AuthorWolf, John William Clark.
Committee ChairFeinberg, Joel
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractMany of our common moral and political principles have paradoxical consequences when we try to use them to make comparisons between generations, or to guide the future-directed policy choices of the present generation. This dissertation is an attempt to take important steps toward the development of a theory of justice between generations as an extension of a standard liberal theory of justice. I approach the problem in the interest of developing a theory of present-day decision making, and attempt to develop a theory of the way in which the interests of future people should be taken into account in current decisions about social and energy policy. My argument proceeds largely within the limits of contemporary economic theory and contemporary theories of justice. However, I argue that our obligations to future people require that we revise our view of the role of economic theory as a tool for policy makers, and that we allow recognition of the moral significance of future persons to alter our conception of property rights in natural resources.