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Avoiding Extinction: Equal Treatment of the Present and the Future

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  • Graciela Chichilnisky

Abstract

Equal treatment for the present and the future was required in two axioms introduced in Chichilnisky [12] [15]. We provide a characterization of the decision criterion that satisfy the axioms and show that the two axioms are equivalent to physical limits in the long run future. We prove that maximizing discounted utility with a long run survival constraint is equivalent to maximizing a criterion that treats equally the present and the future. The equal treatment axioms are therefore the essence of sustainable development. The "weight" Lambda given to the long run future is here identi.ed with the marginal utility of the environmental asset along a path that narrowly misses extinction. An existence theorem is also provided for optimizing according to the welfare criterion that treats equally the present and the future. We show that no prior welfare criteria satisfy the axioms for sustainable development introduced in [12].

Suggested Citation

  • Graciela Chichilnisky, 2009. "Avoiding Extinction: Equal Treatment of the Present and the Future," Working Papers 09-07, LAMETA, Universitiy of Montpellier, revised Aug 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:lam:wpaper:09-07
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chichilnisky, Graciela & Kalman, P. J., 1979. "Application of functional analysis to models of efficient allocation of economic resources," MPRA Paper 8004, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Graciela Chichilnisky, 1982. "Social Aggregation Rules and Continuity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(2), pages 337-352.
    3. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 1986. "Topological complexity of manifolds of preferences," MPRA Paper 8119, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 2000. "An axiomatic approach to choice under uncertainty with catastrophic risks," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 221-231, July.
    5. Graciela Chichilnisky, 1997. "What Is Sustainable Development?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 73(4), pages 467-491.
    6. Chichilnisky, Graciela & Kalman, P.J., 1979. "Comparative statics and dynamics of optimal choice models in Hilbert spaces," MPRA Paper 8001, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Jeffrey A. Krautkraemer, 1985. "Optimal Growth, Resource Amenities and the Preservation of Natural Environments," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(1), pages 153-169.
    8. Asheim, Geir B., 1991. "Unjust intergenerational allocations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 350-371, August.
    9. Lauwers, Luc, 1993. "Infinite Chichilnisky rules," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 349-352.
    10. Chichilnisky, Graciela & Beltratti, Andrea & Heal, Geoffrey, 1998. "Uncertain future preferences and conservation," MPRA Paper 7912, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Loewenstein, George & Thaler, Richard H, 1989. "Intertemporal Choice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 181-193, Fall.
    12. Graciela Chichilnisky, 1996. "An axiomatic approach to sustainable development," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 13(2), pages 231-257, April.
    13. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 1977. "Development patterns and the international order," MPRA Paper 7991, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 1998. "Sustainable development and North-South trade," MPRA Paper 8894, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Andrea Beltratti & Graciela Chichilnisky & Geoffrey Heal, 1993. "Sustainable Growth and the Green Golden Rule," NBER Working Papers 4430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. C. C. von Weizs├Ącker, 1967. "Lemmas for a Theory of Approximate Optimal Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(1), pages 143-151.
    17. Chichilnisky, Graciela & Beltratti, Andrea & Heal, Geoffrey, 1998. "Sustainable use of renewable resources, Chapter 2.1," MPRA Paper 8815, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Cropper, Maureen L & Aydede, Sema K & Portney, Paul R, 1994. "Preferences for Life Saving Programs: How the Public Discounts Time and Age," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 243-265, May.
    19. Geir B. Asheim, 1988. "Rawlsian Intergenerational Justice as a Markov-Perfect Equilibrium in a Resource Technology," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(3), pages 469-483.
    20. Chichilnisky, Graciela & Zhou, Yuqing, 1998. "Smooth infinite economies," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 27-42, January.
    21. Chichilnisky, Graciela & Heal, Geoffrey & Beltratti, Andrea, 1995. "The Green Golden Rule," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 175-179, August.
    22. Graciela Chichilnisky, 2009. "Catastrophic risks," International Journal of Green Economics, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 3(2), pages 130-141.
    23. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 1977. "Nonlinear functional analysis and optimal economic growth," MPRA Paper 7990, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    24. Luc Lauwers, 1997. "A note on weak \infty-Chichilnisky rules," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 14(2), pages 357-358.
    25. Chichilnisky, Graciela & Beltratti, Andrea & Heal, Geoffrey, 1994. "The environment and the long run: A comparison of different criteria," MPRA Paper 7907, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    26. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 1994. "Social Diversity, Arbitrage, and Gains from Trade: A Unified Perspective on Resource Allocation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 427-434, May.
    27. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 2009. "The Limits Of Econometrics: Nonparametric Estimation In Hilbert Spaces," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(04), pages 1070-1086, August.
    28. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 2009. "The topology of fear," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(12), pages 807-816, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Graciela Chichilnisky & Peter Eisenberger, 2009. "Asteroids: Assessing Catastrophic Risks," Working Papers 09-13, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Nov 2009.
    2. Norman Schofield, 2015. "Climate Change, Collapse and Social Choice Theory," Czech Economic Review, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, vol. 9(1), pages 007-035, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations

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