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Valerie Sokolow

Reading Solow’s lecture on sustainability along with Quiggin’s piece gave me a sort feeling of doom. Both outline the ideals of sustainability, and say that we can get there, but it would require a deviation from our current habits as a society. Quiggin in particular says that the “ultimate barriers to achieving a good life for all… are in our beliefs, values and social institutions.” I just wonder how this could be addressed. How do we change our beliefs, values, and institutions to promote sustainability? As Solow points out, we would need to forego current consumption. However, how do we make the shift to decide that future consumption is more valuable than our current consumption? I don’t know if the answer is truly in changing our values, and I wonder if there is something concrete that can be done to promote this shift.


I appreciate that Solow recognizes the unfeasibility of the standard definition of sustainability: A moral obligation to the future to leave resources exactly how we found it. I think this definition probably deters some people from behaving sustainably because it is so unattainable to do so by its basic definition. I also appreciate his recognition that it’s not necessarily a bad think to go against this definition by altering the world in some manner because of the substitutability between certain resources that the market can work out such as, for example, raising the price of oil as it becomes scarcer leading to consumers to change consumption patterns to buying electric cars. However, I think his point that people’s tastes and preferences of the future could and probably will differ from ours today is very grim. I remember last semester in Developmental Econ we discussed how people born without any remaining forests will not value it nearly as much if at all as we do now, which still leaves me unsettled when trying to grasp that concept. I think Solow’s view on sustainability was supposed to leave us with more hope towards the future and make us feel better about our seemingly unsustainable actions today, but I was not left with that feeling after reading this. On the other hand, the This World is Enough article made me feel slightly more hopeful for our future, but still left me feeling sad as to why we have not yet taken advantage of the low hanging fruit available to cut our energy usage and reallocate goods to benefit more of the population as it described. The figure describing that it would cost about 6% of GDP, the amount we spend on going to restaurants and buying coffee, to reduce energy emissions on the road really emphasized just how simple it would be to behave in a more sustainable fashion, yet we continue to not do it...

Jessica Pachuca

Both of these pieces, while optimistic in concept, left me in doubt of our country's future decisions. It is clear that preservation or sustainability can at the very least be improved. While there have been some initiatives in environmentally improving, it isn't as nearly effective as it could be. These articles reminded me about how politics can be damaging in serious issues. While different, it is not far from the problems of our education system. We often have politicians making decisions about issues they aren't fully knowledgeable in. In education, it could mean developing a curriculum that is biased based on the party of those in power. While in the case of environmental issues, it could mean making decisions that damage our planet. In addition, the voters themselves often lack knowledge about issues that don't align with their party. At what point do we prohibit politics from influencing topics that could permanently harm our society?

Jackson Hotchkiss

The work by John Quiggin was by far my favorite of the two due to the new perspective that I was presented with. In a way, it was nice to hear that due to our current agricultural food production growth since the Green Revolution we are running no risk of feeding the growing population if things continue to run in the same direction. This is the case if agriculture production continues to climb at a percentage that is larger than the population. Alongside this, it was encouraging to know that due to such innovations in technology we as a whole have the capability to cut down on carbon emissions, thus both lowering and slowing the speed at which the planet is warming. Not only do we have the technology to do such a thing, but we can increase the overall standard of living in the process. However, as good as this sounds I am not super optimistic that we will take the necessary leap. I say this because, in developed countries specifically, individuals would have to make a sacrifice that goes away from the cultural norm they are used to. I think it is safe to say that those who would make the biggest impact would be quick to advocate, but long as the sacrifice comes at another's expense. Another reason this would be hard is the way humans live as a whole. Not everyone lives in a city. Therefore, it is not possible for them to ride a bike, walk or even take public transportation if they live an hour round trip from the store. So I'm not sure what the possible solution could be. How could those who want to make the leap influence those who would never do so? Could you use some sort of moral suasion and if so would that be enough to make a true difference. Overall I was pleased to hear this but also felt relatively helpless in moving towards these ideas.

