The Repugnant Conclusion served an important purpose in catalyzing and inspiring the pioneering stage of population ethics research. We believe, however, that the Repugnant Conclusion now receives too much focus. Avoiding the Repugnant Conclusion should no longer be the central goal driving population ethics research, despite its importance to the fundamental accomplishments of the existing literature.
In the framework of ethical social choice theory, sustainability is justified by efficiency and equity as ethical axioms. These axioms correspond to the Suppes–Sen grading principle. In technologies that are productive in a certain sense, the set of Suppes–Sen maximal utility paths is shown to equal the set of non-decreasing and efficient paths. Since any such path is sustainable, efficiency and equity can thus be used to deem any unsustainable path as ethically unacceptable. This finding is contrasted with results that (...) seem to indicate that an infinite number of generations cannot be treated equally. (shrink)