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Extinction and Risk

92 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2012 Last revised: 11 Apr 2014

John William Draper

University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: April 11, 2014


This is an early portion of a forthcoming work of practical moral philosophy, one arguing that humanity, as a species, should want to survive. This particular piece argues that neo-classical economics places an emphasis on short-term gain over precaution and in doing so places lives of individual humans — and even the species itself — at risk. We need to change our economic principles and priorities — if we want to survive.

Keywords: Risk, law and economics, markets, environment, unrestricted cost-benefit analysis, CBA, regulation, discounting, incommensurability, consent, moral fairness, subjectivity, maximization, risk society, irreversibility, precautionary principle, feasible risk reduction

JEL Classification: A11, A12, A13, D11, D61, D63, D81, K10, P17, Q20, Q30

Suggested Citation

Draper, John William, Extinction and Risk (April 11, 2014). U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 12-24; U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 12-14. Available at SSRN: or

John William Draper (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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