Ethics and economics

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6 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 7 μήνες)

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1
Ethics and economics
• Both disci
p
lines deal with
p
what we value
• Our values affect our
environmental decisions
d i
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an
d
act
i
ons
Ethics
• Ethics = the study of good and bad, right and wrong
- Relativists = ethics varies with social context
U i li t
i ht d i th
-
U
n
i
versa
li
s
t
s = r
i
g
ht
an
d
wrong rema
i
ns
th
e same
across cultures and situations
• Ethical standards = criteria that help differentiate right
from wrong
-
Classical standard
=
virtue
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Classical

standard

virtue
- The golden rule
- Utility = something right produces the most benefits
for the most people
2
Environmental ethics
• Environmental ethics = application of ethical standards
to relationships between human and non-human entities
- Hard to resolve
;
de
p
ends on the
p
erson’s ethical
;p p
standards
- Depends on the person’s domain of ethical concern
Should we conserve
resources for future
generations?
Is is OK to destroy a
forest to create jobs
for people?
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generations?
Is it OK for some
communities to be exposed
to excess pollution?
Should humans drive
other species to
extinction?
for

people?
We have expanded our ethical consideration
• To include animals, communities, nature
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3
Expanding ethical concern
• Why have we expanded our ethical concerns?
- Economic prosperity: more leisure time, less anxieties
Science:interconnection of all organisms
-
Science:

interconnection

of

all

organisms
• Non-western cultures often have broader ethical domains
• Three perspectives in Western ethics
- Anthropocentrism = only humans have rights
-
Biocentrism
=
certain living things also have value
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Biocentrism

certain

living

things

also

have

value
-Ecocentrism= whole ecological systems have value
- Holistic perspective, stresses preserving
connections
Western ethical expansion
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4
The preservation ethic
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• Unspoiled nature should be protected for its own inherent value
• John Muir (right, with President Roosevelt at Yosemite National
Park) had an ecocentric viewpoint
The conservation ethic
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• Use natural resources wisely for the greatest good for the most
people
• Gifford Pinchot had an anthropocentric viewpoint
5
The land ethic
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• Healthy ecological systems depend on protecting all parts
• Aldo Leopold believed the land ethic changes the role of people
from conquerors of the land to citizens of it
Environmental justice (EJ)
• Environmental justice = the fair and equitable treatment
of all people regarding environmental issues
• The poor and minorities are exposed to more pollution,
hazards, and environmental degradation
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75% of toxic waste landfills in the southeastern U.S. are in
communities with higher racial minorities
6
Environmental justice and Native Americans
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From 1948 to the 1960s, Navajo miners were not warned
of radiation risks, nor provided protection by the industry
or the U.S. government
Economics
• Friction occurs between people’s ethical and economic
impulses
• Is there a trade-off between economics and the
environment?
• Generally, environmental protection is good for the
economy
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• Economics studies how people use resources to provide
goods and services in the face of demand
• Most environmental and economic problems are linked
7
Types of modern economies
• Economy = a social system that converts resources into
• Goods: manufactured materials that are bought, and
• Services: work done for others as a form of business
• Subsistence economy = people get their daily needs
directly from nature; they do not purchase or trade
• Capitalist market economy = buyers and sellers interact
to determine
p
rices and
p
roduction of
g
oods and services
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p p g
• Centrally planned economy = the government
determines how to allocate resources
• Mixed economy = governments intervene to some extent
Government intervenes in a market economy
• Even in capitalist market economies, governments
intervene to:
• Eliminate unfair advantages
• Provide social services
• Provide safety nets
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• Manage the commons
• Mitigate pollution
8
Conventional view of economics
• Conventional
economics focuses on
production and
production