Jack Lewis

I really enjoyed reading the Quiggin article because it gave me hope for our future, although some serious changes need to be made. A couple of points that stood out to me include the statistic that our use of coal, gas, and oil could be reduced by 90%, even while living standards increase greatly. It is comforting knowing that we have the ability to decrease carbon emissions tremendously, even while improving living conditions. The issue that Quiggins brings up and what I've thought about is how will these changes get put into motion. Who will be the ones to kickstart major change? A lot of these statistics even sound too good to be true. I question whether a 15 hour week work for everyone in society is possible because the wealth gap is so large, and some people may want to work more. I enjoyed learning about the possibilities of our society in the future when major change from leaders take place. However, in 10 years after the article was posted, I do not think Quiggin would say we can have a great future with the same optimism.

Carter Dummett

The second article I found pretty interesting and depressing at the same time. From what I read it just sounded like we have the capabilities to accomplish all of these things like much more fuel efficient cars, eliminate world hunger, and eliminating poverty. The issue is that we just haven't set out minds to it and devoted enough resources to it to do so. It seems there needs to be some kind of event that occurs that gets people all on the same page but it seems that this concept of unequal or lopsidedly distributed information will continue to plague us and hold us back from achieving the hopes for the future.


Quiggin's article stuck out to me because it presented fundamental ways for change to occur, but it lies in the fact that those things will get done. There was a sense of hope reading that article. It was written in 2013, so it would be interesting to see an updated version from Quiggin talking about the progress (if any) that has been made in the last 8-9 years. He presented ways to achieve a kind of "utopian" society, and the question of achieving it lies in will we do it, not can we. Quiggin points out that our use of coal, gas, and oil could be reduced by 90 percent even while living standards increase. One of the solutions he points out lies in changing infrastructures that support existing technologies. This, coupled with changing our fixed assumptions about how energy systems must work, can result in drastic change for the better. Although this solution provides hope, the fact we are still having these conversations means his efforts and solutions probably were not put into place even at the surface level. Another thing that stuck out to me was the fact that the number of chronically undernourished people in the world has declined from nearly one billion in 1990 to 870 million today. This strikes me by surprise because I feel like we would have been moving in the wrong direction. Although this is correlated to less poverty, it is a sign of optimism for the future. Overall, reading this article scares me for the future but also gives a sense of hope in the fact that there are real viable solutions that could be done.

Jacob McCabe

I was happy to see these two articles again this semester because I felt that they sent a powerful message in last year's development economics class. Solow's definition of sustainability provides a general idea of what it means to maintain the services and opportunities for coming generations while Quiggins explains how it can actually happen. The hardest thing to comprehend about Quiggins piece is how his solutions can be put into practice. In an environment where so many people are used to the comforts of the developed world it becomes hard to fully appreciate how dire the situation is. This gives me a pessimistic view of how willing people are to change their habits, and in turn how viable these solutions are. When human rights remain a political issue there is very little room for progress as the devil's advocate will fight tooth and nail just to be right. As both of these articles imply, sustainability is a human rights issue that continues to be twisted in the most ineffective way possible.

Clara Ortwein

I found the article on sustainability from Solow to be particularly interesting because of its unique definition of what sustainability is. As someone who has been most exposed to the buzzword of sustainability from the biology/sciences, the idea of permitting (and encouraging in some cases) the exhaustive use of resources is not what I have typically been taught. The sentiment that if there is a substitute for a resource then it is therefore acceptable to exhaust it certainly illustrates a rift that can occur between traditional conservation and economics. Biological perspectives often encourage the unrealistic standard of having untouched, pristine land and minimal use of resources, which I myself have never felt optimistic about, particularly with our growing population. Another interesting point that I had not expressly considered is the hypocrisy that exists of environmentalists who are unconcerned with the wellbeing of those in poverty today, but rather simply those in the future. Solow stated at one point that addressing future impoverished people is an investment, but addressing it today requires increased consumption (which goes against sustainability)—I wonder what exactly this means. Is current consumption not a kind of investment into the future as well? Is there not a way to structure the necessary increase in consumption in order to create infrastructures that will help to guide us towards distributional equity in the future (cheaper renewable energy, transportation innovation, etc)?

