mfioretti: ethics*

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  1. Ask Järvinen what difference money for nothing has made to his life, and you are marched over to his workshop. Inside is film-making equipment, a blackboard on which is scrawled plans for an artists’ version of Airbnb, and an entire little room where he makes shaman drums that sell for up to €900. All this while helping to bring up six children. All those free euros have driven him to work harder than ever.

    None of this would have been possible before he received UBI. Until this year, Järvinen was on dole money; the Finnish equivalent of the jobcentre was always on his case about job applications and training. Ideas flow out of Järvinen as easily as water from a tap, yet he could exercise none of his initiative for fear of arousing bureaucratic scrutiny.

    In one talked-about case last year, an unemployed Finn called Christian was caught carving and selling wooden guitar plectrums. It was more pastime than business, earning him a little more than €2,000 in a year. But the sum was not what angered the authorities, it was the thought that each plectrum had taken up time that could have been spent on official hoop-jumping.
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    ‘For Iain Duncan Smith, poverty was the rotten fruit of broken families, addiction or debt.’ Photograph: Bloomberg/via Getty Images

    That was Järvinen, too, until this year. Just as with so many Britons on social security, he was trapped in a “humiliating” system that gave him barely enough to feed himself, while refusing him even a glimmer of a hope of fulfilment.

    So what accounted for his change? Certainly not the UBI money. In Finland, €560 is less than a fifth of average private-sector income. “You have to be a magician to survive on such money,” Järvinen says. Over and over, he baldly describes himself as “poor”.

    His liberation came in the lack of conditions attached to the money.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentis...oct/31/finland-universal-basic-income
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  2. there has recently been a set of voices on the left calling this idea out as too good to be true. To this side of the argument, basic income is being advanced as a Trojan Horse by governments attempting to maintain and deepen a neoliberal policy project while putting a new coat of paint on it to placate an increasingly restive public. They warn that a basic income will be used as cover for continuing cuts in health and educational services, along with privatization of other social programs, and state that leftists who advance even cautious cases for basic income are being played for suckers. While such arguments are not without merit in certain respects, they nevertheless fail to recognize both the traditions of social citizenship on the left that a basic income, at least in its leftist variation, speaks to, and the necessity for positive, emancipatory policy visions.

    Furthermore, these critiques also have the unwitting effect of continuing to unduly valourize “work” performed under capitalist conditions in a way that testifies to the deep penetration of certain harmful ideas about the sources of human dignity and worth into our collective social psyche.

    In all, such a notion of “work” appears to be deeply tied to an uncritical, productivist form of Marxist thinking which may have had relevance in another political context but appears hopelessly dated in the current reality. This is all to say nothing of the fact that there are many people who have disabilities which prevent them from “working” in the conventional sense of the term, either temporarily or permanently, who are entirely written out of this analysis and would likely stand to benefit most from a basic income. Even the removal of the often intrusive, deliberately demeaning and manipulative aspects of the current social assistance regime would be deeply beneficial here, absent higher benefit levels. Similar remarks could be made as to the way in which basic income would act to, at least in part, recognize unpaid care work, usually done by women, which is often not considered as “work” under the status quo.
    https://blog.p2pfoundation.net/workin...er-meaningful-alternatives/2017/06/12
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  3. Most Wednesday afternoons, Feng Zhang, a molecular biologist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, scans the contents of Science as soon as they are posted online. In 2012, he was working with Crispr-Cas9 too. So when he saw Doudna and Charpentier's paper, did he think he'd been scooped? Not at all. “I didn't feel anything,” Zhang says. “Our goal was to do genome editing, and this paper didn't do it.” Doudna's team had cut DNA floating in a test tube, but to Zhang, if you weren't working with human cells, you were just screwing around.

    That kind of seriousness is typical for Zhang. At 11, he moved from China to Des Moines, Iowa, with his parents, who are engineers—one computer, one electrical. When he was 16, he got an internship at the gene therapy research institute at Iowa Methodist hospital. By the time he graduated high school he'd won multiple science awards, including third place in the Intel Science Talent Search.

    When Doudna talks about her career, she dwells on her mentors; Zhang lists his personal accomplishments, starting with those high school prizes. Doudna seems intuitive and has a hands-off management style. Zhang … pushes. We scheduled a video chat at 9:15 pm, and he warned me that we'd be talking data for a couple of hours. “Power-nap first,” he said.

