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Critical-Level Population Principles And The Repugnant Conclusion

Author

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  • Charles BLACKORBY
  • Walter BOSSERT
  • David DONALDSON

Abstract

Critical-level generalized-utilitarian population principles with positive critical levels provide an ethically attractive way of avoiding the repugnant conclusion. We discuss the axiomatic foundations of critical-level generalized utilitarianism and investigate its relationship to the sadistic and strong sadistic conclusions. A positive critical level avoids the repugnant conclusion. We demonstrate that, although no critical-level generalized-utilitarian principle can avoid both the repugnant and strong sadistic conclusions, principles that avoid both have significant defects.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles BLACKORBY & Walter BOSSERT & David DONALDSON, 2002. "Critical-Level Population Principles And The Repugnant Conclusion," Cahiers de recherche 15-2002, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  • Handle: RePEc:mtl:montec:15-2002
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Charles Blackorby & Walter Bossert & David Donaldson, 2003. "The Axiomatic Approach to Population Ethics," Politics, Philosophy & Economics, , vol. 2(3), pages 342-381, October.
    2. Carlson, Erik, 1998. "Mere Addition and Two Trilemmas of Population Ethics," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(02), pages 283-306, October.
    3. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 2002. " Population Principles with Number-Dependent Critical Levels," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 4(3), pages 347-368.
    4. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1997. "Critical-Level Utilitarianism and the Population-Ethics Dilemma," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(02), pages 197-230, October.
    5. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 1995. "Intertemporal Population Ethics: Critical-Level Utilitarian Principles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(6), pages 1303-1320, November.
    6. Charles Blackorby & Walter Bossert & David Donaldson & Marc Fleurbaey, 1998. "Critical levels and the (reverse) repugnant conclusion," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 67(1), pages 1-15, February.
    7. Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1989. "What Should We Do About Future Generations?," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(02), pages 235-253, October.
    8. Arrhenius, Gustaf, 2000. "An Impossibility Theorem for Welfarist Axiologies," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(02), pages 247-266, October.
    9. Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1986. "Social criteria for evaluating population change: An alternative to the Blackorby-Donaldson criterion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 375-381, April.
    10. Blackorby, Charles & Bossert, Walter & Donaldson, David, 2002. "Utilitarianism and the theory of justice," Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare,in: K. J. Arrow & A. K. Sen & K. Suzumura (ed.), Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 543-596 Elsevier.
    11. Walter Bossert & David Donaldson & Charles Blackorby, 1998. "Uncertainty and critical-level population principles," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 11(1), pages 1-20.
    12. Broome, John, 2015. "Equality Versus Priority: A Useful Distinction," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(02), pages 219-228, July.
    13. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1984. "Social criteria for evaluating population change," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 13-33, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Renström & Luca Spataro, 2011. "The optimum growth rate for population under critical-level utilitarianism," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(3), pages 1181-1201, July.
    2. Spataro, Luca & Renström, Thomas I., 2012. "Optimal taxation, critical-level utilitarianism and economic growth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 727-738.
    3. Thomas I. Renström & Luca Spataro, 2015. "Population Growth and Human Capital: A Welfarist Approach," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 83, pages 110-141, December.

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