A Facebook User

Upon analyzing the article from Aeon, I found many points to be interesting but also became critical of the logic behind some. First being, when they addressed the issue of leisure activities requiring the use of cars and suggested the idea of more cities. While I understand there may be more of a push toward the city life recently, I feel as though this proposition is somewhat counterintuitive. If we are trying to urge members of society to be more aware of nature preservation and environmental conservation, why would we encourage others to live in an area of more urban development. I understand how this could potentially be beneficial to the rest of the nation by leaving more undisturbed land, however I think another alternative could provide better results, not to mention that an urban lifestyle requires more inefficient fuel consumption. Another question I have regarding this essay is if we adopt a zero carbon system, how would this transition affect the economy during this time of change? While I agree that this needs to done, I believe it is important to deeply analyze potential pitfalls we could face during this time of colossal change. Another question I have pertaining to this issue is what happens if this does not happen on a global level? Although environmental preservation is vital to the preservation of the planet, is it potentially dangerous to individual nations to undergo such a colossal technological change with regard to national security?

Kate Hannon

Initially, I found John Quiggin’s article to be more hopeful than Robert Solow’s speech. Quiggin says, for example, that there is “no technical obstacle to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 80 to 90 percent over a few decades”. He also believes that we can simultaneously make life better for the billions of people living in poverty, without destroying the planet or other species. An optimistic perspective from an expert was nice to see, especially in comparison to the other article. At the same time, the further I read into the article the more and more unlikely the type of changes he was describing seemed. Making these changes, he explained, are a matter of will we rather than can we. Personally, I was not comforted by this distinction. Based on today’s political gridlock and misinformation, I am doubtful we could enact the kinds of major improvements Quiggin described, especially upon learning that some of these technologies have been around for years. Why now, of all times, could we expect ourselves to do better in attempting to solve a problem we’ve known about for decades? I honestly think it would’ve been more comforting to read that the necessary technology to mitigate the effects of climate change does not exist yet, and for that reason we have failed to adequately address climate change. I have a lot of faith in human ingenuity and our ability to create these technologies, but less so that we will create the social and political circumstances necessary to enact the policies and changes that will allow us to utilize them.

Alice Chen

I enjoyed reading both articles as they gave me some sort of hope for our future, but also left me with questions about how such future was possible. Quiggin's article gave me a new perspective on the ways that technology has adapted flexibly to our needs. For instance, the technological need for many kinds of travel has already been reduced with the introduction of the phone and internet. It is definitely possible to continue reducing the amount of travel in years coming too with the introduction of newer technologies. Quiggin's concluded by saying that the ultimate barrier to achieving a good life lies in our beliefs, values and social institutions. I agree with this statement because so much depends on the individual themselves. However, I'm not quite sure if it is possible for one to change their values/beliefs, especially if it is rooted in culture. This brings me to Solow's paper which discussed how people today want consumption, not an investment in the future. But, how can we forego consumption when consumption is how we measure progress and wealth? How can people see future investments instead of focusing on the "losses" that they will incur today? Thus, how can we be sustainable, a way in which Solow describes as an obligation to the future, if it is so hard to think about the future in comparison to the present.

Izzy Koziol

Solow’s discussion of what sustainability means and entails struck me because of its human-oriented nature. I have read many arguments for sustainability that, to an extent, vilify humans and put the environment’s apparent needs at the front and center. For example, many environmentalists promote preserving “unspoiled lands” or “wilderness” for the sake of keeping them pure and untouched by human civilization. Solow takes a more practical approach and argues that no one resource needs to be preserved as long as there are substitutes for it, and that making no use of usable resources is actually unreasonable. He simplified sustainability to mean nothing more specific than an obligation to the future to give the future generations the option or capacity to be as privileged as we are. We can pleasure ourselves by using resources as long as it does not hurt future generations, but Solow does not argue that our consumption has to not hurt aspects of the environment. We could overfish a species of fish to extinction, but as long as other fish remain, it is perfectly reasonable. This is not the view held by all sustainability advocates. Another interesting idea that Solow brings up is the extremely high level of uncertainty associated with sustainability. This is due to many factors including the uncertainty in the private and public sector, the future, the general uncertain nature of human behavior, and the immense uncertainty within the field of environmental science. The idea of uncertainty is so relevant to the discussion about sustainability and solving environmental issues because they require the understanding of the intersection between human behavior and environmental science, which are impossible to fully understand at this point.

Matthew Todd

In reading the Solow piece I found myself agreeing with the point that "sustainability" needs to be considered in terms of what is feasible. Solow encourages, in lieu of an emphasis on preservation, mindfulness as to the trade-offs made between current consumption and providing for the future. Solow also notes that we only need to preserve goods (ie animals, natural resources, etc.) that have no good substitutes. I find this argument interesting, as it is difficult to determine what is a "good substitute" as we face uncertainty surrounding scarcity and effectiveness of alternatives to certain resources. This encourages consumption of finite resources only after there is a solid "backup" plan already in place.

