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From the introduction: . . . We think that we have to choose and to make explicit a theory of justice because we believe that any theory concerning human action, even those that claim to be purely descriptive, they subtend a specific idea of human being and they have a normative component (besides a prescriptive one). Looking for a possible solution, we try to trace an integration path between a specific theory of justice (the capability approach of Martha Nussbaum) and the Bioeconomics theory of Nicolas Georgescu-Roegen in its more recent formulation. We outline the two theories, pointing out their foundations and showing their complementary aspects. The capability approach, besides being the fundamental theoretical basis of “human development”, may become the conceptual framework needed to explicate the ultimate aim of degrowth, a “human well-being” which is otherwise too vague and undefined in order to justify and to promote any cultural and political change. On the other hand, the theory of Nussbaum, with its “thick, vague conception of the good” (Nussbaum, 2003) and the consequent draft of a provisional list of ten central capabilities, needs a definition of the bio-ecologic limits to the pursuit of a good and “really human” life by the human beings. Finally, we do not want to create a “simple” costs-benefits scheme, but to stress the connections to show the possibility of an optimal integration of the two theories.

Contribution to the 3rd International Degrowth Conference for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Venice in 2012.