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A Perfect Moral StormThe Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change$
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Stephen M. Gardiner

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195379440

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195379440.001.0001

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The Consumption Tragedy

The Consumption Tragedy

(p.49) Chapter 2 The Consumption Tragedy
A Perfect Moral Storm

Stephen M. Gardiner

Oxford University Press

This chapter confronts two serious objections. According to the first, the perfect storm metaphor relies too heavily on game theoretic analysis, and so is committed to flawed, egoistic assumptions which make it both unrealistic and unsuitable as a basis for talking about the ethics of climate change. According to the second, the metaphor fails to appreciate the extent to which considerations of self‐interest can drive a solution by prompting both a green energy revolution and a drive towards less consumption‐oriented lifestyles that (it is claimed) will actually make people happier. The chapter argues that the perfect storm analysis can (and in the case of climate change largely does) rely on weaker assumptions than the objections suggest, and so is able to accommodate many of the criticisms. However, it also claims that taking such criticisms seriously reveals ways in which the perfect storm may be morally worse than initially apparent.

Keywords:   game theory, happiness, green energy revolution, self‐interest, prisoner's dilemma, consumption

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