Hayden Roberts

Solow’s perspective on sustainability leaves me confused about the current state of impoverished countries and sustainability. This could simply be the way I am interpreting his words, but he argues that third world countries are the main problem for sustainability because they are not investing in the future. He states that they are the main problem of population growth, and their focus is on consumption. I would like to know what approaches could be taken to switch these countries’ mindset to that of investment considering resources are often lacking in these countries. It is hard to think about investing for future generations when current generations are struggling day to day.

Camryn Bostick

The largest point that struck me from Quiggin's article was that concerning capability versus willingness. Many people believe that solving the furthering of climate change is some far off dream, but in reality the bigger issue is people's willingness to give up or sacrifice anything in order to even attempt to fix our planet. Quiggin states that a study found we could cut our coal, gas, and oil usage by 90%, but this process would be extremely slow and expensive. This could make a huge change in the environment - keeping global warming down to a 2 degrees increase - but the amount of people who support these large steps are heavily outnumbered by those who do not. This point is furthered by the example of private cars. Driving yourself in your own car is a very common, normalized fact of our nation, and almost all people would be absolutely unwilling to give this up, even though it is one of the biggest pollutants on the planet. I believe that the most important issue regarding climate change and global warming is the unwillingness of humankind to sacrifice money, materials, or time in order to save the planet that they are living on. Although there may be many plans on how to lower temperatures and minimize pollution, none of them will matter if they are not allowed to be put into motion.

Belen Delgado Mio

Quiggin's article makes it clear that the US has the ability to make renewable energy widely available to its people through technological improvements, and to decrease the amount of people that go hungry globally by giving more foreign aid to developing countries. However, as he stated, the problem lies within the willingness of the US, and other developed countries, to actually take action on these issues. This reminded me of two of the three I's of why we don't have better environmental policy, interests and ideology. Unfortunately, the interests of very powerful oil and gas companies, along with the unwillingness of a majority of the Republican party to take an initiative on the problem of global climate change prevents the US from being able to make substantial progress on this issue. My fear is that, as a country, we won't do anything about this issue before it's too late. Not because we don't have the right technology or the money available to build the right infrastructure for renewable energy to become widely available, but because partisanship and powerful people will halt progress on this issue altogether. Unfortunately, reading Quiggin's article made me less optimistic for the future because he shows us that we have the tools to fix our problems, but that we probably won't do the right thing because we have the choice not to.

Blake Cote

I found many of the points that Solow makes in the Sustainability: An Economist’s Perspective very interesting and I appreciated his breakdown of the definition of “sustainability.” The most notable takeaway that I noticed from this article is that the idea that we, as humans, should leave everything how we found it, in terms of the environment, is not feasible nor always desirable. It can also make the goal of sustainability seem daunting or unlikely to be achieved. Solow’s definition of sustainability, “An obligation to conduct ourselves so that we leave the future the option or the capacity to be as well off as we are,” is more practical and is more achievable. I also enjoyed reading about the role that equity plays in sustainability, and Solow’s explanation that we can provide substitutes of equal value to help reach sustainability. The oil example made this concept clear where the UK exhausted the oil supply and said that they were going to provide something of equal value in exchange. But Norway put in effort to attempt to reinvest the revenues back into investment, which if done successfully, would have “guaranteed a perpetually constant capacity to consume” (Solow 185).

