Reasons for the Haves to address the problems of the Have-nots

Note: this was posted in 1997 to an early internet
experiment. For more of my posts, please see
The Hyperforum on Sustainability.

a sustainable, global world -- the Earth

The participants have brought up several reasons for the Haves to address the problems of the Have-nots.

  • Ethics. Mark argued that “. . . in rich countries the population, or at least a significant part of it has a set of values that would recognize the injustice of a fortress world . . .”
  • Prudence. Several participants have noted that inequality often results in political instability and potential social violence by the Have-nots, and that this is dangerous to the haves and expensive to combat.
  • Unsustainability. In a previous comment, I tried to argue that a world in which some elements were poor is a world that is poor as a whole. The Have-nots are a drain on the Haves, in numerous covert ways that have nothing to do with resentment from the Have-nots but are intrinsic to the economics of the situation. The Haves would be better off to implement considered plans to improve the health of the world as a whole, and of themselves indirectly. Holistic thinking is not just altruism: it leads to everyone being better off.

I found parts of Allen’s post hard to understand. Why would either environmentally friendly policies or policies oriented towards long-term sustainability result in convergence between Haves and Have-nots? I would have thought that, if anything, the causality would be in the reverse direction. More likely, I would have thought that the prerequisite to either would be the ability of a society to see patterns in a whole (in the one case, across the population, and, in the other case, across time) and then to be able to knit together policies that were effective over a diverse range of goals.

Sat, 22 Feb 1997 02:10:45 GMT

For more, please see
The Hyperforum on Sustainability.

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