Thinking about the Self and Others

Thinking about the Self and Others

Central to any debate concerning objects and subjects is the notion of the Self.
I would do the same in their shoes!‘ Why this apparent acceptance of such behavior and the belittling of one‘s own ethics? It might have something to do with the promulgation of the Self as a self-serving, myopic, selfish individual as exemplified in agency theory and ethical egoism.
Agency theory, as used here, refers to the division of ownership and control of corporations, with shareholders the principals and management their agents. With human behavior assumed to be essentially self-seeking and self-focused and management ‘enjoying‘ a privileged control of information over shareholders, this control is assumed to manifest itself in sub-optimum decision making (from the shareholders‘ perspective).
Sustainable communities: places where people want to live and work, now and in the future. They meet the diverse needs of existing and future residents, are sensitive to their environment, and contribute to a high quality of life. They are safe and inclusive, well planned, build and run, and offer equality of opportunity and good services for all.
Self-control was recognized in respect of freedoms, but not just those of the Self. In sympathy with Aristotelian arguments, the perception of Others was also important.
The Self is seen as a fully autonomous unit that should be responsible to no authority in the forming of its relationships beyond the exercise of its own volition – what it voluntary wills and wishes to do. The proper mode of living is to be oneself – to find out who one is and to let no one and nothing interfere with one‘s self-realization. This is ethical egoism in its raw form.
The mission statement of The Sustainability Institute has three elements:
•To shift mindsets – values, attitudes and beliefs – when they are out of step with the realities of a finite planet and a globally dominant human race.
•To restructure systems when the rewards and incentives of the system are inconsistent with long term social, environmental and economic goals.
•To build the capability to manage and learn in complex, environmental, social and economic systems.
The commitment to the notion of markets being the primary, if not exclusive, driver of sustainable development is contestable, for such an approach requires that:
a)all the salient facts can be expressed in numerical form
b)all the salient information (including that relating to the preferences of future generations) can be articulated in the final ‗market‘ price
c)all decisions are simply the art, or science, of obtaining the ‗right balance‘ of resource usage and that placing the resource in the hands of those who are able to pay the highest price is the most appropriate ‗solution‘.
The first two points are concerned with the feasibility of developing inclusive and articulate prices. The third and final point is one that raises profound philosophical issues, both political and ethical.
The national and global sustainability agendas to be adequately addressed, there is an unavoidable need for the active and sincere engagement f large corporations and governments.