    If new genes that wipe out malaria also make mosquitoes go extinct, what will bats eat?

    Zhang got his job at the Broad in 2011, when he was 29. Soon after starting there, he heard a speaker at a scientific advisory board meeting mention Crispr. “I was bored,” Zhang says, “so as the researcher spoke, I just Googled it.” Then he went to Miami for an epigenetics conference, but he hardly left his hotel room. Instead Zhang spent his time reading papers on Crispr and filling his notebook with sketches on ways to get Crispr and Cas9 into the human genome. “That was an extremely exciting weekend,” he says, smiling.

    Just before Doudna's team published its discovery in Science, Zhang applied for a federal grant to study Crispr-Cas9 as a tool for genome editing. Doudna's publication shifted him into hyperspeed. He knew it would prompt others to test Crispr on genomes. And Zhang wanted to be first.

    Even Doudna, for all of her equanimity, had rushed to report her finding, though she hadn't shown the system working in human cells. “Frankly, when you have a result that is exciting,” she says, “one does not wait to publish it.”

    In January 2013, Zhang's team published a paper in Science showing how Crispr-Cas9 edits genes in human and mouse cells. In the same issue, Harvard geneticist George Church edited human cells with Crispr too. Doudna's team reported success in human cells that month as well, though Zhang is quick to assert that his approach cuts and repairs DNA better.

    That detail matters because Zhang had asked the Broad Institute and MIT, where he holds a joint appointment, to file for a patent on his behalf. Doudna had filed her patent application—which was public information—seven months earlier. But the attorney filing for Zhang checked a box on the application marked “accelerate” and paid a fee, usually somewhere between $2,000 and $4,000. A series of emails followed between agents at the US Patent and Trademark Office and the Broad's patent attorneys, who argued that their claim was distinct.

    A little more than a year after those human-cell papers came out, Doudna was on her way to work when she got an email telling her that Zhang, the Broad Institute, and MIT had indeed been awarded the patent on Crispr-Cas9 as a method to edit genomes. “I was quite surprised,” she says, “because we had filed our paperwork several months before he had.”

    The Broad win started a firefight. The University of California amended Doudna's original claim to overlap Zhang's and sent the patent office a 114-page application for an interference proceeding—a hearing to determine who owns Crispr—this past April. In Europe, several parties are contesting Zhang's patent on the grounds that it lacks novelty. Zhang points to his grant application as proof that he independently came across the idea. He says he could have done what Doudna's team did in 2012, but he wanted to prove that Crispr worked within human cells. The USPTO may make its decision as soon as the end of the year.
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    The stakes here are high. Any company that wants to work with anything other than microbes will have to license Zhang's patent; royalties could be worth billions of dollars, and the resulting products could be worth billions more. Just by way of example: In 1983 Columbia University scientists patented a method for introducing foreign DNA into cells, called cotransformation. By the time the patents expired in 2000, they had brought in $790 million in revenue.

    It's a testament to Crispr's value that despite the uncertainty over ownership, companies based on the technique keep launching. I
    https://www.wired.com/2015/07/crispr-dna-editing-2
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  4. Facebook’s reach into our society is unique in scale: 1.86 billion monthly active users (December, 2016), and with its subsidiaries Instagram and WhatsApp it accounts for 77 percent of mobile social traffic. As a result Facebook has come to be regarded as a public utility – this is not the case however. In learning and teaching contexts in particular, whether it is used officially or otherwise, Facebook’s business model raises a number of important questions.

    The formal definition of ethics will typically relate to a moral sense of good and bad as practiced by a person, or a group of people. However, real world scenarios are rarely simple and we frequently encounter instances involving competing principles or values that are difficult to clearly label as good or bad, right or wrong. For the purposes of this site, values refers to a set of standards that are felt to be important. Therefore the ethical question here is really about how we assess, and express these values.

    This site is intended as an accessible and easy to understand guide enabling visitors to draw their own conclusions about the appropriateness of Facebook in education; primarily focused on higher education contexts. References to professional literature are included for those who wish to investigate further. Similarly, all online resources are linked directly. Readers may also find the Resources page of interest.

