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Fairness and FuturityEssays on Environmental Sustainability and Social Justice$
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Andrew Dobson

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198294894

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198294891.001.0001

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Sustainable Development and Our Obligations to Future Generations

Sustainable Development and Our Obligations to Future Generations

(p.71) 3 Sustainable Development and Our Obligations to Future Generations
Fairness and Futurity

Wilfred Beckerman

Oxford University Press

Wilfred Beckerman argues that the answer to the sustainability question, ‘what to sustain?’, should not be restricted to some category of the environment, but should refer to the political and social institutions and norms that will guarantee personal liberty and respect for human rights. He is sceptical of arguments in favour of inter‐generational egalitarianism, in part because he sees no reason to invest present levels of welfare with the normative significance that supporters of sustainable development claim for them. He argues, instead, for an ‘extended humanitarianism’ that would take the suffering of the present poor seriously and would entail concern for future generations and even for animals.

Keywords:   animals, egalitarianism, environment, generations, human rights, humanitarianism, liberty, norms, sustainable development, welfare

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