How do we ensure that the difficult decisions about the management of natural resources are just and fair for all? When looking at different societies and cultures around the world, it is interesting how ubiquitous the principles of justice are. It is part of our human nature to think about equality, and consider fairness as something that we do naturally. However, in practical terms, equality is hard to achieve.
This course explores three aspects of justice, and applies these to environmental issues surrounding natural resource management around the world. It also introduces Strategic Environmental Assessment and Terms of Reference.
What topics will you cover?
– Understand the way that thought experiments can be used to generate fundamental principles.
– Have knowledge of the two principles of justice used in the Theory of Justice.
– Be introduced to the approach of John Rawls, often regarded as the greatest moral philosopher of the 20th Century.
– Understand the difference between economic approaches based on the ‘hidden hand’ of a free market, and institutional economics, in which transaction costs are considered to be important.
– Appreciate the factors that reduce transaction costs.
– Be introduced to Douglass North, who is often regarded as the father of modern institutional economics.
– Understand the practical difficulties of applying the principle of equality to decision-making.
– Be able to perform a simple test to show how collective modes of choice can be logically inconsistent.
– Be introduced to Ken Arrow, who demonstrated the difficulty of rational choice in social welfare.
– Be able to recognise the application of Rawls’ principles of justice to policy.
– Understand the violation of the second principle of justice when applied to saving for future generations.
– Appreciate that the solution to intergenerational justice is to have fairness in the present generation.
What will you achieve?
By the end of the course, you’ll be able to…
– Discuss John Rawls’s principles and theory of justice.
– Explore institutional economics and transaction costs.
– Explain Arrow Impossibility and problems with collective decision making.
– Produce a Terms of Reference for Strategic Environmental Assessment.
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