and

consumption
• Ignores the
environment
• The environment is
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an external “factor
of production”
Environmental view of economics
• Human economies
exist within, and
depend on, the
environment
• Without natural
resources, there
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would be no
economies
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Environmental systems support economies
• Ecosystem services = essential services support the life
that makes economic activities
p
ossible
p
*
Soil formation
*
Pollination
*
Water purification
*
Nutrient cycling
*
Climate regulation
*
Waste treatment
• Economic activities affect the environment
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• Deplete natural resources
• Produce too much pollution
• “More and bigger is better”
Is the growth paradigm good for us?
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• The dramatic rise in per-person consumption has severe
environmental consequences
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Is economic growth sustainable?
• Affluenza = material goods do not always bring
contentment
• Uncontrolled economic growth is unsustainable
- Technology can push back limits, but not forever
- More efficient resource extraction and food
production perpetuates the illusion that resources
li it d
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are un
li
m
it
e
d
• Many economists believe technology can solve
everything
A steady state economy
• As resources became harder to find, economic growth
slows and stabilizes (John Stuart Mill, 1806-1873)

We must rethink our assumptions and change our
We

must

rethink

our

assumptions

and

change

our

way of economic transactions
• This does not mean a lower quality of life
• Economies are measured in various ways
• Gross Domestic Product (GDP) = total monetary
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value of final goods and services produced
• Does not account for nonmarket values
• Pollution increases GDP
11
GPI: An alternative to the GDP
• Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) = differentiates between
desirable and undesirable economic activity
- Positive contributions (i.e. volunteer work) not paid for with
money are added to economic activity
money

are

added

to

economic

activity
- Negative impacts (crime, pollution) are subtracted
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In the U.S., GDP has risen greatly, but not GPI
Valuing ecosystems goods and services
• Our society mistreats the very systems that sustain it
- The market ignores/undervalues ecosystem values

Nonmarket values
=
values not included in the price of a
Nonmarket

values

values

not

included

in

the

price

of

a

good or service
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12
QUESTION: Review
An ecocentric worldview would consider the impact of
an action on… ?
a) Humans only
a)

Humans

only
b) Animals only
c) Plants only
d) All living things
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e) All nonliving things
QUESTION: Review
Which ethic holds that healthy ecosystems depend on the
protection of all their parts?
a) Preservation ethic
b) Land ethic
c) Conservation ethic
d) Deep ecology
e) Biocentrism
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13
QUESTION: Review
Which of the following is an ecosystem service?
a) Water purification in wetlands
b)
Climate regulation in the atmosphere
b)
Climate

regulation

in

the

atmosphere
c) Nutrient cycling in ecosystems
d) Waste treatment by bacteria
e) All of the above
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QUESTION: Review
Which is NOT an assumption of neoclassical economics
that can lead to environmental degradation?
a
)
Resources are limite
d
)
b) Long-term effects are downplayed
c) All costs and benefits are experienced by the buyer
and seller alone
d)
Growth is
good
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d)
Growth

is
good
14
QUESTION: Review
Which of the following statements would be spoken by an
ecological economist?
a
)
The current economic s
y
stem is workin
g
fine
)
y g
b) The current economic system simply needs to be
fine-tuned
c) The current economic system is broken and a new
one needs to be developed
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d) Economic systems never work
QUESTION: Interpreting Graphs and Data
Market equilibrium, which sets the price of a product, is
reached …
a) When supply exceeds
demand
demand
b) When demand exceeds
supply
c) By demand when
quantity is low, and
supply when quantity is
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supply

when

quantity

is

high
d) When supply equals
demand
15
QUESTION: Interpreting Graphs and Data
Which conclusion can you draw from this graph?
a) GDP has not really
increased since 1950
increased

since

1950
b) Although we are
spending more money,
our lives are not much
better
c
)
We are s
p
endin
g
less
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) p g
money, and our lives
are much better
d) The GPI is not as
accurate as GDP
QUESTION: Viewpoints
Think of an issue in your community that could pit
environmentalists against economic development. What
do you think should prevail: environmental protection or
i d l t?
econom
i
c
d
eve
l
opmen
t?
a) Economic growth; we need the jobs
b) Environmental protection; we need the
environment
c)
Both;a compromise must be reached
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c)
Both;

a

compromise

must

be

reached
d) Whatever costs the taxpayers the least
16
QUESTION: Viewpoints
What entities do you include in your domain of ethical
concern?
a) Humans only
b) Humans and pets
c) Humans, pets, and other animals
d) Humans, pets, other animals, and nature
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