Chapter

An Extension of the Rawlsian Savings Principle to Liberal Theories of Justice in General

M. L. J. Wissenburg

in Fairness and Futurity

Published in print April 1999 | ISBN: 9780198294894
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599064 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198294891.003.0008
 An Extension of the Rawlsian Savings Principle to Liberal Theories of Justice in General

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Marcel Wissenburg makes a close analysis of John Rawls's ‘savings principle’ as articulated in Political Liberalism, and argues that, properly understood, it is a necessary condition for the survival of liberal democracy. If so, then liberalism and sustainability are more compatible than is often claimed. Much depends on what savings the present generation is obliged to make, and Wissenburg generates a ‘restraint principle’ that enjoins any given generation not to destroy goods unless unavoidable, to replace with identical ones if not, to replace with equivalent ones if identical ones are not available, and to offer compensation as a last resort. Much depends on what ‘unless unavoidable’ means, and this will be a normative as well as a technical issue.

Keywords: compensation; generations; goods; liberalism; norms; John Rawls; restraint; savings principle; sustainability

Chapter.  9644 words. 

Subjects: Environment

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