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1. Introduction to Ethical Issues in Agriculture & the Environment SPRING 2002. Larry D. Sanders. Dept. of Ag Economics Oklahoma State University. INTRODUCTION. Purpose: to become aware of the ethical issues in agriculture and the environment Learning Objectives:

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1 introduction to ethical issues in agriculture the environment spring 2002

1. Introduction to Ethical Issues in Agriculture & the EnvironmentSPRING 2002

Larry D. Sanders

Dept. of Ag Economics Oklahoma State University

introduction
INTRODUCTION
  • Purpose: to become aware of the ethical issues in agriculture and the environment
  • Learning Objectives:

1. Explain the fundamentals of ethics & relation to environmental & agricultural issues.

2. Review concepts & jargon in theory of ethics.

  • References
    • Van DeVeer & Pierce; Thomas, Matthews & van Ravenswaay; Coufal & Spuches
    • The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (www.utm.edu/research/iep/e/environm.htm)
    • Rolston, H. Environmental Ethics, Temple University Press, 1988.
    • Hackett, S., Environmental & Natural Resources Economics, M. E. Sharpe, 1998.
whether or not we are aware of it or can express it ethics seem to matter
Whether or not we are aware of it or can express it, “ethics” seem to matter. . . .

“That there ought to be some ethic concerning the environment can be doubted only by those who believe in no ethics at all. For humans are evidently helped or hurt by the condition of their environment.”

--Holmes Rolston, 1988

empirical vs moral ethical claims can you see a difference
Empirical Claims

1. Rape is occurring somewhere now.

2. Child abuse is absent in the Dominican Republic.

3. Thousands of people have died in Rwanda.

4. Lying is often motivated by the desire to avoid shame.

5. There are now over 6 billion people on planet Earth.

Moral/Ethical Claims

1. Rape is wrong.

2. Child abuse is contrary to one’s duty.

3. We should not let people starve to death.

4. It is sometimes alright to lie.

5. Human life is very valuable.

Empirical vs. Moral/Ethical Claims: Can you see a difference?
empirical vs moral ethical questions can you see a difference
Empirical Questions

What are the economics of animal production?

How do we measure the severity of ozone depletion and its subsequent impacts?

What is the earth’s carrying capacity given some economic goals?

How do we improve food production/distribution and access by low income people?

Moral/Ethical Questions

How ought we to treat animals?

What should we do about the holes in the ozone layer (& subsequent global warming)?

What should we do to slow population growth?

What should we do about world hunger?

Empirical vs. Moral/Ethical Questions: Can you see a difference?
ethics vs morals
Ethics vs. Morals:
  • Ethics:
    • Planned attempt to follow societal norms, standards, and expectations
    • Seeks to define what is right & what is wrong on a universal basis.
  • Morals:
    • Reflect the dominant belief of a particular culture or institution about what is right or wrong.

--R. Cahn, 1988 (taken from Coufal & Spuches)

ethics vs morals1
Ethics vs. Morals:
  • ethics: the branch of philosophy that investigates and creates theories about the nature of right and wrong, duty, obligation, freedom, virtue, and other issues where sentient beings can be harmed or helped. Sometimes contrasts with morality.” (G. Pence)
  • morality: what in fact people believe to be right and wrong, or how they in fact act; sometimes contrasts with ethics (the study of how they should act). (G. Pence)
morals vs ethics doing vs thinking
Morality often refers to actual moral choice and conduct (doing) and to those considerations such as moral values and commitments which directly shape them.

Ethics . . . is often used to refer to the secondary activity of reflecting on (thinking), justifying, and criticizing such conduct & considerations.

Morals vs. Ethics:“Doing” vs. “Thinking”

Camenisch, 1986, taken from Coufal & Spuches

are there moral imperatives that transcend cultures institutions to become ethical codes
Are there “moral imperatives” that transcend cultures & institutions to become “ethical codes?”
  • You should not kill?
  • You should not steal?
  • Incest is wrong?
  • Life begins at the point of conception?
  • You should always tell the truth?
  • Farmers are the best stewards of the land?
  • Only humans have rights?
ethics act as constraint on social conduct
Ethics act as constraint on social conduct

“An ethic, ecologically, is a limitation on freedom of action in the struggle for existence.

