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Our Duties to the Environment What Has Posterity Ever done for Me? — Robert Heilbroner To the question of why we should care about future generations,

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Presentation on theme: "Our Duties to the Environment What Has Posterity Ever done for Me? — Robert Heilbroner To the question of why we should care about future generations,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Our Duties to the Environment What Has Posterity Ever done for Me? — Robert Heilbroner To the question of why we should care about future generations, there is no rational answer. We must appeal to inner conscience to show that we should care about future people.

2 Our Duties to the Environment The Tragedy of the Commons—Garrett Hardin  The tragedy of the commons is mutual ruin from a well-meaning system of sharing.  The problems of poverty and starvation are due to uncontrolled population growth.  In a world where all resources are shared and reproduction in the impoverished countries is uncontrolled, the tragedy of the commons is inevitable.

3 Our Duties to the Environment The Tragedy of the Commons—Garrett Hardin Some social problems have no technical solution. In the field of practical demography, we cannot rely on what Adam Smith called the power of the “invisible hand.”

4 Our Duties to the Environment The Tragedy of the Commons—Garrett Hardin  We cannot control the long-term breeding of mankind by an appeal to conscience.  The long-term disadvantage of an appeal to conscience should be enough to condemn it.  Conscience is self-eliminating.

5 Our Duties to the Environment The Tragedy of the Commons—Garrett Hardin To deal with human population growth, we must above all rely on mutual coercion. The only way we can preserve and nurture other freedoms is by relinquishing the freedom to breed.

6 Our Duties to the Environment People or Penguins: The Case for Optimal Pollution — William F. Baxter  To ensure benefits to humans, we should be willing to allow pollution where it harms animals and trees.  Every human being should be regarded as an end.  We need not respect the balance of nature.

7 Our Duties to the Environment People or Penguins: The Case for Optimal Pollution — William F. Baxter The costs of controlling pollution are best expressed in terms of the other goods we will have to give up to do the job. If the use of DDT in food production causes damage to the penguin population, we should not automatically conclude that we must stop agricultural use of DDT.


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