Peter Brown is director of the McGill School of Environment at McGill University.
Ethics, Economics and International Relationsby Peter Brown
In this important book Peter Brown charts a new future for the species that share the earth. He offers an innovative, yet historically grounded, argument for human rights to bodily integrity; to moral, religious, and political choice; and to subsistence that all persons owe each other irrespective of nationality. He also argues that we have direct moral obligations
In this important book Peter Brown charts a new future for the species that share the earth. He offers an innovative, yet historically grounded, argument for human rights to bodily integrity; to moral, religious, and political choice; and to subsistence that all persons owe each other irrespective of nationality. He also argues that we have direct moral obligations to non-humans - he calls this "respect for the commonwealth of life". Honoring these obligations requires a thorough re-grounding of human institutions.
The book concludes with the argument that traditional prerogatives of nation states need to be transparent to enforceable international standards concerning human rights and the commonwealth of life, and offers a practical agenda for beginning this fundamental reorientation.
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If you think there's no way for business to flourish and the environment to be protected, this is the book for you. If you wonder how civic society can survive the globalization of business, this is the book for you. In this slim and readable book, Peter G. Brown, Professor at McGill University and Director of the McGill School of Environment, presents a program that can change how citizens, businesses, non-profit institutions, and governments think about, and act on, today's pressing social, environmental, economic, and political problems. He presents a moral basis for the very practical decisions required to balance the needs and rights of all life with the economic and government institutions required to secure them. The book has three broad themes. The first asserts that the goal of universal progress for humans is best achieved by respecting thesebasic rights: 'bodily integriy; moral, religious, and political choice; and subsistence.' We need to insure that these rights are available to all humans. The second theme is that concerns for life must include the animals and plants, indeed the entire environment, with which we share the Earth. Prof. Brown calls this the 'commonwealth of life' and points out that this is not a new or revolutionary idea. The third theme is that of stewardship, 'our responsibility to restore, protect, and enhance the commonwealth of life.' The idea of stewardship provides objectives for economics, and for the roles of individuals and governments in participating in and regulating economic activities. Peter Brown skillfully and forcefully argues for a sensible and workable moral base upon which we can make instrumental choices regarding economic, business, government, and civic practice that provide the basic rights to all humans and enable stewardship for the commonwealth of life. No matter what one's political, religious, or practical views are on how we might achieve a humane, safe, and sustainable world, this book will provoke and challenge your ideas and your actions. You should send a copy to your government representatives. I did.