Next Article in Journal
Coping with Complex Environmental and Societal Flood Risk Management Decisions: An Integrated Multi-criteria Framework
Next Article in Special Issue
Do Respondents’ Perceptions of the Status Quo Matter in Non-Market Valuation with Choice Experiments? An Application to New Zealand Freshwater Streams
Previous Article in Journal
Revisiting System Paradigms from the Viewpoint of Manufacturing Sustainability
Previous Article in Special Issue
Continuum of Risk Analysis Methods to Assess Tillage System Sustainability at the Experimental Plot Level
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Sustainability 2011, 3(9), 1341-1356;

Accounting for Sustainability: A Dissenting Opinion

Department of Economics, McGill University, 855 Sherbrooke St. W., Montreal QC H3A 2T7, Canada
Received: 5 August 2011 / Revised: 21 August 2011 / Accepted: 25 August 2011 / Published: 29 August 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental and Resource Economics)
Full-Text   |   PDF [324 KB, uploaded 24 February 2015]


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. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainability; sustainable development; present value; welfare; maximin; green accounting sustainability; sustainable development; present value; welfare; maximin; green accounting
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Cairns, R.D. Accounting for Sustainability: A Dissenting Opinion. Sustainability 2011, 3, 1341-1356.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top