Toward a Social Contract for Resource Thresholds and Population Allocations

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* Article: Sustainable Development without Economic Growth: Toward a Social Contract for Resource Thresholds and Population Allocations. By James Quilligan. Contribution to the Reporting 3.0 conference, June 13, 2018



"Enlightenment scholars in the 17th century created this thought experiment: to understand your natural rights, imagine yourself in a state of wild ecology and identify its natural laws. This was the origin of Liberalism. It enshrined the natural rights of equality and freedom within a social contract, which gradually evolved into the system of democratic capitalism. Today, this liberal order is hastily breaking down and so are the metrics and promises of modern capitalism.

To develop a new agreement between people, businesses and governments, we need to examine natural laws once again. But this time it’s no thought experiment, the circumstances are more urgent and the scope is far broader. This paper assesses the impact of the laws of thermodynamics on our modern economic and political systems. It also proposes how new measures for biocapacity will ensure the long-term sustainability between a population and the ecological availability of the resources that are needed to support it."