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Avoiding Extinction: Equal Treatment of the Present and the Future

  • Chichilnisky, Graciela

Equal treatment for the present and the future was required in two axioms for sustainable development introduced by the author. This article shows that the two axioms are equivalent to awareness of physical limits in the long run future. We prove that two optimization problems are equivalent : maximizing discounted utility with a long run survival constraint, and maximizing utilites that treat 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 identified with the marginal utility of the nvironmental asset along a path that narrowly avoids extinction. An existence theorem is 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].

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Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Economics Discussion Papers with number 2009-8.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwedp:7487
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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. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 1977. "Development patterns and the international order," MPRA Paper 7991, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Chichilnisky, G. & Zhou, Y., 1996. "Smooth Infinite Economies," Discussion Papers 1996_14, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  4. Graciela Chichilnisky, 1997. "What Is Sustainable Development?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 73(4), pages 467-491.
  5. Asheim, G.B., 1989. "Unjust Intergenerational Allocations," Papers 09-89, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration-.
  6. Asheim, Geir B, 1988. "Rawlsian Intergenerational Justice as a Markov-Perfect Equilibrium in a Resource Technology," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(3), pages 469-83, July.
  7. 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.
  8. Chichilnisky, Graciela & Heal, Geoffrey & Beltratti, Andrea, 1995. "The Green Golden Rule," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 175-179, August.
  9. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 2009. "The topology of fear," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(12), pages 807-816, December.
  10. 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.
  11. Lauwers, Luc, 1993. "Infinite Chichilnisky rules," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 349-352.
  12. Graciela Chichilnisky, 2009. "Catastrophic risks," International Journal of Green Economics, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 3(2), pages 130-141.
  13. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 1998. "Sustainable development and North-South trade," MPRA Paper 8894, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 1982. "Social Aggregation Rules and Continuity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(2), pages 337-52, May.
  15. 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 243-65, May.
  16. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521335614 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 1986. "Topological complexity of manifolds of preferences," MPRA Paper 8119, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  18. Krautkraemer, Jeffrey A, 1985. "Optimal Growth, Resource Amenities, and the Preservation of Natural Environments," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 153-70, January.
  19. Chichilnisky, Graciela & Beltratti, Andrea & Heal, Geoffrey, 1998. "Sustainable use of renewable resources, Chapter 2.1," MPRA Paper 8815, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  20. Chichilnisky, Graciela & Beltratti, Andrea & Heal, Geoffrey, 1998. "Uncertain future preferences and conservation," MPRA Paper 7912, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  21. 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 427-34, May.
  22. Loewenstein, George & Thaler, Richard H, 1989. "Intertemporal Choice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 181-93, Fall.
  23. Graciela Chichilnisky, 1996. "An axiomatic approach to sustainable development," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 231-257, April.
  24. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 2009. "The Limits Of Econometrics: Nonparametric Estimation In Hilbert Spaces," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(04), pages 1070-1086, August.
  25. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 1977. "Nonlinear functional analysis and optimal economic growth," MPRA Paper 7990, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  26. Andrea Beltratti & Graciela Chichilnisky & Geoffrey Heal, 1993. "Sustainable Growth and the Green Golden Rule," NBER Working Papers 4430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. 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.
  28. Luc Lauwers, 1997. "A note on weak \infty-Chichilnisky rules," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 357-358.
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