, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 23-34
Date: 01 Nov 2006

The Ethics of NIMBY Conflicts

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NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) refers to an oppositional attitude from local residents against some risk generating facility that they have been chosen to host either by government or industry. The attitude is claimed to be characteristic of someone who is positive to a facility but who wants someone else to be its host. Since siting cannot be provided if everyone has this attitude, society ends up in a worse situation. The attitude is claimed to be egoistic and irrational. Here it is argued that the NIMBY critique rests on questionable assumptions about the rightness of weighing total benefit against total cost. This weighing-principle will sometimes have to yield so that the rights of individuals can be acknowledged.