Moral responsibility and climate change

Should we hold individuals morally responsible for climate change?

[ 8/10/20 ]

What do you mean by moral responsibility?

Are we morally responsible for supporting an economic system that guarantees poverty for the masses rather than one that ensures that everyone has a reasonable minimum (without necessarily capping the maximum).

When anyone starts approaching complex questions like economics or climate change or legal systems then simple models are going to fail, and one needs to become comfortable with uncertainty.

We can all take degrees of responsibility for climate change by limiting our use of energy – and doing that has macroeconomic consequences in the current system.

Technical solutions to climate change are relatively simple but not in the current economic and political dogma.

So any simplistic attempt at moral responsibility is likely to do more harm than good.

If we all make reasonable attempts to support each other and the environment that supports us all – we are all better off; and in the current economic and political systems that will only get us so far. Fundamental reform of both economics and politics is required, and that is a deeply non-trivial set of very complex problems that require an approach that is more about avoiding undesirable boundaries than it is about achieving known targets. Complex systems cannot be accurately predicted – they require guidance rather than direction.

To the extent that morality provides guidance about the things to be avoided it is useful in complex situations.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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