Life Value and Social Justice

Introduction

Since its publication in 1971, John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice has defined the terrain of political philosophical debate concerning the principles, scope, and material implications of social justice. Social justice for Rawls concerns the principles that govern the operation of major social institutions. Major social institutions structure the lives of citizens by regulating access to the resources and opportunities that the formulation and realization of human projects require. Rawls’ theory of social justice regards major institutions as just when they distribute what he calls “primary goods” in a manner that he regards as egalitarian. Hence, the subsequent social justice debate has been shaped by and large as a debate about the meaning and implications of egalitarianism. While on the surface a debate about egalitarianism as a distributional principle seems to uncover the core problem of social justice — how much of what everyone should get as a matter of right — the entire history of the debate has been conducted in abstraction from what matters most to people’s lives. It is as a corrective to such abstractions that the life-value approach to social justice has been developed…

Read More

It’s Our Money with Ellen Brown and Prof John McMurtry – The Cancer Stage of Capitalism – 04.27.16

http://itsourmoney.podbean.com/e/it’s-our-money-with-ellen-brown-–-you’ve-been-strip-mined-–-042716/  (McMurtry’s interview starts at 28:00) Economies are life forces – interdependent systems built upon the facts of life and living. “Life capital” as Ellen’s noted guest Dr. John McMurtry says, is at the heart of true economic reckoning, and money is merely one derivative. McMurtry describes Capitalism as being in a cancerous stage in which… Read More

‘Solving the Crisis in Capitalism’ by Elisabet Sahtouris

Reposted from: https://www.scribd.com/doc/79475313/Sahtouris-Jan-2012-Capitalism-in-Crisis-FT-My-Response-1 Elisabet Sahtouris, Ph.D. 23 Jan 2012 contact: elisabet@sahtouris.com Solving the Crisis in Capitalism Elisabet Sahtouris, Ph.D In the FT’s series on the Crisis in Capitalism http://www.ft.com/intl/indepth/capitalism-in-crisis what I read, even when purporting to hit the deep issues, takes on isolated aspects or surface features of the problem rather than truly getting at root causes. For example, in the… Read More

‘The spiritual crisis of capitalist civilization’ by Jeff Noonan

Human beings are integrally natural and social creatures, dependent upon natural life-support systems for their physical existence and socio-cultural life-development systems for the nurturing and realization of their emotional, cognitive, and practical-creative capacities.  Societies whose developmental dynamics become alienated from their natural conditions of existence face inevitable doom.  Oblivious to the ways in which their reproductive dynamics undermining the physical foundations of social life, they collapse the very basis upon which their institutions and value systems depend.  Let us say that any society which unsustainably converts scarce natural resources into tokens of social power (as, for example, capitalism converts natural systems and elements into money) faces a material crisis of life-reproduction.  The manifold environmental crises unleashed by capitalism, crises which persist even in the midst of on-going economic stagnation, are evidence that capitalism will ultimately face a problem of material life-reproduction.  Yet, this material crisis is not the only crisis that capitalist civilization faces.  Since human beings require not only life, but meaningful, purposive life, societies can also fall into what I will call spiritual crises of life-development.

Spiritual crises arise when the ruling value system and institutional structure of a society becomes alienated from citizens’ need to feel that they belong to a socio-cultural whole which values their contributions to its reproduction and development.  More precisely, spiritual crises arise when the ruling value system and institutional structure of a society actively alienate citizens by treating them as mere tools of its material reproduction.  When people are treated as mere tools of system-reproduction, their moral being as intrinsically life-valuable centres of experience, action, and interaction, cognizant of the social conditions of their freedom and well-being, and desirous of enhancing the social foundations of their individuality, are attacked.  In these alienated circumstances social problems are presented to the populace as technical problems to be solved by political and economic experts working in the service of the established  asymmetries of wealth and power.  Spiritual crises thus arise when ruling classes attempt to solve a material crisis of social reproduction by treating subaltern groups not as participating members of a social whole, but as passive objects whose life-interests must be sacrificed to the health of the system understood as a reified whole indifferent to the life-requirements of the people who live under it.

Read More

‘The capitalist life crisis’ by Jeff Noonan

The failure of the Durban Conference on Climate Change, (December, 2011) to agree to anything more substantial than that all nations would work together to develop binding targets for reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 2015 is a metonym for the life-crisis besetting globalised capitalism.[1] Because global capitalism subordinates what John McMurtry calls “life-value”  to the expansion and accumulation of  money-value, it progressively undermines the conditions of planetary life-support, human life-requirement satisfaction, and meaningful human life-capacity development and enjoyment.[2]  Resources, relationships, practices, norms, institutions, and forms of life-activity have life-value when they:  a) satisfy objective requirements of human life-maintenance, reproduction, and development, b) thereby enabling the expression and enjoyment of the human life-capacities of sentience, imaginative and cognitive thought, and creative activity in ways which are, c) life-coherent.  McMurtry’s principle of life-coherence asserts that in order to be good, expressions of life-capacity must not only follow from the free choices of the agents who enjoy them, but must also, “consistently enable ecological and human life-together.”[3] In other words, good forms of individual life-capacity expression must contribute to, rather than undermine, the natural field of life-support and the social field of life-development within which individual life-activity is grounded.   The vaunted “liberties” of liberal-capitalist society are blind to the natural and social grounds upon which all good lives ultimately depend.  Hence, capitalism is a system that necessarily generates crisis in all important dimensions of being alive.  In the present essay I will explore the four most fundamental dimensions of capitalist life-crisis and the adequacy of egalitarian liberal, human rights-based cosmopolitan, and twenty-first century socialist responses to them.

Read More

The Natural Step – Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development‏

The Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development http://www.thenaturalstep.org/sustainability/the-framework-for-strategic-sustainable-development/ Human society is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Earth environment. If our “parent company” destabilizes, our society and our economies go down with it. This is another way of expressing the funnel metaphor. Science has proven we are currently destabilizing our Earth environment, and this in turn is producing escalating… Read More

Factors Influencing the Trajectory of Mental Capital over the Life Course

Figure 1 Schematic representation of the multiple factors influencing the trajectory of mental capital across the life course. Adapted from 19 and 20. AGING, MENTAL CAPITAL, AND WELL-BEING As populations age, it is increasingly important to understand the effects of global aging on the mental capital and well-being of older people. This has been the… Read More

The War On Democracy (2007) (English subtitles) by John Pilger

http://johnpilger.com/videos/the-war-on-democracy ‘The War On Democracy’ (2007) was John Pilger’s first for cinema. It explores the current and past relationship of Washington with Latin American countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia and Chile. Using archive footage sourced by Michael Moore’s archivist Carl Deal, the film shows how serial US intervention, overt and covert, has toppled a series… Read More

Life Capitalism – One Life-Science to Rule Them All

In order to transition from our present death economy and birth a new life economy, we need to bring new life-tools to our toolkit of investigations and experimentation. Given the recent realisation that our present economic science, in its present incarnation can be described as a form of “alchemy,” we have now to ask what… Read More

Expanding our Public Health System to include Collective Life-Capital Health

“Natural capital’ is an understandable attempt to put a value on our living planet and all the services it provides for us, writes John McMurtry. But it fails by measuring nature in dollars and cents. We need to develop a new concept of ‘life capital’ that must be preserved from exploitation and degradation no matter… Read More