On the Continuity of Ethical Social Welfare Orders
In this paper we study the extent to which ethical social welfare orders on infinite utility streams can be continuous. For a class of metrics, we show that ethical preferences can be continuous if and only if the continuity requirement is in terms of a metric which satisfies a simplex condition. This condition requires that the distance from the origin to the unit simplex in the space of utility streams be positive. We use this characterization result to establish that the metric used by Svensson (1980) induces the weakest topology for which there exist continuous ethical preferences.
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