Moral Philosophy and Politics 2 (1):107-139 (2015)

Dan Dennis
Oxford University
The paper argues that members of future generations have an entitlement to natural resources equal to ours. Therefore, if a currently living individual destroys or degrades natural resources then he must pay compensation to members of future generations. This compensation takes the form of “primary goods” which will be valued by members of future generations as equally useful for promoting the good life as the natural resources they have been deprived of. As a result of this policy, each generation inherits a “Commonwealth” of natural resources plus compensation. It is this inherited “Commonwealth” which members of that generation must then pass on to members of the next generation. Once this picture is accepted, the standard bundle of property rights is problematic, for it takes the owner of a constituent of the Commonwealth to have the right to “waste, destroy or modify” that item at will. This paper therefore presents a revised set of property rights which takes seriously the idea that each generation has an equal claim on the resources that nature has bequeathed us, whilst allowing certain effects on those natural resources by each generation, and a degree of exclusive use of those natural resources owned by an individual.
Keywords natural resources  future generations  inheritance  climate change  libertarianism  primary goods  rights  property  dworkins  rawls
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DOI 10.1515/mopp-2013-0007
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References found in this work BETA

Voluntary Euthanasia and the Inalienable Right to Life.Joel Feinberg - 1978 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 7 (2):93-123.
Taking Up the Slack? Responsibility and Justice in Situations of Partial Compliance.David Miller - 2011 - In Carl Knight & Zofia Stemplowska (eds.), Responsibility and Distributive Justice. Oxford University Press. pp. 230--45.
Left-Libertarianism: A Review Essay.Barbara H. Fried - 2004 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 32 (1):66-92.

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