united for freedom 

A Useful Test

Ethics is based on an assumption that is that there is a right way and a wrong way to live. Without this assumption ethics is inconsequential and without purpose, for unlike other sciences Ethics has also a purpose based upon its assumption. If as ethics assumes there is a right way to live then ethics in its seeking must of necessity seek how best to live. Rational Exchange equates this with living a carbon neutral life within the context of a Carbon Neutral Comunity or what is now referred to as a Progressive Community.

Everyone has their own ideas what it means to live right. Formulating a theory of right and wrong is both easier than it sounds and much harder.

Most people do believe there is a right and a wrong way to live. This is why most people feel free to be critical of the actions of other people, they believe they act wrongly. Most people are of the opinion that the way they live represents the right way. This is why it appears deceptively easy to describe the right way to live. Most peoples morality is simply a justification for what they already do.

People realize many actions and beliefs are wrong. Murder is generally considered to be one of those actions that are wrong in everyones eyes and needs little discussion. This is why it is harder to construct a theory of right and wrong than most realize. No matter what you say is right and no matter what you say is wrong someone will disagree in part or whole, they will reject your claims outright or offer some qualification that complicates what may have been thought to be a simple and indisputable fact. For example is it morally right to to kill a baby if we know he will grow up to be a mass murderer or psychopath?

Because of the problem of justifying waht we think is right and wrong some people have concluded that there is no distinct right and wrong. This is the theory of moral and cultural relativism. However the theory puts its proponents in a difficult situation. If they are critical of those who say there is an absolute right and wrong they are by implication arguing that their moral theory is absolutely right which creates for them a paradox. If they are consistent and say no theory is right then the theory that morality is relative is also only true in a limited and relativistic sense.

If we feel justified in declaring some actions wrong, and others right we are saying there is a right and wrong. We are saying we can identifiy which is which which also means there is a line or division between what is right and what is wrong and we can discern this line which means we are responsible for our behaviour because there is a distinction between right and wrong and we can discern it. However, in practice the line has been difficult to see. Many who have tried to draw a line between what is good and what is wrong have come to the conslusion that the line is actually a very large gray area in which most actions are neither truly right or wrong.

In short though we all talk as if there is a right and wrong in practice we lose this certainty and we live as if morality was relativee. Life seems designed to turn us all into moral hypocrits.

At first glance it appears easy to look at an action and say if it is right or wrong. It is however almost impossible to say why in a way that cannot be contested. In our minds we can pretty much discern the right course of action but we cannot justify the line to anyone else.

When we look at an action that is immoral or wrong we are looking at two or more people in a brief but real relationship. We see the consequences of how each has acted towards the other. Moral situations are dynamic. Murder is not a noun it is a verb. Muder cannot be classed in the same way physical things are catelogued.

When we say murder is wrong we are thinking about one person killing another. If we define murder as the unjust killing of another human being it is not unreasonable to conclude that murder is wrong. But what do we specifically mean by the unjust killing of another? Is all killing of humans unjust? How many situations can you think of that would justify one person killing another person? In those kinds of situations is it correct to call the death imposed a murder rather than say, capital punishment or a homicide?

Is it murder to kill one to save hundreds? Is it murder when the killing is a State sanctioned penalty?

We determine an action is wrong when we observe that the consequence of the action is one we do not think justified. It is not the killing of another that is wrong in itself it is the consequences that flow from the killing. If people could be brought back to life murder would cease to have any moral significance as is the case with God. Stealing is not wrong because it is wrong to take things (air can be taken freely) it is the consequence of the taking that makes the taking stealing. This is why when one person declares that it is wrong to steal someone else may remind the person that if someone steals food to feed a starving child what he does ought not to be called stealing or even if it is stealing it is a crime that ought to be allowed without penalty.

The real measure of how well or poorly we live is determined by the results of our living. A person is not judged good because she or he performs certain actions and not others. It is not the action it is the consequence of the action. .

A man who kills many others is more than a good man he is a hero and a role model if the man is a soldier fighting for his country in a just war.

It is apparent that ethical actions cannot just benefit a few persons nor be good in the eyes of some. The criminal who does not rat on his cohorts may be a model of criminal honour but what he does is not considered right in the eyes of most human beings. A criminal may kill others in defence of his boss and even die defending him but few would think him a hero. The consequences do not justify the action. It would have been better had the criminal boss died. Does this mean ends can justify the means? Can the muder of millions be justified to usher in a Golden Age?

Determining consequence requires objectivity and the existence of an objective metric. Because we want to see the end realized does not mean everything we do to see the end realized can be justified. The score card has to be somewhat independent of the subject. The problem most people have is that they wish to be their own judge and jury on their moral integrity.

Generally we can say that actions that cause more harm to the planet than benefits the world  are not good because there is no way to rationally justify them. Causing harm to the planet suggests we have created costs we cannot or will not pay. The costs we create are mitigated by the assets our actions also create. The balance between cost and benefit is the equity we create. To determine how wisely we live is determined by the economics of our living. We only need to ask if we are creating debt or equity. If your liabilities are growing faster than your assets then you are in trouble. Doing good is determined by the rate of capital accumulation.

U = ( Ct1(x) = At1 Lt1) . (Ct2(y) = At2 Lt2)/100

U = usefulness or ratio of right actions to bad.

Capital in year x (t1) multiplied by capital (Assets minus Liabilities) in year y divided by 100 gives you your capitalization value in year x as a percentage of year y.

A more simple measure is the running addition you make to the equity of an Exchange.

Equity is incompatible with and the opposite of debt so the level of debt is a quick indicator of what percentage of our actions are right and how many are wrong.

The objective of an organization or community and of moral behaviour in general is to reduce debt and liabilities and increase assets and equity. We believe this is consistent with what is defined as a CNC. There is no rational justification for debt. Exchanges are the only way to eliminate debt. Please support carbon neutrality and help eliminate debt and increase Planet Equity. Contact us today.




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