Discounted utilitarian criterion
This page will contain a description of methods of evaluating the current value of future utility or streams of future utility. Consideration of how we evaluate future utility is relevant for intergenerational equity.
Traditional Discounted Utilitarian Criterion
(Text for this section is being prepared by a contributor)
Sustainable Discounted Utilitarian Criterion
Asheim and Mitra criticized discounted utilitarianism by suggesting that, in some situations, the model can lead to unsustainable levels of consumption. They developed a model and suggested that it allows for modeling of a stable, recursive social welfare function that is both egalitarian and sustainable. The general idea was to create a model in which utility of the current generation can be ignored if it is greater than future social welfare. It appears that the theory relies on the ability to identify a stream of future social welfare that is sustainable. If such a stream can be approximated, it is unclear how the model accounts for social implications for adhering to the sustainability targets under conditions of rising population.
Effects of Finite Time Frame
Targeting optimal utility (or economic consumption) for the current and future generations would break from infinite series models if civilization is expected to end in the finite future (e.g., the sun will eventually explode, or an asteroid might destroy all sentient beings in the near future).