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Simple gifts: Complex environmental hazards and the responsibility to leave a controllable world

Authors
Journal
Futures
0016-3287
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
25
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/0016-3287(93)90116-b
Disciplines
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science

Abstract

Abstract A scheme of Lockean common patrimony is employed to argue that forebears are morally obligated to leave future generations a world as controllable and as affordable as ours for experts and laypeople, despite potentially increasing complexity, ungovernability and cost of environmental hazards and an increasing pace of change. Policy prescriptions are proffered. The ethic and policy frame are fit into the larger context of a social contract of complexity and citizenship. Governability and affordability are cast in terms of the aggregate, depletable yet replenishable Lockean ‘block’ of political resources of time and money free from self-protection and verification of safety; and free for definition of goals and their pursuit. This block must be left as much, as good and as accessible. Values canvassed include: (1) continued technological dynamism, (2) dignity, (3) assimilation with one's artificial environment and fellow humans v estrangement, alienation and anxiety, and (4) autonomy for generations and individuals.

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