Economics And Morality


‘It is known, to the force of a single pound weight, what the engine will do; but, not all the calculators of the National Debt can tell me the capacity for good or evil, for love or hatred, for patriotism or discontent, for the decomposition of virtue into vice….’

Dickens is right on target. Perhaps economists dream of an amoral world, a world without good or evil, a world steered by an invisible hand of self-interest, but I know of no such world. We live in society; we are social creatures. We must grapple with right and wrong, good and evil, even what kind of yoghurt to buy is a moral choice that affects others, to think otherwise is, as suzuki-by-Holger-Motzkau-from-wpDavid Suzuki says, a form of brain damage. Elsewhere he writes that ‘over and over, the economy has determined the extent of our response, but how much value does it place on breathable air, drinkable water, edible food and stable weather and climate? Surely the economy is the means to a better future, not an end in itself. Surely it must be subordinate to a rich, diverse ecosphere that sustains all life.’ 160 years later, and the beat goes on…. image by holger motzkau

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