“An ethic, philosophically, is a differentiation of social from anti-social conduct.

“All ethics so far evolved rest upon a single premise: that the individual is a member of a community of independent parts.”

“The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively.”

A. Leopold, 1948; taken from Coufal & Spuches.

ethics govern
Ethics Govern:
  • Human Conduct
  • Values
  • Activity
ethics some fundamentals
Ethics: Some Fundamentals
  • Ethics--branch of philosophy concerned w/moral duty & ideal human character
  • Intrinsic rightness (Deontological Ethics)
    • what’s desirable (hypothetical imperative)
    • what’s necessary (categorical imperative)
    • Rawls “Justice” (fairness concept)
    • Leopold & “Deep Ecology”
  • Instrumental value (Teleological Ethics)
    • end justifies means if desirable consequences result (consequentialism)
    • Natural Law & Utilitarianism
ethics some fundamentals cont
Ethics: Some Fundamentals (cont)
  • Logical fallacy to believe that sciences of “what is” can be applied to “what ought”
  • Environmental & Agricultural Ethics--examines the moral basis of environmental responsibility; 3 competing theories

1. Anthropocentrism

2. Species rights

3. Ecocentrism

how does ethics work why does ethics matter influences on decision making
How does ethics work & why does ethics matter? Influences on Decision Making . . .

Culture

Ethics

Economics

Science

Technology

World-view

Individual Experience

Decisions

culture as an influence on decision making
Culture as an influence on decision making . . .

history

religion

family

Culture

Individual Experience

Politics & policy

philosophy

education

worldview filtered through key factors as an influence on decision making
Worldview, filtered through key factors, as an influence on decision making . . .

facts

attitudes

Ethics (“universal” moral responsibility)

Economics (means & motives)

Science (knowledge)

Technology (means)

beliefs

Worldview

myths

values

goals

decisions the moral ethical problem solving or decision making process
Decisions--the moral/ethical problem-solving or decision making process:

1. Identify a normative or moral assertion (i.e., “I believe in the death penalty”).

2. Support with reasons (empirical facts, moral facts & beliefs).

3. Reflect on reasons (evaluate).

4. Weigh reasons using some ethical standard (i.e., intrinsic rightness or instrumental value).

5. Choose or make decision (act).

decisions empirical problem solving or decision making process aka scientific method
Decisions--Empirical problem-solving or decision making process (aka “scientific method”):

1.State a testable hypothesis or problem.

2.Collect all relevant facts.

3.Determine relevant alternative solutions.

4.Evaluate the likely consequences.

5.Choose or make decision.

6.Assess feedback.

the logical fallacy of attempting to use the scientific method to go from is to ought
Empirical:

1.State a testable hypothesis or problem.

2.Collect all relevant facts.

3.Determine relevant alternative solutions.

4.Evaluate the likely consequences.

5.Choose or make decision.

6.Assess feedback.

Moral/Ethical:

1.Identify a normative or moral assertion (i.e., “I believe in the death penalty”).

2.Support with reasons (empirical facts, moral facts & beliefs).

3.Reflect on reasons (evaluate).

4.Weigh reasons using some ethical standard (i.e., intrinsic rightness or instrumental value).

5.Choose or make decision (act).

The “Logical Fallacy” of attempting to use the scientific method to go from “is” to “ought” :

Conclusion: the scientific method doesn’t work with the moral/ethical claim/question.

what are agricultural environmental ethics
What are Agricultural & Environmental Ethics?
  • Attempts to describe the way one perceives, reflects on, acts on, & treats the world;
  • The framework of attitudes & values individuals/societies have regarding agriculture & the environment;
  • A system of moral responsibility between humans & their agricultural systems & environment(s);
  • Values embodied & upheld by codes of ethics of natural resources professions.

