Essay on Utilitarianism
The concept of sustainable development is an attempt to balance two moral demands placed on the environment. The first demand is for development, including economic development or growth. It arises mainly from the interests of people who live in developing countries. Their present poverty gives them a low quality of life and calls urgently for steps to improve their quality of life. The second demand is for sustainability, for …show more content…
Given its interpretations of impartiality, utilitarianism will count the deprivations of the few as a moral cost. But, if they produce benefits for enough people, this cost will be outweighed. Even a severe inequality can be balanced out and approved of by a utilitarian.
Some philosophers, feeling the force of these objections, have proposed replacing utilitarianism about future generations with an egalitarian view.
This view cares not just about the sum of benefits across generations, but also about their equitable distribution. We do not sacrifice the worst-off generation for better-off generations, but aim at equality of conditions among them. This egalitarian view can take many forms, but a good version has been proposed by Brian Barry. He says that each generation has a duty to pass on to its successors a total range of resources and opportunities that is at least as good as its own. Those generations that enjoy favorable conditions of life must pass on similar circumstances of life to their future. However, generations that are less fortunate have no such stringent obligations. What is required of each generation is that it just pass on a total package of opportunities that is comparable to its own; whatever the exact composition of that package may be. Barry's approach to the egalitarian view can easily be