    The following sections frame the subject under three main headings: Privacy (relating to personal privacy), Support (considering a holistic approach to student support), and Data (concerning the data profiling practices at Facebook).
    https://faceupto.org
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2017-04-27)
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  5. Already a fourth of the adults actually employed in the US are paid wages lower than would lift them above the official poverty line – and so a fifth of American children live in poverty. Almost half of employed adults in this country are eligible for food stamps (most of those who are eligible don’t apply). The market in labour has broken down, along with most others.

    Those jobs that disappeared in the Great Recession just aren’t coming back, regardless of what the unemployment rate tells you – the net gain in jobs since 2000 still stands at zero – and if they do return from the dead, they’ll be zombies, those contingent, part-time or minimum-wage jobs where the bosses shuffle your shift from week to week: welcome to Wal-Mart, where food stamps are a benefit.

    And don’t tell me that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour solves the problem. No one can doubt the moral significance of the movement. But at this rate of pay, you pass the official poverty line only after working 29 hours a week. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25. Working a 40-hour week, you would have to make $10 an hour to reach the official poverty line. What, exactly, is the point of earning a paycheck that isn’t a living wage, except to prove that you have a work ethic?

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    But, wait, isn’t our present dilemma just a passing phase of the business cycle? What about the job market of the future? Haven’t the doomsayers, those damn Malthusians, always been proved wrong by rising productivity, new fields of enterprise, new economic opportunities? Well, yeah – until now, these times. The measurable trends of the past half-century, and the plausible projections for the next half-century, are just too empirically grounded to dismiss as dismal science or ideological hokum. They look like the data on climate change – you can deny them if you like, but you’ll sound like a moron when you do.

    For example, the Oxford economists who study employment trends tell us that almost half of existing jobs, including those involving ‘non-routine cognitive tasks’ – you know, like thinking – are at risk of death by computerisation within 20 years.

    So this Great Recession of ours – don’t kid yourself, it ain’t over – is a moral crisis as well as an economic catastrophe. You might even say it’s a spiritual impasse, because it makes us ask what social scaffolding other than work will permit the construction of character – or whether character itself is something we must aspire to. But that is why it’s also an intellectual opportunity: it forces us to imagine a world in which the job no longer builds our character, determines our incomes or dominates our daily lives.

    What would you do if you didn’t have to work to receive an income?

    In short, it lets us say: enough already. Fuck work.

    Certainly this crisis makes us ask: what comes after work? What would you do without your job as the external discipline that organises your waking life – as the social imperative that gets you up and on your way to the factory, the office, the store, the warehouse, the restaurant, wherever you work and, no matter how much you hate it, keeps you coming back? What would you do if you didn’t have to work to receive an income?

    And what would society and civilisation be like if we didn’t have to ‘earn’ a living – if leisure was not our choice but our lot? Would we hang out at the local Starbucks, laptops open? Or volunteer to teach children in less-developed places, such as Mississippi? Or smoke weed and watch reality TV all day?

    I’m not proposing a fancy thought experiment here. By now these are practical questions because there aren’t enough jobs. So it’s time we asked even more practical questions. How do you make a living without a job – can you receive income without working for it? Is it possible, to begin with and then, the hard part, is it ethical? If you were raised to believe that work is the index of your value to society – as most of us were – would it feel like cheating to get something for nothing?

    We already have some provisional answers because we’re all on the dole, more or less. The fastest growing component of household income since 1959 has been ‘transfer payments’ from government. By the turn of the 21st century, 20 per cent of all household income came from this source – from what is otherwise known as welfare or ‘entitlements’.

    you will say – along with every economist from Dean Baker to Greg Mankiw, Left to Right – that raising taxes on corporate income is a disincentive to investment and thus job creation. Or that it will drive corporations overseas, where taxes are lower.

    But in fact raising taxes on corporate income can’t have these effects.

    Let’s work backward. Corporations have been ‘multinational’ for quite some time. In the 1970s and ’80s, before Ronald Reagan’s signature tax cuts took effect, approximately 60 per cent of manufactured imported goods were produced offshore, overseas, by US companies. That percentage has risen since then, but not by much.