Coufal & Spuches, as modified by Sanders

what are agricultural environmental ethics continued
What are Agricultural & Environmental Ethics (continued)?
  • The extension of general (human) ethics to the interactions of people with their agricultural system & the environment; a comprehensive, coherent set of principles, duties, obligations, and responsibilities guiding human behavior toward or to the agricultural system and natural environment.

Coufal & Spuches, as modified by Sanders

ethics for or of the environment
Ethics For or Of the Environment?
  • A Management (Instrumental) Ethic:
    • An ethic for the use of the environment or agricultural system leads to duties regarding the environment
  • A Loving (Intrinsic) Ethic:
    • An ethic of the environment itself leads to duties to the environment.

Regan 1981, adapted from Coufal & Spuches by Sanders

code of ethics example
Code of Ethics Example:
  • Ecological Society of America
    • General Canon 1: All members “will use their knowledge, skills, and training to find ways to harmonize society’s needs, demands, and actions with the maintenance and enhancement of natural and managed ecosystems.”

ESA 1993, from Coufal & Spuches

ethics morality
Ethics & Morality?

Ethics is a branch of philosophy that is concerned with moral duty and ideal human character.

--Steven C. Hackett, 1998

some agriculturally and environmentally ethical claims
Some “agriculturally and environmentally ethical” claims…

1. As long as more people are better off, development should proceed.

2. Humans should be responsible for the welfare of animals.

3. Animals have a right to a quality of life and protection.

4. Land owners should be free to do what they want on or with the land.

5. The world was made for man and man was made to rule & conquer earth.

alternative methods of economics relate to inclusion or exclusion of ethics
Alternative Methods of Economics Relate to Inclusion or Exclusion of Ethics
  • Positive Economics
    • evaluates “what is” (the observable)
      • the scientific method
    • objectivity is key
  • Normative Economics
    • determines/suggests “what ought” to be done
      • based on the norms/standards of society/culture
    • bias is assumed/explained in the process
the key fundamental questions of economics
The Key Fundamental Questions of Economics

1. “What” goods/services are produced?

2. “How” are goods/services produced?

3. “Who” gets benefits & costs?

NOTE: Often not discussed are related & important ethical questions such as:

--Who decides?

--Who/what/how to represent the voices of those who don’t have a voice?

--What’s fair & to whom?

sampling of agricultural environmental controversial issues with ethical dimensions
Sampling of Agricultural/Environmental Controversial Issues with Ethical Dimensions

1. Animal rights/welfare

2. Intrinsic value of nature

3. Trade issues

4. Bio-engineering

5. Development & cultural destruction

6. Population control

7. Endangered species

8. Business practices

9. Biodiversity

10.Property rights

utilitarian principles economics
Utilitarian Principles & Economics
  • Benefit Cost Analysis
    • preferred policy or choice: B > C & Net Benefits are greatest
  • Pareto Efficiency Criterion
    • policy can’t reduce the welfare of others
  • Pareto Superior
    • winners must compensate losers
  • Kaldor-Hicks Criterion
    • winners must have potential to compensate losers
efficiency of market system
Efficiency of Market System
  • Market efficiency:

Qd = Qs

MB = MC

Net Benefits maximized for private market

  • Social Benefits maximized if

MBp = MBs = MCp = MCs

market equilibrium
Market Equilibrium

S=MCp=MWTSp

Price

P1

D=MBp=MVp=MWTPp

Quantity

Q1

market failure costs
Market Failure--Costs

S’=MCs

S=MCp

Price

P2

D=MBp=MVp=MWTPp=MBs

P1

Quantity

Q2

Q1

market failure benefits
Market Failure--Benefits

S=MCp=MCs

Price

P2

D’=MBs

P1

D=MBp

Quantity

Q1

market failure
Market Failure
  • Inefficient allocation of resources
  • MBp = MCp
  • MBs = MCs
  • Sources
    • Imperfect Competition (market power)
    • Imperfect Information
    • Public Goods--property rights not assigned
    • Externalities--costs/benefits that don’t accrue to economic unit that creates them
market efficiency issues
Market Efficiency Issues
  • Equity
    • Efficiency may not be Equitable
      • Distribution may be a problem
      • “Best” is determined by Society