AJ Mabaka

I should preface the rest of my comments/ this blog post with a clarifier, I do hold some hope that we as a species may reform to live more sustainably on Earth and in a manner by which all may enjoy quality of life. However, as Quiggins pointed out (and to some degree refutes?), this would be an arduous task to say the least. Anyway, I thought that Quiggins made some interesting points, as others have noted, regarding sustainability and the manner in which we as a species have been existing on Earth. Evidently, the contemporary level of human consumption of natural resources (be it energy or food or water) is unsustainable and with populations projected to reach 10 billion people in the coming decades, there is evident need for more sustainable consumptive reform as Quiggins discussed. However, he begged the question of can we "let everyone live like prosperous residents of the First World without destroying our natural environment" or rather "will we?" I found myself in both agreement and disagreement as Quiggins moved through different examples and avenues of need for consumptive change. Focusing on food, we've all probably heard about cow burps and the degree to which the agricultural sector contributes to methane/greenhouse gas emissions. To this Quiggins seemed to respond that "this means that a global diet with First World levels of animal protein consumption would require a shift towards chicken, eggs, and pork." I took partial issue with this because even though he notes that "a utopian vision for humans shouldn’t have to rest on a miserable life for animals." Even as is there are more chickens on Earth now than there are humans, which is simply to satisfy global food demand. As such, I have difficultly imagining a way in which global food production could meet the needs of billions of people and attain global food security without resting on the backs of billions of chickens and pigs, which hosts ethical concerns as Quiggins points out. Additionally, and I feel as though this applies to many scenarios (be it conversion to renewable energy or food production), it is very
difficult to take on costs (or lose benefits) in the present so that there might be future benefits (or avoided costs). So to raise the question as many of us have, how exactly can we incentivize others to make stronger commitments to sustainable living (be it using less energy, consuming healthier foods, reducing emissions)? Part of me feels as though such living cannot be broadly attained by humans as a species until it is in the best interest of the individual to live in such a manner...

Mohammed R Mourtaja

Solow's writing,
In the beginning, I was surprised that he disagreed with the definition given by the UN because no one disagrees with definitions from the UN. However, when he gave his belief about sustainability, I started to see his point. Why should we leave the same amount of resources to the next generation? I loved the way he presented the idea. That is because we can use those resources in building better alternatives or improving super beneficial technologies. In addition, I agree with one of his claims that we should not be forced to undo something that would be valuable to humanity just because it does not fit the UN definition of sustainability. I might not be fully convinced that we should not plan for future generations. I believe that planning is crucial for the economy of the country, and the infrastructure we have in Gaza is a big example. Previous generations thought it is not important, and today we are facing a huge problem because of that. One of the things I wanted to hear more about is how can we solve the rapid population growth that developing countries have? Will there be an integration between countries to solve such problems? My initial opinion is probably not, and that was proven through the pandemic. Instead of making sure that every human being is vaccinated, developed countries were giving 4th shot while most people in developing countries did not have their first one.
Finally, Why should we be more concerned about the future generation of poor people, but not today's poor people? I believe that is true because if we could make sure that fewer people are poor and hungry today, future generations would not worry about it and have more resources to solve their own problems then.

Grace A Stricklin

I found Solow’s preferred definition of sustainability to be particularly notable. He suggests that sustainability is “an obligation to conduct ourselves so that we leave to the future the option of the capacity to be as well off as we are” (Solow 181). This initially seems not only reasonable, but feasible as well; however, he seems to note one of the potential concerns with this definition himself- at present, we are unable to know what our current resources will be worth in the future. Solow discusses this point in regard to current natural resources, like oil, that will eventually be obsolete. However, he does not seem to consider the fact that resources that are not considered valuable now could soon be the most desirable natural resources. Solow notes that as we use current resources, we should invest the money made from them into sustainable efforts, which could mean that humanity could avoid this issue altogether if renewable energy sources are discovered or created instead. However, it is interesting that he places the most emphasis on currently used nonrenewable resources and sustainable resources without considering what resources may actually be considered valuable in the future.

Allyssa Utecht

I really appreciated Solow's realistic approach to sustainability. I have found that when people discuss sustainability, their definitions are often too vague or impractical. I liked his presentation of sustainability as "shared well-being" between the present and the future by viewing the environment as an investment. I struggled with his description of the poverty paradox, not because I disagreed with him, but rather for his lack of providing any sort of real solution to the issue. I understand that there is no perfect answer and that somehow we must find a way to achieve distributional equity both inter- and intra-generationaly, but I don't think that we can be more concerned about the general state of a future population than the wellbeing of people alive right now. I struggled with his statement that if one were to consider and help poor people right now, this translates into an increase in current consumption, which leaves future people worse off. While I see how this could be true in some ways, I think that Quiggens provided an abundance of avenues for our current society to actually decrease overall consumption while improving the wellbeing of impoverished people. I do think that some of Quiggens' ideas were vague and I can see how the economic implementation of some could be an issue, but I think we can parallely improve sustainably by investing in our current populations and infrastructure, which will in turn benefit future generations. I particularly like Quiggens description of how some developing countries have bypassed a century of technology and actually have more sustainable practices, leapfrogging from no technology to cell phones and solar panels that do not require nonrenewable resources. I think poorer communities present a critical avenue for implementing sustainable energy use practices, simultaneously improving their wellbeing in the present while insuring future wellbeing.

