Sustainability : ethical foundations and economic properties
AbstractThe author interprets development to be sustainable if it involves a nondecreasing quality of life. He introduces a concept of justice, and shows that a development path must be sustainable to prevent injustice. He argues, and illustrates through growth models, that altruism alone does not - even in the context of an economically efficient market economy - ensure sustainability. In particular, technologies with complementarity between manmade and natural capital represent cases where sustainability need not result. Thus, policies aimed at economic efficiency, such as internalizing external effects, need not generate sustainable development. The author argues that a positive interest rate is not inconsistent with sustainable development. He also maintains that, even in a perfect market economy, prices may not convey whether investments in manmade capital are sufficient to compensate for the depletion of natural capital. In particular, a non-negative market value of net investment is not sufficient for the present quality of life to be sustainable. Finally, he emphasizes that public policy aimed at sustainable development should strengthen the mechanisms for redistribution from the present to the future.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1302.
Date of creation: 31 May 1994
Date of revision:
Economic Theory&Research; Environmental Economics&Policies; Banks&Banking Reform; International Terrorism&Counterterrorism; Development Economics&Aid Effectiveness;
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Withagen, C. A. A. M., 1996. "Sustainability and investment rules," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 1-6, October.
- Anand, Sudhir & Sen, Amartya, 2000. "Human Development and Economic Sustainability," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(12), pages 2029-2049, December.
- Barrett, Christopher B., 1996. "Fairness, stewardship and sustainable development," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 11-17, October.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.