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Sustainability 2014, 6(2), 894-912; doi:10.3390/su6020894

Institutionalizing Strong Sustainability: A Rawlsian Perspective

Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Philosophisches Seminar, Leibnizstr. 4, 24118 Kiel, Germany
Received: 17 October 2013 / Revised: 12 February 2014 / Accepted: 13 February 2014 / Published: 21 February 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Institutional Change)
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Abstract

The article aims to provide some ethical orientation on how sustainability might be actualized by institutions. Since institutionalization is about rules and organization, it presupposes ideas and concepts by which institutions can be substantiated. After outlining terminology, the article deals with underlying ethical and conceptual problems which are highly relevant for any suggestions concerning institutionalization. These problems are: (a) the ethical scope of the sustainability perspective (natural capital, poverty, sentient animals), (b) the theory of justice on which ideas about sustainability are built (capability approach, Rawlsianism), and (c) the favored concept of sustainability (weak, intermediate, and strong sustainability). These problems are analyzed in turn. As a result, a Rawlsian concept of rule-based strong sustainability is proposed. The specific problems of institutionalization are addressed by applying Rawls’s concept of branches. The article concludes with arguments in favor of three transnational duties which hold for states that have adopted Rawlsian strong sustainability. View Full-Text
Keywords: theories of justice; strong sustainability; institutionalization; deliberative democracy theories of justice; strong sustainability; institutionalization; deliberative democracy
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Ott, K. Institutionalizing Strong Sustainability: A Rawlsian Perspective. Sustainability 2014, 6, 894-912.

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