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Green Politics and Intergenerational Justice: Posterity, Progress and the Environment

  • John Barry

Abstract

The significance of an account of justice for green politics lies in the fact that debates about environmental protection nearly always take place against a background of conflicting interests. One of the aims of a theory of justice is to adjudicate competing claims. Typically, this background is made up of those who wish to develop the environment and those who wish to preserve it from development. From the ecological point of view we live in a closed and limited environment upon which we are completely dependent, not just for resources needed to live, but also for the ‘good life’. Given this existential fact of the human condition, that we will never be in a position that all our possible wants and needs can be fulfilled, we may expect that concerns of distributive justice will be part of any post-capitalist social order, including a green or ecological one. It is clear that the realization of key green policy goals, particularly those which call for substantial institutional changes, are underpinned by considerations of justice which have international, domestic as well as intergenerational dimensions.1 In this sense any putative ‘green theory of distributive justice’ can be regarded as the most ambitious conception of justice to date.

Keywords

Future Generation Distributive Justice Strong Sustainability Environmental Future Weak Sustainability 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Macmillan Press Ltd 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Barry

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