Beyond an ungreen-economics-based political philosophy::Three strikes against 'the difference principle'

Read, Rupert (2011) Beyond an ungreen-economics-based political philosophy::Three strikes against 'the difference principle'. International Journal of Green Economics, 5 (2). pp. 167-183. ISSN 1744-9928

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Abstract

"Beyond an ungreen-economics-based political philosophy" John Rawls's liberalism is the dominant political philosophy of our time. But is it compatible with the values of green economics? I argue in this paper that it is founded on ungreen economics. In particular, Rawls's 'difference principle', which takes inequalities to be just if they benefit the worst off, is subjected here to three counter-arguments. Firstly, an argument based on one from Norman Daniels. Secondly, an argument based on one from Jerry Cohen. Thirdly, and most originally: inegalitarian modes of 'societal' organisation are ecologically unsustainable. The difference principle unconsciously assumes that the Earth is infinite, that the more we raise the lowest boats the better; disregarding that we may already have raised the lowest boats - in Western societies at least - let alone, obviously, the higher boats, more than the ecosphere can tolerate. (And: in a steady-state, inequalities would be more socially unsustainable than ever.) Three strikes: the difference principle is out...

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: difference principle,ecological,jerry cohen,liberalism,norman daniels,rawls
Faculty \ School: University of East Anglia > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Philosophy
Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
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Depositing User: Davide Rizza
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 08:42
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2019 13:45
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/35380
DOI: 10.1504/IJGE.2011.042556

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