AN ETHICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL BASIS
FOR HUMAN CONDUCT
1. GENERAL STATEMENT - PAST,
PRESENT AND FUTURE
gap between rich and poor combined with accelerating
environmental and social disintegration offer powerful
testimony to the failure of conventional development
practice in countries of both South and North. This
failure has given birth to global effort to build
commitment to an alternative citizens' vision of human
progress grounded in commitment to just, inclusive and
sustainable human societies. This effort has been
handicapped in its confrontation with the forces of the
status quo by its lack of an alternative theory and
has arrived at a moment of critical choice that presents
a unique challenge to its collective intelligence and the
technical and social advances it has so far achieved. A
choice for status quo solutions will almost certainly
lead to accelerating social and ecological
disintegration. It could lead to the end of human
civilisation and even the extinction of our own species.
The alternative, a choice for transformational change,
can be more than an act of collective survival. It may
also set the stage for the next step in life's
hope for mobilising social forces behind the affirmative
choice is found within an awakened global civil society;
an awakening already taking place. The energies unleashed
by this awakening are coalescing around a people-centred
citizens' vision of just, inclusive and sustainable human
societies dedicated to enhancing the social, intellectual
and spiritual growth of all people, celebrating the unity
and diversity of life and maintaining a sustainable
balance between the human uses of natural wealth and the
regenerative limits of Earth's living ecosystem. This
vision calls for an end to social and environmental
exploitation by the powerful at the expense of the
powerless. In their place it envisions societies that
empower people through economic and political
decentralisation to regenerate the local communities and
ecologies that such exploitation has devastated.
status quo solutions are backed not only by powerful
institutional interests, but also by supporting economic
theories operationalised in a system of national income
accounting widely accepted as the authoritative measure
of human progress and well-being. Most of human society
has become so culturally conditioned by these theories
and measurement practices that even those of us who
espouse the need for alternatives easily slip into the
embrace of their underlying assumptions. Those who call
for transformational changes will remain severely
handicapped within the larger development debate until
they are able to counter mainstream thinking from a
strong theoretical footing and offer an alternative
operational measurement practice.
following pages offer an ethical foundation for the
2. A CONCEPTUAL BASIS FOR
POLICY AND ACTION
of a global perspective in examining issues and
that the increasing interdependence of nations
and emergence of worldwide problems pose
predicaments beyond the capacity of individual
countries to solve.
of the interdependence of, and interrelationships
between, the components of the natural world and
of human communities.
holistically and seeking a deep understanding of
interactions within the tangle of contemporary
on issues in a longer term perspective than seems
possible by governments preoccupied by a desire
to stay in power.
of the finite nature of the planet and the need
to achieve a state of equilibrium in which the
resources of planet Earth and the needs of
non-human life forms are in harmony with human
3. VALUES AND PRINCIPLES
for life and the integrity of the natural world.
towards common goals
and harmony in daily living.
opportunities for all.
in all human relationships.
of human needs and aspirations.
human and environmental security, including
freedom from personal threats and the maintenance
of law and order.
as the overriding principle underpinning the
continuity of life.
of the finite nature of natural resources and
ecosystems and their intrinsic value.
that the current rate of natural resource
extraction, its processing and use, and
absorption of wastes back into the environment is
currently approaching, and in some cases already
exceeds the capacity of natural systems to
studies make it clear that world food production
will not be able to provide sufficient sustenance
for the numbers anticipated in the next century
without major changes in human thinking and the
structures of world governance and current
economic policy and directions.
is a state in which the components of the natural
world and the needs of humankind are in permanent
balance. Such a state requires management of the
global economy and the allocation of resources
for the common good.
to be seen as a movement towards improvement of the human
condition, including increasing quality and efficiency in
meeting long-term human needs.
- the devolution of decision-making to the lowest
practicable level, should be followed, though not at the
expense of the public good.
structures and institutions involving people and their
interrelationships shall be democratic, participatory and
peaceful settlement of disputes, from personal to global,
shall be settled according to accepted modes of
behaviour, and to the law.
at all levels - personal, local, regional, national and
global, while accepting the need for interactions between
systems and their interdependence.
requires the breaking down of oversized social, economic
and political structures and is related to subsidiarity.
preservation of diversity of all life forms and human
cultures and traditions.
possible, preservation of the natural world as close to
its natural state as possible so as to ensure the
conservation of ecosystems and preservation of habitat
for non-human life forms.
inclusion in financial assessments, valuations, pricing
and indicators of wealth involving natural resources and
ecosystems, of the true value of those resources.
common heritage of humankind and other creatures, the
sharing of land and its resources, according to the needs
Public Revenue and Collection Management
as the representative of all people in their respective
countries, should seek revenue in accordance with the
capacity of each person, household, and firm in such a
way that encourages individual enterprise but discourages
the unnecessary use of resources, and health harming
of decision makers including politicians and public
institutions and individuals for their policies and
actions individually and collectively.
RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
responsibilities are complementary. A right
carries with it a corresponding responsibility. A
responsibility, in turn, confers a corresponding
right. Rights are held by individuals and other
life forms, and private institutions. People and
institutions also have responsibilities to one
another and to nature. Government, as
representative of people, and corporations have
only responsibilities (Note: In contradiction to
this, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that
corporations did have the same rights as
rights and responsibilities are enshrined in the
following declarations and charters.
United Nations Charter
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Universal Declaration of Animal Rights
Universal Declaration of the Rights of the Child
of Governments and their agencies are to:
in the interests of their people and the mandates
imposed on them through the democratic process.
with other governments in matters of common
interest and concern.
conflict and use of arms.
responsibility for their actions and policies
affecting communities and the natural environment
international law and agreements.
the United Nations and contribute to its work to
ensure sustainable human security.
to the other provisions of this document.
of individuals and private organisations shall be to
recognise, support and adhere to the other provisions of
reinforcing the UN Charter and UN declarations are:
rights for all citizens including the
dispossessed, the disadvantaged and the needy.
protection of human rights of indigenous people
living on tribal land in accordance with
traditional cultures and life-styles.
elected governments and democratically operated
opportunities, consistent with corresponding
to be consulted on issues of major importance
affecting communities and the environment.
for all peoples to the global commons, as the
common property of humankind - including the
oceans, seas and rivers, space, the polar
regions, primary forest reserves and wilderness
areas, subject to the overall need for the
preservation of natural ecosystems and indigenous
opportunities for relaxation, exercise and
contemplation including contact with nature.
treatment before the law.
access to legal services.
access to public information
to an adequate reward for labour and contribution
to society, but not to income or goods not earned
or resulting from the labour of others or the
appropriation of property.
share Earth's natural gifts.
employment, just rewards for human labour, and
care in times of need.
take action against any government, institution,
private company, agency or individual without
exception, that creates or causes, social,
environmental, health or other problems having
significant negative international or regional
consequences, through procedures that facilitate
this process, including access to information.
which sustainability, efficiency, sufficiency,
justice, equity and community are high social
of mutually caring and supportive societies -
based on trust, co-operation, understanding and
mutual respect rather than on competition and
democratic governments at all levels of society
and of institutions, both public and private,
accountable to the citizens of each community and
a system of world governance dealing with issues
of common interest in which political boundaries
recognise common ethnic and cultural traditions
and interests and the need for sharing of vital
a global economy based on the principle of
distributive equity, sustainable management of
resources, freedom from the threat of armed
which international corporations and institutions
and individuals are subject to Codes of Conduct
and International Law preventing the accumulation
of excessive or monopolistic wealth, power or
which print and broadcast media reflect the
world's diversity and at the same time bind
together the cultures of the world with relevant,
timely, accurate and intelligent information set
into its historic and whole-system context.
which the application of science and technology
serve the human community and the health of the
planet, rather than individual and corporate
which armaments are outlawed.
which international trust and co-operation
replace suspicion and conflict.
which nuclear technology is severely
outlaws the use of animals for research purposes.
which human society and nature are in balance -
that is in state of economic equilibrium - and in
which needs and aspirations of people are in
harmony with the natural world and recognise this
dependence in using resources wisely and fairly
to ensure humans and other species can live
satisfying and full lives.
prime concern of government is to ensure material
sufficiency, conditions for personal fulfilment;
the practice of human rights; law and order and
personal security for all.
economy that serves people and society in
general; that distributes income and wealth
according to need, skills, enterprise and effort,
rather than one in which economic and material
growth and the accumulation of personal and
corporate wealth is the main objective.
of the integrity of ecosystems and natural
processes and the essential diversity of both
nature and culture; and the essential
relationships and interdependence between
component parts of the natural world.
environment and its resources are cared for and
used on a sustainable basis, by achieving a
balance between the level of resource extraction;
the capacity of sinks to absorb waste; and the
regenerative capacity of ecosystems.
and collective responsibility to strive for the
sustainable use and distribution of Earth's
at all levels is available to all, and that
recognises the need to understand and operate the
democratic process to protect and respect the
people accept responsibility to make social
choices; to have a high life expectation; low
birth rates and stable population.
is an absence of crime and other antisocial
one possesses natural resources beyond their
reasonable needs. The environment is free from
advertising and promotion techniques that are
aggressive, strident, untruthful or likely to
cause offence or visual disharmony.
work dignifies people; is available to all; and
provides incentives to people to give of their
high value is placed on conservation that
encourages efficiency, avoidance of waste, the
reuse of materials, avoidance of unnecessary
production, and discourages promotion of
obsolescence and changing fashion aimed at
increasing production levels. Freedom to pursue
technical and other forms of innovation and
creative skills for social purposes other than
the pursuit of financial gain.
opportunities for relaxation, exercise and
contemplation, including contact with nature.
by the Pacific Institute of Resource of