- Slides: 22
John Rawls & The future Generation Rights • John Rawls, on the other hand, argues that though it is unjust to impose heavy burdens on present generations for the sake of the future, it is also unjust for present generations to leave nothing for the future.
John Rawls & The future Generation Rights • We should ask ourselves what we can reasonably expect they might want and, putting ourselves in their place, leave what we would like them to have left for us. • Justice, in short, requires that we hand over to our children a world in no worse condition than the one we received ourselves.
Ethics of Care-Utility and Conservation • The ethics of care support conservation policies similar to the ones Rawls advocates. • Utilitarian reasoning, too, supports Rawls' conclusions. Some utilitarian posit that the ethical thing to do is to discount future consequences based on their uncertainty and distance from the future.
Future Generations & Conservation • We are, therefore, clearly obligated not to take actions that will almost certainly harm tomorrow's generations. • However, since we can be less certain what the effects of our actions will be on far distant generations, our responsibility towards them is somewhat diminished.
Discounting Future Needs • We cannot rely on market mechanisms to ensure adequate conservation for future generations, however. • The needs of future generations are so heavily discounted by markets that they hardly affect prices at all. • Six reasons conspire to bring this about:
1 - Multiple Access • • Multiple access - If several separate extractors can use a resource, then the shared access will invariably lead the resource to be depleted too fast. As with several people with straws in one milkshake, each owner's private interest is in taking it out as fast as possible.
2 - Time Preferences and Myopia • • Time preferences and myopia - Firms often have short time horizons under the stress of commercial competition. This may under-represent the legitimate interests of future generations.
3 - Inadequate Forecasting • Inadequate forecasting - Present users may simply fail to foresee future developments. This may reflect a lack of sufficient research interest and ability to discern future changes.
4 - Special Influences • Special influences - Specific taxes and other incentive devices may encourage overly rapid use of resources.
5 - External Effects • External effects - There are important externalities in the uses of many resources, so that private users ignore major degrees of pollution and other external costs.
6 -Distribution • • Distribution - Finally, private market decisions are based on the existing pattern of distribution of wealth and income. As resource users vote with their dollars, market demand will more strongly reflect the interests and preferences of the wealthy.
Conservation & Future Generations • Many observers believe that conservation measures are falling short of what is needed. • Some even maintain that future generations will have a quality of life much lower than our own. • Industrialized nations will need to convert from growth-oriented technologies to more labor-intensive ones.
Conservation & Future Generations • In fact, our entire economic system may have to abandon the goal of steadily increasing production: – continual economic growth promises to degrade the quality of life for future generations. – This is because demand for depletable resources will continue to rise until the resources simply run out. Then, living standards will decline sharply.
Club of Rome • The Club of Rome was founded in April 1968 by Aurelio Peccei, an Italian industrialist, and Alexander King, a Scottish scientist. • One group, the Club of Rome, predicted that a catastrophic collapse of goods and services will result at some point in the middle of this century; by 2100 the world's population may even drop below 1900 levels.
The Report • ‘Pro-green’ a politically correct view under the influence of ‘green lobby’. • Publication of the report ‘The Limits of Growth’ in 1970 by “The Club of Rome”, discussed economic, political, natural and social future of humankind.
• 30 million copies in more than 30 translations making it the best selling environmental book in world history. • Published in 1972 and presented for the first time at the ISC's annual Management Symposium in St. Gallen, Switzerland, it predicted that economic growth could not continue indefinitely because of the limited availability of natural resources, particularly oil. • The 1973 oil crisis increased public concern about this problem.
The Report • • Examination of the Five basic factors which imposed limits to economic growth on the planet: Population, Agriculture production, Natural resources, Industrial production and Pollution. Conclusion: 1. Present trend of growth in all these five areas cannot continue indefinitely.
2. Future trends were not inevitable if something were done soon to prevent this imminent catastrophe. 3. Individuals / Governments are obliged to decide which of these two options they wish to pursue ‘the imminent Doomsday’ or ‘no growth’.
Suggestions • The thought in B. World previous to ‘The Limits of Growth’: – Increased population ensured continued demand for goods & services and the assurance of future and indeed expanded markets.
Suggestions • Controls on all the factors must be carried out simultaneously; paying regard to one or two would be insufficient and must be implemented by 1975 otherwise the ‘doomsday’ could not be avoided under any possible scenario.
World. Watch Institute • More recently, the Worldwatch Institute has concluded that even if the Club of Rome's timetables were off, their conclusions were substantially correct.
High Consumption By USA • As our supplies of energy diminish, other moral concerns are raised. • Though the U. S. has only 6% of the world's population, we consume 25% of its energy; 50% of the people of the world get along with only 8%.