Re: poly: economics of morality

From: <>
Date: Sun Feb 08 1998 - 03:51:53 PST

In a message dated 98-02-05 15:46:09 EST, you write:

> >... Societies in the same
> >circumstances but with different internal rules may have differing rates
> >of growth and survival, which would lead to domination by some set of
> >moralities, which could be considered -- for practical purposes -- to be
> >the 'right' moralities for those societies. Different technologies or
> >environments could lead to different moralities.
> I think this is missing the important dynamic of multiple modes of
> heritibility of morality. There is probably some genetic predisposition
> to certain kinds of morality, and this source is very slow to change.
> Morality inherited via parents and grade school teachers changes faster,
> but not as fast as the environment changes. Codes of conduct within
> specific communities and competitive industries change faster than grade
> schools, though perhaps still not as fast as the best expert advise about
> what practices most allow a group to dominate other groups.
> So we each face conflicting moral advise: our genetic disposition, our
> childhood culture, group codes of conduct, and the advise of experts
> and our own best estimation of dominating strategies. And to the extent
> that morality is about santioning and discouraging behavior that might
> benefit an individual or small group but hurt a larger group, we face a
> fundamental tension: is the advise that the faster modes suggest better
> because it reacts more quickly to the environment, or is it worse because
> it represents narrower interests?
> To take the example of cloning, ordinary people should wonder: is the
> reason biomedical experts are more confortable with the idea of cloning
> because they understand better how it is different from the sorts of
> reasons our slower evolutionary heritage has for being wary of such things?
> Or are they more comfortable because they are a special interest, much more
> interested than most people in the benefits of open research than in the
> social costs such change might bring?
> >if we don't like the rights recognized elsewhere in the world, this way
> >of thinking would lead us not to exhort more respect for human rights,
> >but to make the foreign economy more like our own, which should cause
> >their morality to evolve to one appropriate for an information-rich,
> >advanced market society.
> I'm not sure this argument makes sense. If their rights are well adapted
> to their environment, I'm not sure we should want them to change. If their
> rights haven't changed fast enough to adapt to their new environment, I'm
> not sure wishing even faster environmental change on them is so hot.
> to focus on what is blocking rights adaption and seek to reduce frictions
> there.
Received on Sun Feb 8 11:54:43 1998

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Mar 07 2006 - 14:45:29 PST