Green Markets and a Green Rule

Green Markets and a Green Rule: Roy Morrison. 2/22/08
My son Sam's 15. He’s on the freshman basketball team, soon to get his learner’s
permit. I'm free with advice. Drive to the hoop. Don't stop on the tracks.

Following your parents’ and teachers’ advice generally serves us well as guide
to an ethical and successful life. What we need to know, we learned in

Share toys. Don't hit. Be kind. Don't lie. Follow the Golden rule: Do onto
others as others will do onto you.

We are the richest, most powerful nation in history. Our churches, synagogues,
and now mosques are packed. My son was taught the Jewish sage Hillel's
injunction: “That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is
the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

Yet somehow, as the climate changes and the earth warms, following a Golden rule
is not enough.

The U.S. has the strongest environmental laws and is also the largest polluter.
We have reached the climate tipping pain, not by back alley dumping and illegal
power plants, but by being in compliance with CAFE standards, the Clean Air and
Clean Water acts the Endangered Species Act et. al.

Building our dazzling civilization, model for the aspiring millions attempting
to follow in our footsteps, we simply have not taken full account of the
consequences of our actions upon the ecosphere. The free market that guides us
sends us incomplete price signals. The costs of pollution, depletion and
ecological damage are often not included in the price. They are externalized,
as economists say. That means the costs are shifted to people downwind and to
future generations. The cure is not revolution, or a bureaucrat writing rules.

If we get the prices right and have to charge true costs, the market will do its
job and be sustainable. What's polluting will cost more and decrease profit.
What's not polluting will cost less and increase profit. What’s sustainable will
be cheaper. What’s polluting will be more expensive.

Economic growth must mean ecological improvement, not ecological destruction.
This is the business and ethical imperative for the 21st century.

For business the solution is clear: tax pollution, depletion, and ecological
damage not income. Ecological consumption taxes, such as a carbon tax or an
ecological value added tax, a smart sales tax, should be phased in quickly to
replace income taxes.

And the business imperative must be supported by an ethical imperative as guide
to behavior.

Ethically we must learn a new Golden rule, a Green rule: Do onto the earth as
the earth will do onto us. This is the rule of karma and consequence, what goes
around comes around, applied to the 21st century. We need to practice a Green
rule as the basis for a new common sense and sustainable market rules.

Green ethics and a green market go together like hand in glove. Together they
are what we need to guide our choices in our democracy and entrepreneurial

A Green Rule: Do onto the earth as the earth will do onto us, is not the
imposition of a foreign doctrine. It is a statement affirming both freedom, and
community, rooted in our right to choose.

Look at the back of a dollar bill in your wallet. The eagle on the Great Seal of
the United States holds a ribbon in its mouth with the inscription: E Pluribus
Unum, From many, one.

We are one people on one earth. By the practice of our freedom and community
our industrial democracy can and will become a sustainable ecological democracy.

Roy Morrison is Director of the Office for Sustainability at Southern New
Hampshire University. His book on ecological taxation Markets, Democracy &
Survival is available for download at www.RMAenergy.net.

Fact check:

Rabbi Hillel and golden Rule: www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org
“Once there was a gentile who came before Shammai, and said to him: "Convert me
on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot.
Shammai pushed him aside with the measuring stick he was holding. The same
fellow came before Hillel, and Hillel converted him, saying: That which is
despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the
rest is commentary, go and learn it."
Rabbi Hillel was one of the most influential scholars in Jewish history.
Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a

Roy Morrison & Associates, LLC
Eco Power Hedge, LLC

P.O. Box 201, Warner, NH 03278