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Sustainability as Opportunity

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  • Richard B. Howarth

Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between sustainability concepts and contractarian principles of distributional fairness. A commitment to equality of opportunity between contemporaries entails that life opportunities should be nondiminishing from generation to generation. Defining sustainability as nondeclining utility is analytically suggestive but practically problematic given the uncertainties that surround future preferences and technologies. Life opportunities may be sustained, however, by providing future generations with specific endowments of reproduced capital, technological capacity, natural resources, and environmental quality. In this setting, capital-resource substitutions are defensible only if there is compelling evidence that they would benefit both present and future generations.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard B. Howarth, 1997. "Sustainability as Opportunity," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 73(4), pages 569-579.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:landec:v:73:y:1997:i:4:p:569-579
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    Cited by:

    1. Toman Michael, 2014. "The need for multiple types of information to inform climate change assessment," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 5(3), pages 469-485, December.
    2. SCHUMACHER, Ingmar & ZOU, Benteng, 2006. "Habit in pollution. A challenge for intergenerational equity," CORE Discussion Papers 2006006, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    3. Joan Pasqual & Emilio Padilla, 2006. "Environmental Management Problems, Future Generations And Social Decisions," The IUP Journal of Public Finance, IUP Publications, vol. 0(3), pages 15-59, August.
    4. Christopher Jeffords, 2011. "Constitutional Environmental Human Rights: A Descriptive Analysis of 142 National Constitutions," Economic Rights Working Papers 16, University of Connecticut, Human Rights Institute.
    5. Toman, Michael & Pezzey, John C., 2002. "The Economics of Sustainability: A Review of Journal Articles," Discussion Papers dp-02-03, Resources For the Future.
    6. Sneddon, Chris & Howarth, Richard B. & Norgaard, Richard B., 2006. "Sustainable development in a post-Brundtland world," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 253-268, May.
    7. 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.
    8. BRECHET, Thierry & LAMBRECHT, Stéphane, 2005. "Puzzling over sustainability: an equilibrium analysis," CORE Discussion Papers 2005001, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    9. Schumacher, Ingmar & Zou, Benteng, 2008. "Pollution perception: A challenge for intergenerational equity," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 296-309, May.
    10. Padilla, Emilio, 2002. "Intergenerational equity and sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 69-83, April.
    11. McCann, Laura M.J. & Hafdahl, Adam, 2003. "Agency Perceptions Of Alternative Salinity Policies: The Role Of Fairness," 2003 Annual meeting, July 27-30, Montreal, Canada 22097, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    12. Pasqual, Joan & Souto, Guadalupe, 2003. "Sustainability in natural resource management," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 47-59, August.
    13. Scott, Antony, 1999. "Trust law, sustainability, and responsible action," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 139-154, October.
    14. Omri, Emna & Chtourou, Nouri & Bazin, Damien, 2015. "Solar thermal energy for sustainable development in Tunisia: The case of the PROSOL project," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 1312-1323.
    15. Howarth, Richard B. & Farber, Stephen, 2002. "Accounting for the value of ecosystem services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 421-429, June.
    16. Paul Baer & Clive L Spash, 2008. "Cost-Benefit Analysis of Climate Change: Stern Revisited," Socio-Economics and the Environment in Discussion (SEED) Working Paper Series 2008-07, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems.
    17. Bromley, Daniel W., 2007. "Environmental regulations and the problem of sustainability: Moving beyond "market failure"," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 676-683, September.
    18. Richard B. Howarth, 2004. "Against High Interest Rates," Rensselaer Working Papers in Economics 0404, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Economics.
    19. Howarth, Richard B., 2007. "Towards an operational sustainability criterion," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 656-663, September.
    20. repec:eee:ecolec:v:143:y:2018:i:c:p:286-293 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Hampicke, Ulrich, 2011. "Climate change economics and discounted utilitarianism," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 45-52.
    22. Wilson, Matthew A. & Howarth, Richard B., 2002. "Discourse-based valuation of ecosystem services: establishing fair outcomes through group deliberation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 431-443, June.
    23. Hellwig, Klaus, 2005. "Sustainability revisited," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 193-197, May.
    24. Shaw, W. Douglass & Woodward, Richard T., 2008. "Why environmental and resource economists should care about non-expected utility models," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 66-89, January.

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