Isabel Lourie

I have to say that I was surprised to see that the futuristic eco-city accompanying Quiggin's article was a projection for Tianjin, the city I called home for five years. I remember being plagued by extremely high Air Quality Index levels pretty regularly, only seeing consistently clear skies upon the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The reality of damaging CO2 production as predicted by Solow has definitely come sooner than his 50-100 year estimate in 1991. I'm eager to see if China does manage to redirect its ultrafast urbanization power toward sustainable or regenerative development.

Both authors indicate that the goal of sustainability, at least when it is defined as the maintenance of future human generations' standards of wellbeing, is feasible to achieve given willingness to enact changes toward maintaining a rapidly declining planet. I can't tell if Solow has taken into account any distinction between depletion of environmental resources and use of natural resources in his "environmental investment" model, but the idea that we should maintain a baseline of action as a collective starting point doesn't hurt the cause. Quiggins seems to offer an optimistic view of our capabilities to improve technology toward sustainability and equity, but the underlying message is that the actors with the power to make such changes are either resistant, under/misinformed, or both. Is it possible to feed a growing population by following agricultural development trends that may be ultimately counterproductive to the future access to agricultural resources? Are we underestimating the selfishness of actors who stand to gain in the short run from unsustainable development?

Giang Nguyen

I want to talk more about the part where he said "how you are going to explain to the Chinese that they shouldn't burn the coal, even living at their standard of living they shouldn't bum the coal." I think now aside from economic reasons, government corruption is also a very big reason why sustainability is a paradox. For example, in Vietnam, we have a project that a Japanese company offered to work with the Vietnamese government to clean an infamously dirty river in the capital city using an innovative energy. Everything went well and the river was turned clean to the point that you can swim in it. However, right after the Japanese left, the Vietnamese government dumped sewage into the river and everything was back to square one. Their reason was like there was no other way/ they didn't have enough facilities to treat sewage. So now with globalization, a country has more resources/funding to become more sustainable. However, corruption is the biggest thing that stops a lot of progress from happening.

Merritt McCaleb

I drawn to John Quiggin’s article regarding how we could, potentially, end poverty while protecting the global environment. My fascination stemmed from how positive and optimistic his outlook is on economic strategies that might alleviate various environmental issues. His hopefulness is rooted in the article’s central question of not can we, but will we alleviate – and perhaps eliminate altogether – poverty without “destroying our natural environment” implying that such a balance is, in fact, possible. Yet while I appreciated Quiggin’s attitude, the arguments he puts forth seem ambitious and daunting. In fact, I actually got less optimistic as the article goes on. Specifically, I was struck when he mentions that “a large section of the political right…has turned rejection of climate science into a major front in the culture wars that dominate a tribalist approach to politics.” The political polarization that exists about such important environmental policies seems to prevent countries from uniting together to solve global problems. People get too swept up in their own individual points of view and are thus quick to stand their ground – this becomes dangerous when people fail to understand and comprehend others’ ideas. As a result, the phrase “it’s not a question of ‘can we,’ but ‘will we’” is almost scarier than saying we can’t do it at all, precisely because we are given the opportunity to succeed, but if we don’t, it’s because of our own failures and shortcomings (most likely being our inability to listen to one another). It’s haunting to realize that we are capable of avoiding environmental catastrophes and eliminating poverty, but that we very well may not succeed due to our inability to listen to one another. Further, the “foot-dragging of major nations” is irksome. Quiggin notes that such countries with major economies have slowed in reducing carbon emissions, and it’s frustrating that these countries, who wield vast influence over the rest of the world, are failing to take charge. Finally, I wanted to touch briefly on the idea of moral obligations, as I learned about this idea in my poverty class last semester. Robert Solow focuses on this idea of our obligations to future generations – according to him, we each are “entitled to please ourselves, so long as it’s not at the expense of future well-being.” In other words, we are free to do whatever we want, as long as we don’t impose harm upon anyone or anything else.

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