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Philosophy in the Contemporary World

Volume 16, Issue 1, Spring 2009

Adam Briggle
Pages 14-24

Retail Sanity, Wholesale Madness
The Question Concerning Sustainability

This paper looks at the question of sustainability through the prism of a collective action problem fundamentally driven by human desires and needs. It ftrst characterizes the problem of non-sustainability by combining environmental ethics with the philosophy of technology. The paper then considers four basic strategies for resolving the collective action problem: virtue, regulation, price, and innovation. Each solution has its own set of weaknesses and strengths, meaning that achieving sustainability will remain a difficult balancing act.

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