University of Twente Student Theses


The tragedy of meat : A risk analysis of the climate impact of meat

Zuiderduin, A. (2020) The tragedy of meat : A risk analysis of the climate impact of meat.

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Abstract:The tragedy of the commons, a metaphor coined by Hardin in 1968, describes an open resource getting depleted or polluted by being accessible to all. Two issues, formulated as questions, arrive in a tragedy of the commons: what could solve it? And who should solve it? I answer both questions by assessing what solution is the most equitable to counter the environmental impact of meat consumption. By using Wolff’s risk analysis (2010), I evaluate five socio-technical solutions by listing their cost-payers and beneficiaries. Next, again by applying Wolff’s risk analysis, I evaluate two of the five solutions by assessing their decision-making processes. This ties in into the notions of individual and collective responsibility, and who is responsible for solving a tragedy of the commons. I suggest combining individual and collective responsibility by referring to Hourdequin (2010) and Middlemiss (2010). On the one hand, individual consumers of the developed world are required to act upon their individual responsibility by changing their consumption patterns. On the other hand, developed nations are required to act upon their collective responsibility which could, for example, be done by rationing. My research is divided into four parts: the first part lays out the environmental issues caused by meat and explains Wolff’s (2010) risk model; the second part describes five different socio-technical solutions which combine technical and social elements to different extents; the third part assesses the cost-payers and beneficiaries of each solution; the fourth part assesses the decision-makers of the two most equitable solutions out of the aforementioned five, and explains why individual and collective responsibility are equally important to solve a tragedy of the commons.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:08 philosophy
Programme:Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society MSc (60024)
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