“The Faustian Bargain” Reconsidered
山下, 英俊Yamashita, Hidetoshi
163 , 2015-03-20 , 法政大学経済学部学会
In 1971, Alvin M. Weinberg termed nuclear energy a Faustian bargain. With the term Faustian bargain, he cautioned against discounting the vigilance required to safely store nuclear waste for very long time spans. Thereafter, the term has been used frequently in discussions on nuclear policy. Among them, the uses of the term by Allen V. Kneese and Shigeto Tsuru were typical examples of usage by economists. Kneese used the term to insist that cost-benefit analysis could not justify the use of nuclear energy. Tsuru also shared the view of Kneese and pointed out that social costs caused by the use of nuclear energy could not be estimated properly. Their view of nuclear energy as a Faustian bargain posed the question of the social choice of technologies. But whether the question would be taken into account in the actual policy-making process depended on the social structures within which the process ran. In Japan, the question was ignored. On the other hand, the view of Susumu Nagai on nuclear energy as a Faustian bargain seems to present a possibility of realizing a policy-making process open to such a question.