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Resource use maxima for sustainable welfare

Alisa Vänttinen’s doctoral dissertation in social policy addresses collective maxima limitations for resource use from the point of view of sustainable welfare.

The goal of the research is to advance theoretical and practical understanding of policy instruments that can be used to reduce the use of resources to a sustainable level while promoting the possibilities of a good life. To this end, maxima limitations are scrutinised from the point of view of sustainable welfare. A set of criteria will be created for evaluating policy instruments. The aim is to also hold citizen discussions in Finland to evaluate the maximum level perceived as sustainable and acceptable, as well as related policy possibilities.

Based on previous literature, the sustainable use of resources is defined between minima and maxima limits. Minima guarantees everyone’s opportunities for a decent life and well-being. Maxima secures the possibilities of current and future generations to reach minima by limiting the overuse of resources.

The dissertation contributes to research on ecosocial policy and sustainable well-being. It is motivated by the desire to advance solutions for sustainability crisis. In previous sustainability research it is increasingly noted that we need sufficiency-oriented solutions in addition to technological efficiency improvements. Sufficiency is needed to be able to reduce the use of resources quickly enough and thus avoid the most serious risks of environmental problems, such as global warming. In practice, this means reducing production/consumption and recomposing consumption. Moreover, the use of resources and the harm caused by environmental problems are currently very unequally distributed both globally and within countries, calling for discussion on maxima limitations for the most well-off.