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Faustian Bargain

  • By: Sarah Boslaugh
  • In: Green Technology: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Dustin Mulvaney
  • Subject:Environmental Sciences (general), Environmental Technology, Policy & Management

The term Faustian bargain refers to making a pact with either the devil or some other evil entity. The Faust referenced in the term is a character in German legend and literature who trades his soul for otherwise unattainable knowledge and magical powers that will give him access to all the world's pleasures—by extension, the term refers to making an agreement that delivers something highly valued today but with the expected loss in the future of something that is also highly valued. It also may carry the implication of doing business with an unsavory individual or entity (a metaphorical devil) in order to get something that you want. The phrase Faustian bargain was coined by Dr. Alvin Weinberg, director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory ...

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