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Ethics of Economics and Environmental Protection Essay (Critical Writing)


In the introductory materials, Rodney Peffer (n. d. c) identifies and describes the main types of political and socio-economic systems. For instance, it is possible to mention anarchism, capitalist economy, market socialism, and command socialism. The advocates of these approaches disagree on the role that the state should play. For instance, libertarians believe that the main task of the government is the protection of people’s liberty, life, and property. In contrast, welfare-state liberals believe that the state should also take part in the re-distribution of wealth.

In this article, Markets, the Profit Motive and the Environment, Rodney Peffer (n. d. a) identifies conflicting viewpoints on the impact of the market economy on the environment. For example, the advocates of this socio-economic approach may argue that market economies strive to adopt the most effective technologies; therefore, they can make a better use of natural resources. Nevertheless, the opponents of this socio-economic system may say that the adoption of new technologies can be possible only if they bring considerable return on investment (Peffer, n. d. a).

Additionally, Rodney Peffer examines various views on such concepts as market, market socialism and property. At first, the scholar examines the notion of property rights that take their origins in Lockean philosophy. Moreover, the author discusses the notion of regulated and laisser-faire market (Peffer, n. d. b). Furthermore, this reading depicts the way in which enterprises can be owned and managed.

Moreover, Rodney Peffer (n. d. d) examines the private and public ownership of different elements of the economy. For instance, various forms of infrastructure such as bridges, parks, and electricity systems are usually under the public ownership. Nevertheless, there are many parts of the economy that are owned by separate individuals (Peffer, n. d. d). It should be mentioned that the supporters of different socio-economic systems may not have the same views on the advantages and disadvantages of public and private property. For instance, the advocates of the socialist approach argue that every part of economy should be controlled by the state. In turn, the supporters of laisser-faire capitalism believe that private property should dominate the economy.

The notion of private and private ownership is discussed by such an organization as New Rules Project (2010). This organization examines the activities of the American football team which is known as Green Bay Packers (New Rules Project, 2010). This team is owned by its fans who live in the same town. This reading demonstrates the advantages and disadvantages of community ownership. Some of the difficulties are related to renting the stadium. Nevertheless, this team can rely on the support of many investors who are more willing to make donations (New Rules Project, 2010). These are the main benefits and drawbacks that should be considered.

The relationship between ethics and economics is discussed by Donald Van De Veer (2002). In particular, this author examines various aspects of modern capitalism. In particular, the author strives to determine whether the market economy includes the necessary mechanisms for the protection of the environment. The author focuses on such a concept as negative externalities or the adverse effects of people’s activities on other stakeholders (Van De Veer, 2002). This argument is particularly relevant if one speaks about environmental pollution. The examples provided by the scholar indicate the state should act as an arbiter that can resolve the conflicts between different stakeholders, especially if there are negative externalities.

It is also possible to consider the ideas expressed by Mark Sagoff. This scholar examines the relationship between economics and environmental protection. One of his main points is that environment should be viewed as the value which is critical for the sustainability of many communities (Sagoff as cited in Van De Veer, 2002). By looking at this issue from this perspective, one can develop better policies for protecting the environment.

Additionally, Van De Veer (2002) examines the use of such a method as cost-benefit analysis. The discussion provided by the author demonstrates that this method is based on the utilitarian principles. For instance, one can mention the need to maximize the benefits that can be derived by the community. The author shows that sometimes it is difficult to apply this principle to environmental ethics. The main problem is that the impact of people’s decisions and actions on nature cannot be easily determined. Therefore, cost-benefit analysis may not be the best decision-making tool.

This author also provides a narrative illustrating the pitfalls of applying cost-benefit analysis (Van De Veer, 2002). In particular, Van De Veer shows that many analysts are not willing to recognize the limitations of this method because in this way, they can downplay their own skills and professional skills. This is one of the points that should be taken into account.

Moreover, Van De Veer (2002) examines the questions which are related to the definition of property. In particular, the author pays attention to the conditions when it is ethically permissible to own something. Moreover, this scholar tries to determine whether animals can be viewed and treated as property. This question is of great interest to many researchers. The author shows that anthropocentric approach to environmental ethics can lead to significant problems. Furthermore, the scholar focuses on such a question as the privatization of natural resources. These are some of the issues that can be singled out.

It is also possible to consider the article written by Ching Sheng (n. d.) who examines the ideas expressed by Sun Yat-Sen. In particular, it is necessary to discuss the principle of livelihood. Sun Yat-Sen’s lays stress on the need for socialist political system. Moreover, Yat-Sen introduces the notion of welfare state that bears more responsibility for its citizens (Sheng, n. d.). On the whole, this article demonstrate how Sun Yat-Sen recognized the principles of Marxism with the ethical theory imbedded in Chinese culture, in particular, one should speak about Confucianism.

One should also focus on the article written by Paul Krugman (2010) who discusses some of the main misconceptions that economists could have. In particular, many of them believed that laisser-faire capitalism had been a nearly perfect system. In particular, they assumed that the market economy could eliminate the risks of crises. Nevertheless, the economic recession that broke out in 2007 refuted their assumptions. His argument implies that researchers should not assume that economic agents are always rational because this viewpoint can lead to the development of faulty policies.

It is also important to focus on the ideas expressed by the supporters of the movement known as Globalize This! On the whole, they believe that non-governmental organizations should work together in order to respond to the globalization of financial and state institutions (Global Exchange, 1999). For instance, trade unions of different countries should join their efforts in order to protect the rights and interests of employees. Apart from that, the representatives of this movement lay stress on the idea that people should cooperate to protect the environment.

Reference List

Global Exchange. (1999). Globalize This!. Web.

Krugman, P. (2009). How Did Economists Get It So Wrong? The New York Times, p. 36.

New Rules Project. (2010). Institute of Local Self-Reliance. Web.

Peffer, R. (n. d. a) Markets, The Profit Motive, and the Environment. Web.

Peffer, R. (n. d. b). Notes on Readings on Markets, Property, & Market Socialism. Web.

Peffer, R. (n. d. c). Peffer’s Introductory Materials for Environmental Ethics. Web.

Peffer, R. (n. d. d). Public vs. Private Ownership of Various Parts of an Economy. Web.

Sheng, C. (n. d.). Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Principle of Livelihood. Web.

Van De Veer, D. (2002). The Environmental Ethics and Policy Book: Philosophy, Ecology, Economics. New York, NY: Wadsworth Inc.

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