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In search of sustainable values


  • Ernest Partridge


Fundamental to policies of sustainable development is the assumption that values will not depreciate through time. This assumption is inconsistent with the economic approach to policy-making. Economic analysis, by interpreting social values in terms of money, necessarily discounts values in the future. Accordingly, if the interests of future generations are to be served, moral and economic values must be shown to be essentially incommensurable, and moral values must predominate in policy analyses. The distinction between economic and moral values is enumerated with twelve contrasting characteristics, five of which are given careful elaboration: a) "economic man" (a utility maximiser) vs. the moral agent (rule-oriented evaluator); b) the marketplace vs. the community; c) ecocentric vs. "spectator" point of view; d) non-moral values vs. moral values; and e) time preference (discounting) vs. time neutrality.

Suggested Citation

  • Ernest Partridge, 2003. "In search of sustainable values," International Journal of Sustainable Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 6(1), pages 25-41.
  • Handle: RePEc:ids:ijsusd:v:6:y:2003:i:1:p:25-41

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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. LOS MUROS INFORMÁTICOS. LO NUEVO Y LO VIEJO DE LA RED EN LAS ORGANIZACIONES (golpe a golpe se busca debilitar su carácter libertario)
      by ccortesamador in hibridación on 2012-08-18 16:54:04
    2. LOS MUROS INFORMÁTICOS. LO NUEVO Y LO VIEJO DE LA RED EN LAS ORGANIZACIONES (golpe a golpe se busca debilitar su carácter libertario)
      by ccortesamador in hibridación on 2014-06-02 20:50:04


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    Cited by:

    1. Joachim Fuenfgelt & Stefan Baumgaertner, 2012. "A utilitarian notion of responsibility for sustainability," Working Paper Series in Economics 234, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.


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