Classical Utilitarianism in a Limited World

Partha Dasgupta

in An Inquiry into Well-Being and Destitution

Published in print June 1995 | ISBN: 9780198288350
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596094 | DOI:
 Classical Utilitarianism in a Limited World

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The main part of this chapter discusses normative considerations on population and savings. It has five sections. The first discusses parental concerns on the well‐being of their children in relation to savings. The second discusses the Genesis Problem (which in its purest form asks how many lives there should be, enjoying what standards), and the Repugnant Conclusion (which, in Parfit's formulation states that ‘For any population of at least ten billion people, all with a very high quality of life, there must be some larger imaginable population whose existence,if other things are equal, would be better, even though its members have lives that are barely worth living). Section (3) questions whether the Repugnant Conclusion is repugnant when applied to comparisons of well‐being in the Genesis Problem, and section 4 argues that the Genesis Problem is irrelevant in real life, which addresses actual problems. Section (5) looks at population ethics. An extra and separate section (designated Chapter *13) gives theoretical presentations on classical utilitarianism in a limited world.

Keywords: Genesis Problem; normative theory; population; population ethics; quality of life; Repugnant Conclusion; savings; utilitarianism; well‐being

Chapter.  1267 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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