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Unfit for the FutureThe Need for Moral Enhancement$
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Ingmar Persson and Julian Savulescu

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199653645

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199653645.001.0001

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The Tragedy of the Environment and Liberal Democracy

The Tragedy of the Environment and Liberal Democracy

(p.73) 7 The Tragedy of the Environment and Liberal Democracy
Unfit for the Future

Ingmar Persson

Julian Savulescu

Oxford University Press

The problem of mitigating human induced climatic and environmental deterioration is harder to solve than the tragedy of the commons, even in the case in which the contributors are so many that the contribution of each becomes imperceptible. This is because the more harmful effects will occur several decades from now and will not affect us but our descendants; so, the bias towards the near future will kick in and make us discount the harm. Our limited altruism is also relevant because a lot of the bad effects will affect people in developing countries rather than affluent people in liberal democracies who cause the damage. The remoteness of the harmful effects is likely to make politicians in liberal democracies postpone unpopular measures to prevent them. This also enables them to argue that future technology will solve the problem.

Keywords:   altruism, climatic deterioration, commons, environmental deterioration, liberal democracy, near future, technology

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