By Christopher Groves (auth.)
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Extra resources for Care, Uncertainty and Intergenerational Ethics
184, n. 22) calls a ‘sociological description of the inhabitants of contemporary liberal democracies’ and what they desire in publicly justifiable policies. Although Rawls wants the set of primary goods to be independent of any ‘comprehensive theory’, they remain, then, derived from a kind of empirical observation. Similar uncertainties to those which surround the definition of the currency of distribution produced by needs theories (objective utilitarianism) therefore arise around Rawls’ account too.
Further, non-existence is not a problem: with respect to future generations, ‘[t]he identity of the owners of these interests is now necessarily obscure, bur the fact of their interest-ownership is crystal clear, and that is all that is necessary to certify the coherence of present talk about their rights’ (p. 65). However, another problem now presents itself. As Galen K. Pletcher (1981) has argued, once it is accepted that, whoever exists in the future, they will have certain interests, then harming these interests will be impermissible.
The SEV is therefore supported by an extra-economic framework of assumptions that establishes ‘consumer sovereignty’ as the central capacity of human beings, whose preferences originate with them alone (are endogenous) and who know unproblematically what they want (preferences are transparent). e. only individuals alive now, non-existent future people being unable to exercise this power) to dispose of earned income as they wish. The essential purpose of morality and law is, therefore, to maintain the entitlement of individuals to get what they want (de Shalit 2000, p.