Has Industrialization Benefited No One? Climate Change and the Non-Identity Problem

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (4):747-759 (2014)

Authors
Ramon Das
Victoria University of Wellington
Abstract
Within the climate justice debate, the ‘beneficiary pays’ principle holds that those who benefit from greenhouse emissions associated with industrialization ought to pay for the costs of mitigating and adapting to their adverse effects. This principle constitutes a claim of inter-generational justice, and it is widely believed that the non-identity problem raises serious difficulties for any such claim. After briefly sketching the rationale behind ‘beneficiary pays,’ this paper offers a new way of understanding the claim that persons in developed societies have benefited from industrialization. It argues that when we think of the claim in this new way, it evades the non-identity problem entirely. Some objections to this approach are then considered and rebutted. The paper concludes by comparing the present, relatively modest solution to the nonidentity problem with a much more ambitious attempt from the recent literature
Keywords Beneficiary pays  Climate change  Non-identity problem  Intergenerational justice
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-013-9479-3
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1984 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
Climate Change and the Duties of the Advantaged.Simon Caney - 2010 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 13 (1):203-228.
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Historical Emissions and Free-Riding.Axel Gosseries - 2004 - Ethical Perspectives 11 (1):36-60.

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