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Frogs, fuel, finance or food? Cultures, values, ethics, arguments and justifications in the management of agricultural land // Kultur, verdier, etikk og politikk når matjord forvaltes \\

Work Package 4

Ethical valuation in agricultural land governance

 

  • Some urgent ethical challenges relate to the governance of natural resources, particularly in view of global justice.
  • … who should govern resources like water and soil?:

 

  1. Is ‘land grabbing’ morally legitimate?
  2. What kind of justice ought to be preferred?
  3. Should all countries rich in arable land provide food according to some distributive and global principle of justice, or should they act from a primary responsibility to their own inhabitants?

 

  • Performed by May Thorseth & Siri Granum Carson
  • Management WP4 by May Thorseth

 

Analytical approach and research design

 

Some urgent ethical challenges relate to the governance of natural resources, particularly in view of global justice. Foremost, these challenges relate to who should govern resources like water and soil? Traditionally such issues have been addressed within national or regional environments. However, as national and international borders are transgressed by global concerns these issues have to be addressed within new frames. As an example, some countries, like e.g. China, ‘grab’ land in foreign countries in order to meet with their own needs for food security.

 

Is ‘land grabbing’ as a strategy morally legitimate, or should a supra-national body or institution take the responsibility of justly distributing land and other natural resources? This problem does, of course, escalate as natural resources decrease through degradation, population growth and other competing land uses. The uneven distribution of natural resources and technology is another issue that raises ethical dilemmas. In this context, a number of questions arise: What kind of justice ought to be preferred?; Should all countries rich in arable land provide food according to some distributive and global principle of justice, or should they act from a primary responsibility to their own inhabitants?

 

Another dimension of relevance to this WP has to do with differences between developed/ undeveloped countries, in particular the ‘resource curse’ (i.e. negative impacts on less powerful groups when natural resources become commoditized). An important issue is governance of resource abundance. This includes questions of how natural resources shape institutions and policies, as well as normative issues related to which policies countries rich in natural resources should adopt. This also concerns democratic vs. non-democratic countries.

 

Should democratic (and liberal) countries have a stronger say in disputes about natural resources? One issue under this heading relates to Corporate Social Responsibility where companies from rich/developed countries establish activities in undeveloped and non-democratic countries.

 

Professor of philosophy, May Thorseth, will be responsible for the study. Professor Bjørn Myskja and Dr. Siri Granum Carson as well as Allen Alvarez, all at Department of Philosophy, NTNU, will participate in analysis and academic writing. Analyses will be closely related work carried out in the overall project.

 

The WP will deliver 3 peer-reviewed articles (minimum 2 in scientific journals).

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