Are Generational Savings Unjust?

Politics, Philosophy and Economics 6 (2):193-217 (2007)
Abstract
In this article, we explore the implications of a Rawlsian theory for intergenerational issues. First, we confront Rawls's way of locating his `just savings' principle in his Theory of Justice with an alternative way of doing so. We argue that both sides of his intergenerational principle, as they apply to the accumulation phase and the steady-state stage, can be dealt with on the bases, respectively, of the principle of equal liberty (and its priority) and of the difference principle. We then proceed by focusing on the implications of applying maximin to his steady-state stage. One central claim is that, in principle, Rawlsians should consider not only generational dissavings, but also generational savings, as unfair. This principle suffers a series of exceptions on which we focus in the fourth section of the article. In some cases, growth can be maximin compatible. Key Words: generations • egalitarianism • maximin • sustainability • growth • difference principle • John Rawls.
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