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IR 3.31.docx

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Tufts University
Political Science
Kelly Greenhill

IR 3.31 Ethics In IR And Climate Change The barriers to ethical action on international climate change challenges are a problem of collective action, and understanding why countries cooperative with each other and why. Ethical and Environmental • Aristotle: “nature has made all things specifically for the sake of man” and nonhuman things in nature are valued only as instrumental” • wealthier nations consume more than lower income countries, creating more waste • environmental justice, public health, future generations • common-pool resources (CPRs) are natural or human-made resources where one person’s use subtracts from another’s use and where it is often necessary, but difficult and costly, to exclude other users outside the group fro using resources o CPRs are rival goods o CPRs are always vulnerable to overuse and exhaustion, as what is individually rational is in the aggregate “highly problematic” • the commons: common land available to all for grazing animals, gathering wood, etc. o a general term for shared resources in which each stakeholder has an equal interest • Tragedy of the Commons: a metaphor for anything held in common, used by all freely and unregulated o everyone will maximize his own benefit to the detriment of the whole o negative-sum games—the pie is shrinking  the gains and losses will add up to less than zero  only way for a party to maintain its position is to take something from another party  even if everyone takes his/her own share, everyone still loses in comparison to what they currently have or really need  serious competition o the New Commons:  includes: oceans (overfishing), air, land, and rivers (pollution), public noise level (sound pollution), national parks (overuse), earth itself (energy, food supply, living standards), overpopulation o ethically speaking  over-fishing would starve millions, but your impact on per-boat catch is trivial; is it wrong to put your boat to sea?   an act can be wrong even if it has trivial or imperceptible effects  must consider the total harm each inflicts and the harm all inflict together so hurt country today or hurt country in the future…? o many environmental problems have long-term effects—is it wrong to cause harm in the distant future  without discounting, our obligation are infinite; economists discount the future by n% per year; but does moral importance decline at that rate? o current harms? International cooperation on environmental issues • theories: o prisoner’s dilemma in the commons  4 possible outcomes for two firms who both rely on an environmental good which is best sustained by a clean environment  in the LR, its in their interest to redu
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