    Chinese workers aren’t the problem – the homeless, aimless idiocy of corporate accounting is. That is why the Citizens United decision of 2010 applying freedom of speech regulations to campaign spending is hilarious. Money isn’t speech, any more than noise is. The Supreme Court has conjured a living being, a new person, from the remains of the common law, creating a real world more frightening than its cinematic equivalent: say, Frankenstein, Blade Runner or, more recently, Transformers.

    But the bottom line is this. Most jobs aren’t created by private, corporate investment, so raising taxes on corporate income won’t affect employment.

    When we place our faith in hard work, we’re wishing for the creation of character; but we’re also hoping, or expecting, that the labour market will allocate incomes fairly and rationally. And there’s the rub, they do go together. Character can be created on the job only when we can see that there’s an intelligible, justifiable relation between past effort, learned skills and present reward.

    Securing ‘full employment’ has become a bipartisan goal at the very moment it has become both impossible and unnecessary. Sort of like securing slavery in the 1850s or segregation in the 1950s.

    Why?

    Because work means everything to us inhabitants of modern market societies – regardless of whether it still produces solid character and allocates incomes rationally, and quite apart from the need to make a living. It’s been the medium of most of our thinking about the good life since Plato correlated craftsmanship and the possibility of ideas as such. It’s been our way of defying death, by making and repairing the durable things, the significant things we know will last beyond our allotted time on earth because they teach us, as we make or repair them, that the world beyond us – the world before and after us – has its own reality principles.

    Think about the scope of this idea. Work has been a way of demonstrating differences between males and females, for example by merging the meanings of fatherhood and ‘breadwinner’, and then, more recently, prying them apart. Since the 17th century, masculinity and femininity have been defined – not necessarily achieved – by their places in a moral economy, as working men who got paid wages for their production of value on the job, or as working women who got paid nothing for their production and maintenance of families. Of course, these definitions are now changing, as the meaning of ‘family’ changes, along with profound and parallel changes in the labour market – the entry of women is just one of those – and in attitudes toward sexuality.

    When work disappears, the genders produced by the labour market are blurred. When socially necessary labour declines, what we once called women’s work – education, healthcare, service – becomes our basic industry, not a ‘tertiary’ dimension of the measurable economy. The labour of love, caring for one another and learning how to be our brother’s keeper – socially beneficial labour – becomes not merely possible but eminently necessary, and not just within families, where affection is routinely available. No, I mean out there, in the wide, wide world.
    https://aeon.co/essays/what-if-jobs-are-not-the-solution-but-the-problem
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  6. At this point to have everyone from the Episcopal Church to Stanford to the biggest insurance carrier in France to the biggest pool of investment capital on earth (Norway's sovereign wealth fund) taking steps along this path is almost unbelievable. Almost from the start, academics have called it the fastest growing such anti-corporate campaign in history, and it's clearly accelerating by the day.

    He may well be right.

    That’s because the goal of the divestment campaign is not, and has never been, to do financial harm to fossil fuel companies by causing investors to sell their shares. “Divestment isn’t primarily an economic strategy, but a moral and political one,” says 350.org on its Go Fossil Free website The divestment campaign aims, first, to build a bigger and stronger climate movement, and, second, to put the fossil fuel industry on the defensive by

    ‘Divestment is about targeting the fossil fuel industry, taking away its social license to operate,’ says one proponent.

    attacking its reputation and challenging the long-term viability of its business in a climate-constrained world.

    “Calling for divestment is about targeting the fossil fuel industry, taking away its social license to operate, like tobacco, like apartheid
    https://e360.yale.edu/feature/why_the...ment_movement_may_ultimately_win/2898
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2016-11-19)
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  7. C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and their colleagues in the Inklings wanted to write fiction that would effectively “evangelize the imagination,” accustoming the minds, especially of young people, to the hearing of the Christian Gospel. Accordingly, Tolkien’s Gandalf is a figure of Jesus the prophet and Lewis’s Aslan a representation of Christ as both sacrificial victim and victorious king. Happily, the film versions of both The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia have proven to be wildly popular all over the world. Not so happily, Joss Whedon’s “Avenger” films, the second of which has just appeared, work as a sort of antidote to Tolkien and Lewis, shaping the imaginations of young people so as to receive a distinctly different message. It is certainly relevant to my purpose here to note that Whedon, the auteur behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and many other well-received films and television programs, is a self-avowed atheist and has, on many occasions, signaled his particular dissatisfaction with the Catholic Church.

