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Sustainable Development: Between Moral Injunctions and Natural Constraints

  • Charles Figuières

    ()

    (INRA—LAMETA, 2 place Viala, 34060 Montpellier, France)

  • Hervé Guyomard

    ()

    (INRA—Scientific Directorate for Agriculture, 147 rue de l'Université, 75338 Paris Cedex 07, France)

  • Gilles Rotillon

    ()

    (EconomiX, Université Paris Ouest, Nanterre—La Défense, Bâtiments K et G, 200, Avenue de la République, 92001 Nanterre Cedex, France)

Sustainable development must satisfy the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. Although it looks at the economic, environmental and social aspects of sustainability, this article focuses specifically on an analysis of the concept in conjunction with the use and protection of natural resources. It shows how taking account of environmental goods, including the finite nature of certain natural resources, can change the way economists deal with the issues of growth, development and equity between generations. In this context, after a brief historical perspective on the concept of development, the paper shows how the potential for substitutability between natural and manufactured capital, for example in production technologies, lead to two paradigms, that of weak sustainability and that of strong sustainability. These two approaches are presented in an effort to explain how their merits can be mutually reinforcing.

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Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

Volume (Year): 2 (2010)
Issue (Month): 11 (November)
Pages: 3608-3622

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Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:2:y:2010:i:11:p:3608-3622:d:10304
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  1. Krautkraemer, Jeffrey A, 1985. "Optimal Growth, Resource Amenities, and the Preservation of Natural Environments," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 153-70, January.
  2. Chichilnisky, Graciela & Heal, Geoffrey & Beltratti, Andrea, 1995. "The Green Golden Rule," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 175-179, August.
  3. Roger Guesnerie, 2004. "Calcul économique et développement durable," DELTA Working Papers 2004-02, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  4. Hartwick, John M, 1977. "Intergenerational Equity and the Investing of Rents from Exhaustible Resources," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 972-74, December.
  5. Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado & Ngo Van Long, 2007. "A Mixed Bentham-Rawls Criterion For Intergenerational Equity: Theory And Implications," Departmental Working Papers 2007-03, McGill University, Department of Economics.
  6. Lauwers, Luc, 2010. "Ordering infinite utility streams comes at the cost of a non-Ramsey set," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 32-37, January.
  7. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 1995. "An axiomatic approach to sustainable development," MPRA Paper 8609, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 1977. "Development patterns and the international order," MPRA Paper 7991, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Richard Howarth & Richard Norgaard, 1993. "Intergenerational transfers and the social discount rate," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 3(4), pages 337-358, August.
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