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Sustainability under Uncertainty: A Deontological Approach

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  • Richard B. Howarth

Abstract

A deontological (or "Kantian") approach to intergenerational fairness suggests that sustainability criteria should be imposed as prior constraints on the maximization of social preferences concerning the distribution of welfare between present and future generations. In particular, it is plausible to assert that each successive generation holds a duty to ensure that the expected welfare of its offspring is no less than its own perceived well being. This moral rule implies a bias against actions that generate present benefits but impose the risk of irreversible future losses if the preservation of options would allow for improved decisions as new information became available.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard B. Howarth, 1995. "Sustainability under Uncertainty: A Deontological Approach," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 71(4), pages 417-427.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:landec:v:71:y:1995:i:4:p:417-427
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    Cited by:

    1. Norton, Bryan, 1995. "Resilience and options," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 133-136, November.
    2. Ngo Long & Vincent Martinet, 2018. "Combining rights and welfarism: a new approach to intertemporal evaluation of social alternatives," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 50(1), pages 35-64, January.
    3. Bromley, Daniel W., 1998. "Searching for sustainability: The poverty of spontaneous order," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2-3), pages 231-240, February.
    4. Hoberg, Nikolai & Baumgärtner, Stefan, 2017. "Irreversibility and uncertainty cause an intergenerational equity-efficiency trade-off," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 75-86.
    5. Verchère, Alban, 2011. "Le développement durable en question : analyses économiques autour d’un improbable compromis entre acceptions optimiste et pessimiste du rapport de l’Homme à la Nature," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 87(3), pages 337-403, septembre.
    6. Toman, Michael & Pezzey, John C., 2002. "The Economics of Sustainability: A Review of Journal Articles," Discussion Papers dp-02-03, Resources For the Future.
    7. Davidson, Marc D., 2014. "Zero discounting can compensate future generations for climate damage," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 40-47.
    8. Christos Zografos & Richard B. Howarth, 2010. "Deliberative Ecological Economics for Sustainability Governance," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(11), pages 1-19, October.
    9. Michel De Lara & Vincent Martinet & Luc Doyen, 2010. "Risk and Sustainability : Is Viability that far from Optimality?," EconomiX Working Papers 2010-7, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    10. Frank Krysiak, 2009. "Sustainability and its relation to efficiency under uncertainty," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 41(2), pages 297-315, November.
    11. Scott, Antony, 1999. "Trust law, sustainability, and responsible action," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 139-154, October.
    12. Baumgärtner, Stefan & Quaas, Martin F., 2009. "Ecological-economic viability as a criterion of strong sustainability under uncertainty," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 2008-2020, May.
    13. Lo, Alex, 2014. "The Problem of Methodological Pluralism in Ecological Economics," MPRA Paper 49543, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Nikolai Hoberg & Stefan Baumgärtner, 2011. "Irreversibility, ignorance, and the intergenerational equity-efficiency trade-off," Working Paper Series in Economics 198, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
    15. Palmini, Dennis, 1999. "Uncertainty, risk aversion, and the game theoretic foundations of the safe minimum standard: a reassessment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 463-472, June.
    16. Mullen, John D., 2001. "An Economic Persective On Land Degradation Issues," Research Reports 27999, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries Research Economists.
    17. Kjell Arne Brekke & Richard B. Howarth, 1996. "Is welfarism compatible with sustainability?," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 23, pages 69-74.
    18. Richard T. Woodward & Richard C. Bishop, 2003. "Sector-Level Decisions in a Sustainability-Constrained Economy," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 79(1), pages 1-14.
    19. Hampicke, Ulrich, 2011. "Climate change economics and discounted utilitarianism," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 45-52.

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