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Public Theological Remarks on Time Discounting and Intergenerational Justice

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AbstractThis article inhabits an interdisciplinary space between ecological economics and public theology. After the publication of the 2007 Stern report a debate ensued about the way the economic tool of time discounting is applied as a means to assess the cost of climate change. In this article, the debate is reviewed and the notions of intergenerational justice, sacrifice, stewardship and servant leadership in the Christian tradition are subsequently identified as valuable resources that are recognized by a growing number of philosophers, economists and business leaders, as being of benefit to the conversation on the present generation’s responsibilities to future generations. Time discounting is regarded in this article as a morally questionable economic method to weigh the costs of climate change.

Affiliations: 1: Stellenbosch University South Africa, URL:


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