Ecology, Policy, and Politics: Human Well-Being and the Natural World

By John O'Neill | Go to book overview

NOTES

1 HUMAN WELL-BEING AND THE NATURAL WORLD
1
The use of ‘us’ invites such responses: Who is ‘we’? To which class, gender, race, nationality, time, species do ‘we’ belong? The use of the ambiguous ‘we’ in the first paragraph is deliberate. In a book written in the ‘first world’, it also invites the response—what of the deteriorating environment of the third world? A criticism that might be made of this book, as it is made of ‘deep’ positions, is that the focus on non-human nature and future generations betrays a blindness to the plight of existing humans. I reply thus: that I do not discuss in detail third-world poverty—including the degradation of the lived environment of both urban and rural communities—does not entail that I believe it to be unimportant. There is no necessary incompatibility between concern for existing humans and concern for non-humans and future generations. However, the major weaknesses of both mainstream economic and political theory and the institutions they support are, for reasons developed in later chapters, more clearly evident in their failure to incorporate non-humans and future generations.
2
The approach of Austrian economics is different. I discuss it elsewhere in the book, but not here.

2 NATURE, INTRINSIC VALUE AND HUMAN WELL-BEING
1
Naess (1984) p. 266. However, Naess’s use of the term is unstable and he sometimes uses ‘intrinsic value’ to refer to objective value. See n.4
2
Moore (1922) p. 260.
3
Worster (1985) p. xi.
4
Thus, for example, Naess and Rothenberg (1989) initially define ‘intrinsic value’ as value which is ‘independent of our valuation’ (p. 11) but then later characterize it in terms of a contrast with instrumental

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