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What It Is and What It Is Not

(p.234) Chapter 11 Sustainability
The Agrarian Vision
Paul B. Thompson
University Press of Kentucky

Information about sustainability in the sense of resource sufficiency is important for planning, but not in a way that adds anything to the traditional statement of utilitarian philosophy. The “paradox of sustainability” arises because substantive, research-based approaches to sustainability may be too complex to effectively motivate appropriate social responses, especially in a culture where science is presumed to be “value free.” Assessing sustainability in such terms presumes that the farmer is outside the system—not outside in the sense that the farmer's actions have no impact on the system, but in the sense that this way of understanding sustainability presumes that there will always be a farmer present to manage inputs.

Keywords:   planning, utilitarian philosophy, value free, paradox, sustainability

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