    I won’t rehearse in too much detail the plot of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Suffice it to say that the world is threatened by an artificial intelligence, by the name of Ultron, who has run amok and incarnated himself in a particularly nasty robotic body. Ultron wants to destroy the human race and has produced an army of robots as his posse. Enter the Avengers—Tony Stark (Iron Man), the Hulk, Black Widow, Captain America, Hawkeye, and Thor—to do battle with the dark forces. There is an awful lot of CGI bumping and banging and blowing things up, but when the rubble settles, we see that the real struggle is over a perfect body—a synthesis of machine and flesh—that Ultron, with the help of brainwashed scientists, is designing for himself. After pursuing the bad guys on a wild ride through the streets of Seoul, the Avengers recover the body, and Thor, using one of the fundamental building blocks of the universe or lightning or something, brings it to life. Exuding light, intelligence, and calmness of spirit, this newly created robot/human/god floats above the ground and announces that his name is “I am.” Just before his climactic battle with Ultron, “I am” declares that order and chaos are two sides of the same coin and that wickedness is never eliminated but keeps coming around in an endless cycle.

    Although some have seen Biblical themes at work in all of this, I see pretty much the opposite, namely, an affirmation of a Nietzschean view of life. Whedon, who was a philosophy student at university, delights in dropping references to the great thinkers in his work, and one of the most cited in “Ultron” is none other than the man I take to be the most influential of the 19th century philosophers, Friedrich Nietzsche. At a key moment in the film, Ultron in fact utters Nietzsche’s most famous one-liner: “what does not kill me makes me stronger,” and the observation made by the newly-created “I am” is a neat expression of Nietzsche’s doctrine of the eternal return of the same.

    If you have any doubts about the Nietzschean intention of Joss Whedon, take a good look at the image that plays as The Avengers comes to a close. It is a neo-classical sculpture of all of the major figures in the film locked in struggle, straining against one another. It is in complete conformity with the aesthetic favored by Albert Speer, Leni Riefenstahl, and the other artists of the Nazi period.

    What the Christian evangelist can seize upon in this film is the frank assertion that the will to power—even backed up by stunningly sophisticated technology—never finally solves our difficulties, that it, in point of fact, makes things worse. See the Tower of Babel narrative for the details. And this admission teases the mind to consider the possibility that the human predicament can be addressed finally only through the invasion of grace. Once that door is opened, the Gospel can be proclaimed.
    http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/the-...A+zenit%2Fenglish+%28ZENIT+English%29
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  8. The Pope plans on delivering an encyclical on climate change this summer, and it has American conservatives freaking out. The Heartland Institute, a leading anti-environmental "think tank," has even dispatched a crack team of deniers to Rome to dissuade His Holiness.

    Why the agita from the right? After all, similar statements of climate concern have been issued by virtually every major government, international development organization, and national science council in the world. It's not like the Pope is spilling the beans on a well-kept secret.

    But as Heartland clearly recognizes, the Pope's statement carries unique significance for the simple reason that he has unquestioned moral authority for millions of people. He threatens to situate the fight against climate change as a deeply moral issue, a matter of God's work on earth. Once it is so situated, it will slowly and inexorably drag culture and politics along in its wake.

    The right, which is entirely comfortable deploying moral arguments, understands this better than the mainstream, center-left environmental establishment. Large swaths of the center-left establishment (especially among the foundations that fund things) are besotted with dreams of technocracy and bipartisan civility — so much so that in 2009 Matt Yglesias pleaded with greens to "put the plodding moralism back in."

    Especially among young greens, that technocratic attitude is on the wane.

    Climate activists have woken to the need for intensity. Thus divestment, a direct and explicit effort to define the actions of fossil fuel companies as immoral — so immoral, in fact, that to invest in them is to take part in that immorality. What's revealing is not that divestment is drawing criticism from the right, which is predictable enough, but that it is causing discomfort and dissonance on the center left.

    It makes the center-left elite uncomfortable to think of climate change and fossil fuels this way. Have a look at this post from Harvard environmental policy professor Robert Stavins, supporting Faust's decision. He says:

    The problem ... is that climate change is fundamentally a scientific, economic, and political challenge. Viewing it as a moral crusade, I fear, will only play into and exacerbate the terrible political polarization that is already paralyzing Washington ...

