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THE META VALUE SYSTEM OF ALL VALUES by Professor John McMurtry – Updated 2016

John McMurtry 5


 by John McMurtry

The following Primary Axiom of All Value is a core excerpt from John McMurtry, Philosophy and World Problems, Volume I, UNESCO in partnership with Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems: Oxford: Eolss Publishers, 2011.

The Primary Axiom is: X is value if and only if, and to the extent that, x consists in or enables a more coherently inclusive range of thought/feeling/action than without it.

Conversely: x is disvalue if and only if, and to the extent that, x reduces/disables any range of thought/experience/action.

These three ultimate fields of value are defined, in turn, as:

thought = internal image and concept (T);

felt side of being = sensations, feeling/s, emotions, moods (F);

action = animate movement through space-time across species and organizations (A)

Symbolically expressed:

+V = > LR + and −V = < LR where L = Range of TFA and / = and/or.

The unlimited validity and applicability of the primary axiom is shown by its:

(1) self-evidence insofar as its denial is nonsensical;

(2) universality across all domains and issues of value judgment insofar as there is no domain of value to which it does not apply;

(3) presupposition  in value judgments and conflicts across domains;

(4) objectivity insofar as its value is independent of anyone’s recognition;

(5) sovereignty in that it overrides any other value in cases of conflict;

(6) measurable in degrees of worth insofar as greater/lesser ranges of thought, felt being and action can be decided from any given reference body of value;

(7) A contingent pattern in long-term evolutionary and historical development.

The Primary Axiom Applied: The Universal Human Life Necessities Across Cultures

Principle 1: The ultimate organising principle of any society through generations and across peoples is the secure provision of means of life otherwise in short supply (ie., the production and distribution of life goods and the protection of ecosystem services which are otherwise scarce or made scarce through time).

Converse: Any social or economic system succeeds/fails to the extent that it does/does not secure, produce and distribute means of life otherwise in short supply.

Principle 2: A means of life is a means of life if and only if it enables life abilities not possible without it (eg., food, water, shelter and literacy education).

Converse: Claimed ‘goods’ which disable or do not enable life abilities are not means of life (eg., junk commodities).

Principle 3: The complete and universal set of means of life or needs which all humans require to flourish as human are:

∙ breathable air, sense-open space, and daily light (atmospheric means of life)

∙ clean water, nourishing foods and self-waste disposal (bodily means of life)

∙ shelter space from the elements with ample provision to retire, sleep and function (home means of life)

∙ environmental surroundings whose elements and contours all contribute to the whole (environmental means of life)

∙ intimate love, social inclusion, safety and healthcare when ill or infirm (caring means of life)

∙ activities of language-logos/art-play to choose and learn from (educational/recreational means of life)

∙ life-serving work producing goods enabling the lives of others (vocational means of life sustaining society and self-respect at once)

∙ self-governing choice in each’s enjoyment consistent with each’s provision through generational time (the just form of life at individual, social and ecological levels)

Corollary: All of these life goods from breathable air to just form of life are and must be life capital formations: that is, life wealth/capacities that produce more life wealth capacities without loss and with cumulative gain through generational time.

Converse: Any priced commodity which does not directly or indirectly provide means of life for these universal needs is uneconomic, and anti-economic to the extent of life capacities allocated/wasted on the commodity’s production and consumption (eg., non-growth addictive commodities).

With all of the universal human life necessities/goods/means of life/capacities defined above, the transnational private money-sequence system called ‘globalization’ is organized to systemically  depredate and degrade them).

Principle 4: The provision, or the deprivation, of each and all of these means of life admits of degrees, development and interconnection as “fuller life”, or “deeper impoverishment”, on a holistic scale of greater/lesser ranking of provision.

Converse: Willingness or ability to pay prices for commodities never measures their human need or life capacity requirement, but only the good’s enabling/disabling of life abilities by their provision/deprivation.

Principle 5: The true measure of the performance of any society or economy is by its provision of these means of life to its members in comparison to a previous state of the society or economy, or to another socioeconomic order (eg., greater/lesser nutritional-intake, clean water accessibility/inaccessibility, literacy gain/loss, life expectancy rise/fall, livelihood participation/exclusion).

Converse: Growth of aggregate commodities sold in an society (GDP) is never an accurate or reliable measure of a society or economy’s development unless it corresponds to the provision of life goods to its members.

Principle 6: The primary capital of any society or economy is Life Capital (LC –> LC1 —>LC n ), the wealth of means of life that produces more wealth of means of life in cumulative yield through time (eg., species/ecological, social, technological or knowledge capital which reproduces and grows through time in carrying capacity of life-means).

Converse: Claimed “capital” which does not directly or indirectly produce means of life through time is false capital, and is inefficient in proportion to its misallocation of scarce economic resources to its growth (eg., money capital growth by non-defensive weapons manufacture, currency speculation, and production of life-disabling consumer commodities).

Principle 7: The efficiency of any product, tool or process increases, and only increases, to the extent that:

i: inputs and throughputs function to enable the provision of means of life with diminishing waste and externalities (eg., ecosystem services, organic farming, recycling industries, high life-value consumables) = Ecological Efficiency.

ii: reduced inputs of materials/energy/space/mandatory work time produce same or greater means of life outputs (eg., wheel and pulley structures, cooperative organisation of work/leisure requirements, lower labour/fuel-per-unit machines) = Input-Output Efficiency

iii: capability development of economic agents enables more life goods, life-time, and/or life-range choices than before (eg., by education, healthcare, and vocational work) = Human Development Efficiency.

Converse: Insofar as higher money profit margins do not produce greater Ecological, Input or Human Development Efficiency, they are not more, but less economically efficient by the margin of resources devoted to and lost by such allocation (i.e., life capital gains and losses through periodic or generational time).


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