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Lecture

Ethics, Economic, and Free-Market Environmentalism
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Department
Philosophy
Course
PHIL 2380
Professor
Deirdre Kelly
Semester
Winter

Description
PHIL 2380 Mar 11 2014 Ethics and Economics ­“You see that tree over there? It doesn't have any value until it’s cut down. Unless, of  course, you tree huggers decide to pay for it so that you can enjoy it. Think your cronies  can raise enough to save the entire forest?” ­ Story told by David Suzuki ­Nature’s Value ­The tree only has instrumental value; its value is derived from the money it can  bring in ­Inherent in the CEO’s statement is an acceptance of anthropocentrism ­Allows no room for environmental ethics ­Market Economy ­For a market economy to work we need to know who owns what and how ­Legal systems that enforce market economy can be either ethical or unethical ­Different ethical systems will lead to different conclusions about which economy  is best ­Contractarian Justification ­Ethical egoists are continually dealing in prisoner’s Dilemma 1. Keeping contracts with each other (contractarianism) 2. Stealing each other’s property 3. Injuring each other’s property ­Rational to accept a free­market system enforced by state coercion ­Hobbes’ war of all against all ­Locke’s Leviathan ­Appeal: Self­interest ­Drawback: No application for extension including environmental concerns ­Libertarian Justification ­Each person has a natural right or self­ownership based o\in their autonomy over  their own choices ­Have an initial right to own their property to that which she has acquired through  initial acquisition ­Appeal: Rights not to be harmed by others’ pollution ­Drawback: Future generation, accumulated harms ­Indirect Utilitarian Justification ­Highest maximum aggregate preference satisfaction for everyone if we all pursue  our own self­interests (Adam Smith, 1776) ­Indirect­  ­Ethical egoism, not utilitarian, standard of rightness for a set of ethical  rules ­Market must not be monopolized, people well informed, no market failures ­Marginal benefit, marginal cost, Pareto efficient (net utility) ­In your self­interest to get what you want, market is happy ­External cost­ pollution (We don’t always pay full price for enviro stuff) ­Distributive Justice ­The former theories discussed are not concerned with just or fair distribution: the  rich get richer ­Centrally planned economy ­Appeal: It’s fair ­Drawbacks: Less incentive, fewer goods in the pool ­Rawlsian distributive justice: Maximin principle ­It’s okay to have unfair distributions as long as the people worse­off are  benefitting ­It’s fine if someone is making $1 million per year as long as the  poor are benefitting more ­Th
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