    Put aside the head-smackingly naive notion that climate advocates can defuse polarization by retreating from moral language. What would it even mean for something to be a "scientific, economic, and political challenge" but not a moral issue? What science we heed, what kind of economy we want, what policies we pass — are these not moral decisions? The distinction makes no sense at all if read literally. It is best read, instead, as expressing a deeper instinct, the impulse among Very Serious People to stay inside the bounds of normal politics, to cling to rationalism in the face of passion and power.

    Technocracy hasn't worked on climate change

    The attempt to address climate change through normal politics has been going on for 30 years now. The issue was first brought to public consciousness by scientists, who assumed that the best way to address a threat like this was to bring it to the attention of legislators. (Oh, scientists.)

    And for years, the issue was mostly the province of scientists, academics, think tankers, and Washington insiders, all of whom tend to be left-brained wonks, all of whom preferred to approach climate as a technical policy problem. Get the models right, determine the "social cost of carbon," apply the appropriate carbon taxes and border adjustments, and lo, the machine would right itself.

    Again and again this idealistic, apolitical wonkery has been chewed to pieces by the political process, where climate change is not viewed as a technical problem, much less a crisis, but rather as a conventional matter of incentives. Fossil fuels and their allies are loud and spend lots of money. Scientists and wonks are poor and quiet. Fossil fuels are at the heart of the US conservative tribal worldview, whereas climate is seen by most of the middle and left as an "environmental issue." Most of the incentives point the same way.
    http://www.vox.com/2015/4/29/8512853/fossil-fuel-divestment
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  9. Humans are arguably the most powerful learning machines in the universe (as we know it), and if robots are to be part of human society, they have to become at least second-best at learning.

    Humans are born ignorant and dependent, desperately needing others to gain knowledge and skills. Humans have created cities, science, and poetry because of their immense learning capacity, which is unleashed when they grow up in social communities in which everybody is their teacher.

    The conclusion that true intelligence comes from learning, not just programming, is gaining acceptance in the artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics communities. A growing number of machine learning approaches are now available, including inverse reinforcement learning, hierarchical Bayesian models, deep learning, apprenticeship learning, and learning by demonstration. With those tools, robots can flexibly assimilate new information, turn that information into policies and learn from feedback — all of which enable robots to optimize actions in dynamically changing environments.

    But the drive for AI to require less programming and more learning must have its limits — and that is one thing Chappie shows us. The helpless, ignorant robot in the movie learns quickly from those around it. The problem is that those around it include a group of criminals, foul language and all. If we succeed in building sophisticated robots that learn, we will have to establish limits to how robots learn. If robots are allowed to learn anything they can and want, in whatever environment they are in, they may be just as likely to become brutal bullies as they are to become sagacious saints.
    https://news.brown.edu/articles/2015/04/malle
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  10. as David Hume famously proved, you can’t argue from “is” to “should”. We may be able to use science to help us get what we want but we cannot use science to tell us what to want nor to tell others what they should want.

    This is where the field of economics has stepped in. Human well-being, according to mainstream neoclassical economics, is fundamentally about the expression of individual preferences. The more money we have the more preferences we can express and, therefore, the freer and happier we are. Boom, Nietzsche’s existential problem solved.

    Jeremy Bentham, An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation said:

    Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do.

    The utilitarianism that underpins neoclassical economics simply equates money with choice and choice with the freedom to pursue pleasure and avoid pain. The freedom to buy.

    The very notion of human induced climate change and the actions required to arrest it clash so fundamentally with the modern mantra of “gain wealth, forgetting all but self” that many simply refuse to believe it.

    The economic constraints on freedom are extremely powerful. Risking economic security for the sake of the future climate borders on inconceivable in a society dominated by individualistic social hierarchies of wealth and the cult of celebrity.

    Financial institutions lend ever more and more money to investors who pay more and more for real estate based on the assumption that others will pay more still. The result is that the average citizen has to spend their whole life in debt peonage to banks just to have a house to live in. They are no freer to challenge the financial system than feudal peasants were to challenge their lords.

    The fact that our economic system is a social construct means that we have made a choice, even if an unconscious one, and that we can remake that choice.
    https://theconversation.com/the-peril...onversationedu+%28The+Conversation%29
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