Philosophy and Social Criticism 23 (2):97-114 (1997)

Jon Elster's notion of 'local justice systems' helps recon ceive sustainable development in several fresh ways. Keeping options open for the future use of resources turns out to be a justice/injustice cycle: the more sustainable development becomes a global phenom enon, the more locally unjust its uniform application would necess arily be. The more uniform the application, the greater the local pressure for suitably varied alternatives. But the more varied the applications, the greater the chance of global injustice arising from the decentralization and lack of coordination on the ground. In this way, sustainable development must be seen as not ending when unjust global systems become more just, but rather as continuing through a set of iterations whose moments include a rejection of an overly globalized sustainable development. Key Words: Jon Elster • local justice systems • sustainable development.
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DOI 10.1177/019145379702300205
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