounting; ethics; natural resources; Pareto efficiency; responsibility; Singer; sustainability; utilitarianism;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
- D90 - Microeconomics - - Intertemporal Choice and Growth - - - General
- Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-03-28 (All new papers)
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