Sustainable Development and Our Obligations to Future Generations

Wilfred Beckerman

in Fairness and Futurity

Published in print April 1999 | ISBN: 9780198294894
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599064 | DOI:
 Sustainable Development and Our Obligations to Future Generations

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Wilfred Beckerman argues that the answer to the sustainability question, ‘what to sustain?’, should not be restricted to some category of the environment, but should refer to the political and social institutions and norms that will guarantee personal liberty and respect for human rights. He is sceptical of arguments in favour of inter‐generational egalitarianism, in part because he sees no reason to invest present levels of welfare with the normative significance that supporters of sustainable development claim for them. He argues, instead, for an ‘extended humanitarianism’ that would take the suffering of the present poor seriously and would entail concern for future generations and even for animals.

Keywords: animals; egalitarianism; environment; generations; human rights; humanitarianism; liberty; norms; sustainable development; welfare

Chapter.  7687 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environment

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