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Sustainability under Uncertainty: A Deontological Approach
Richard B. Howarth
Vol. 71, No. 4 (Nov., 1995), pp. 417-427
Published by: University of Wisconsin Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3146707
Page Count: 11
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A deontological (or "Kantian") approach to intergenerational fairness suggests that sustainability criteria should be imposed as prior constraints on the maximization of social preferences concerning the distribution of welfare between present and future generations. In particular, it is plausible to assert that each successive generation holds a duty to ensure that the expected welfare of its offspring is no less than its own perceived well being. This moral rule implies a bias against actions that generate present benefits but impose the risk of irreversible future losses if the preservation of options would allow for improved decisions as new information became available.
Land Economics © 1995 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System