Population Matters

Inequality hinders environmental sustainability efforts

Inequality hinders environmental sustainability efforts

Great economic inequality increases environmental harm as well as human suffering

For many years researchers have explored the relationship between income inequality and social development. Recently, however, the inverse correlation between income inequality and environmental sustainability has received greater attention.

Professor James Boyce, for example, has presented the argument that great economic inequality increases environmental harm. He questions why some people are able to impose harms onto others, and argues that this is because those who are harmed are unable to defend themselves. Consequently, there is little that stops the affluent from exploiting the environment in an unsustainable fashion.

To stop this from happening, it is necessary to equip the harmed with the power to defend themselves.

This paper attempts to give both future generations and existing powerless humans a voice. The principle of prudential justification is used to achieve the former, but it will be argued, using empirical findings, that the latter can only be established through a reduction in income inequality.

Once the adverse influence of inequality had been eliminated, humanity would draw the conclusion that population stabilisation is necessary to allow mankind to uphold or improve the current level of well-being.

Population stabilisation, moreover, has in itself a positive effect on the elimination of inequality, as it is a step towards combatting poverty.

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