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Accounting for Sustainability: A Dissenting Opinion
Department of Economics, McGill University, 855 Sherbrooke St. W., Montreal QC H3A 2T7, Canada
Received: 5 August 2011; in revised form: 21 August 2011 / Accepted: 25 August 2011 / Published: 29 August 2011
Abstract: Discounted-utilitarian welfare, the commonest social objective studied by economists, is the basis for the theory of green accounting in terms of social utility. Sustainability is a different type of social objective. Consequently, green accounting as derived in many empirical models is not appropriate for studying sustainability. Maximin is a consistent foundation for the analysis of sustainability, both weak and strong, that provides conceptually correct accounting prices. These prices are not yet practicable for real economies, however, and must await further advances. Sustainable development is a generalization of the notion of sustainability and can be analyzed using a generalization of maximin.
Keywords: sustainability; sustainable development; present value; welfare; maximin; green accounting
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Cairns, R.D. Accounting for Sustainability: A Dissenting Opinion. Sustainability 2011, 3, 1341-1356.
Cairns RD. Accounting for Sustainability: A Dissenting Opinion. Sustainability. 2011; 3(9):1341-1356.
Cairns, Robert D. 2011. "Accounting for Sustainability: A Dissenting Opinion." Sustainability 3, no. 9: 1341-1356.