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Endangering the natural basis of life is unjust. On the status and future of the sustainability discourse

Author

Listed:
  • Becker, Christian
  • Ewringmann, Dieter
  • Faber, Malte
  • Petersen, Thomas
  • Zahrnt, Angelika

Abstract

The paper critically examines the status of the sustainability discourse and sustainability politics against the backdrop of considerations about the meaning of justice in the context of sustainability. We argue that the preservation of the natural basis of life is by itself a requirement of justice. However, the crucial role of the ecological dimension of sustainability has been neglected due to a problematic interpretation of the economic dimension, a limited understanding of justice, and an overemphasis of economic growth and growth politics. We propose to reposition the sustainability discourse and sustainability politics by prioritizing the long-term protection of the natural basis of life as the essential foundation of future development, welfare, and justice.

Suggested Citation

  • Becker, Christian & Ewringmann, Dieter & Faber, Malte & Petersen, Thomas & Zahrnt, Angelika, 2012. "Endangering the natural basis of life is unjust. On the status and future of the sustainability discourse," Working Papers 0527, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:awi:wpaper:0527
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Faber, Malte, 2008. "How to be an ecological economist," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 1-7, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Manstetten, Reiner & Klauer, Bernd, 2014. ""Die Sache ist im guten Zustand zurückzugeben": Annäherungen an das Konzept der fairen Hinterlassenschaft," UFZ Discussion Papers 8/2014, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sustainability; justice; ethics; growth; welfare; ecological economy;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General
    • Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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