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					   Ethics, Economic Systems & the
             Environment




15 Jan. 2009   Economic.ppt         1
                         Ethics
• Branch of philosophy;
    – study of good and bad, right and wrong;
    – principles by which a person or society judges
      right and wrong;
    – elucidates criteria, standards, or rules for judging
      right and wrong.




15 Jan. 2009              Economic.ppt                       2
                         Economics
• Study of how people divide or allocate
  valuable goods and services
    – Use of resources
    – Manufacture ―goods‖
    – Exchange of resources, goods, & services
         • Setting of ―value‖ in markets




15 Jan. 2009                 Economic.ppt        3
                     Ethics & Economics
• Questions of value
    – What is valuable?
         • Money, my car, my house, my computer, my clothes, my cell
           phone? My boat! ?
         • Family, friends, neighborhood?
         • Birds, mammals, insects, flowers, trees, fish?
         • Water, air, soil, ecosystem functions, ecosystem services?
    – What is right?
         •   Keeping my stuff?
         •   Treating other people fairly?
         •   Preserving living things?
         •   Preserving clean water, air, soil, etc?
15 Jan. 2009                        Economic.ppt                        4
                            Worldviews
• Anthropocentric
         •   Values money, car, house, computer, clothes, cell phone;
         •   Family, friends, neighborhood;
         •   Treating other people fairly;
         •   Denies or ignores ―rights‖ of non-human entities.

• Biocentric
         • Values birds, mammals, insects, flowers, trees, fish;
         • Living things have a right to be

• Ecocentric
         • Values clean water, air, soil, ecosystem functions and services;
         • Ecosystems must be left alone.

15 Jan. 2009                       Economic.ppt                               5
               Worldviews




15 Jan. 2009     Economic.ppt   6
      Environmental Ethics & Ethicists
• Henry David Thoreau, R.W. Emerson
    – Nature as manifestation of divine
• John Muir
    – Preservation ethic; natural environment should be kept in
      pristine condition
• Gifford Pinchot
    – Conservation ethic; use natural resources wisely,
      sustainably.
• Aldo Leopold
    – Land ethic; humans part of land-community
15 Jan. 2009                Economic.ppt                          7
                       Economics
  • Economy: system of production,
    distribution, consumption of goods and
    services.
  • Kinds of economies
       –   Subsistence economy
       –   Centrally planned economy
       –   Capitalist market economy
       –   Mixed economy

15 Jan. 2009              Economic.ppt       8
      Three ―schools‖ of economics
• Classical economics
    – Resources (soil, minerals, water, food, etc.)
      limited, valuable.
• Neoclassical economics
    – Labor, human resources have value.
• Ecological economics
    – Ecosystem services have value.


15 Jan. 2009             Economic.ppt                 9
                       Economics
  • Kinds of economies
       –   Subsistence economy
       –   Centrally planned economy
       –   Capitalist market economy
       –   Mixed economy




15 Jan. 2009              Economic.ppt   10
                  Economic Decisions:

    – Who makes economic decisions??
         •   What to produce? & How much?
         •   How to produce them?
         •   How to distribute?
         •   How to set a price?
         •   Which goods & services to consume (purchase and
             use)?



15 Jan. 2009                  Economic.ppt                     11
                   Economic Decisions:
   • Who makes economic decisions??
       – Individuals in the marketplace
               • = Pure Capitalism, Free-market system




15 Jan. 2009                    Economic.ppt             12
                    Pure Capitalism
 • Adam Smith, 1776,
 • Inquiry into the Nature
   and Causes of the
   Wealth of Nations.
      – ―invisible hand,‖
      – laissez faire.




15 Jan. 2009                Economic.ppt   13
                    Pure Capitalism
   • Works in small economies where information
     freely available.
        – No seller or buyer can control or manipulate.
        – In large economies, not everyone has information.
           • Possible to cheat,
           • manipulate supply or demand,
           • degrade resources,
           • pollute.



15 Jan. 2009                Economic.ppt                      14
                   Economic Decisions:
   • Who makes economic decisions??
       – Government
               • = pure command economic system,
               • centrally planned economy.
       – Former USSR,
       – China 1947-present.
       – Germany under Nazi Party (1933—1945)



15 Jan. 2009                  Economic.ppt         15
               Pure Command System
   • Does pure command ever work??
        – too many tractors,
        – not enough toilet paper!!
        – Laborers work for State, not for themselves;
               • Lowers motivation
               • Reduces innovation
               • Leaders care little for welfare of people.



15 Jan. 2009                     Economic.ppt                 16
                    Economic Decisions:
   • Who makes economic decisions??
       – Corporations
               • = Corporate capitalist economic system.
               • Real system in USA?




15 Jan. 2009                    Economic.ppt               17
           Corporate Capitalist System
   • Corporations attempt to control markets
     (―market share‖)
       – Maximize profits for shareholders !!
       – Produce at low cost.
               • cheap foreign labor
               • resist labor unions

       – Sell at high price (what the market will bear).
       – Withhold/conceal information.
       – Degrade resources, pollute
               • avoid costs of conservation, clean-up

15 Jan. 2009                           Economic.ppt        18
                         Mixed economy
  • Corporations & small businesses regulated
    by government
       – Prevent monopolies (anti-trust laws)
       – Modify economic (boom-and-bust) cycles
           • ―Bailout‖
       – Regulate business practices
          • Worker safety, product safety & effectiveness
          • Pollution may be regulated



15 Jan. 2009                 Economic.ppt                   19
                      Mixed economy
  • Corporations & small businesses regulated
    by government
       – Provide services not available, or affordable, in market
           • National security
           • Education
           • Health care (esp. for poor, elderly)
           • Economic ―safety net‖
               – Social Security, unemployment insurance
           • Law enforcement



15 Jan. 2009                   Economic.ppt                         20

				
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