Adapting to Scarcity and Change (II)
The question that must be addressed here, at the conclusion of the volume, is this: How can we use our better understanding of the development and functioning of justice concerns so as both to minimize their contribution to negative societal consequences and to foster their mobilization in the service of cooperative problem-solving? This is essentially the challenge we face in trying to deal with the tragedies of the commons. Such tragedies, we now realize, arise from the difficulties of maintaining the viability of any finite system to which there is unlimited access by those who believe that they stand to gain much and lose little by exercising that right of access. Historically, of course, societies have sometimes ignored or been unaware of such situations, with resulting serious degradation of resources and consequent episodes of human suffering, embitterment, warfare and societal upheaval. There are also the countless examples of ruling groups that have exercised rigid regulation of access based on criteria that reflect the variety of power relations, as well as caste and class structures, throughout human history. Indeed, much of what we know as human history consists of accounts of power struggles over access to scarce resources—and the resultant human suffering, embitterment, warfare, and societal upheaval.
KeywordsEnvironmental Impact Assessment Human Suffering Justice Concern Group Welfare Western Industrialize Nation
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