Intergenerational justice and curtailments on the discretionary powers of governments

Environmental Ethics 26 (4):411-428 (2004)

Abstract
Governments of all nations presume they possess full discretionary policymaking powers over the lands and waters within their geopolitical boundaries. At least one global environmental issue—the rapid loss of the world’s biodiversity, the sixth major mass extinction event in geological time—challenges the legitimacy of this presumption. Increment by increment, the present generation is depleting the world’s biodiversity by way of altering species’ habitats for the sake of short term economic gain. When biodiversity is understood as an essential environmental condition—essential in the long term because it is the source of the biological resources upon which humans depend—then the strongly differential distribution of benefits and burdens between generations raises an issue of intergenerational justice. We receive the short-term benefits of economic development; future generations will receive the resulting burden of a biosphere in which one of the life-support systems necessary for humanity will have been compromised. Using Ronald Dworkin’s conceptions of distributive justice, it can be demonstrated that constitutional constraints on the discretionary powers of governments, for the sake of intergenerational justice, are entirely consistent with central tenets of liberal democracy. As a result, we should abandon to some extent the presumption that governments have full jurisdiction over the lands and waters within their boundaries
Keywords Applied Philosophy  General Interest
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0163-4275
DOI 10.5840/enviroethics20042646
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 46,425
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Neorepublicanism and the Domination of Posterity.Corey Katz - 2019 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 22 (2):151-171.
Neorepublicanism and the Domination of Posterity.Corey Katz - 2017 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 20 (3):294-313.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
30 ( #308,725 of 2,286,383 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #320,698 of 2,286,383 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature