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  • Robert Hinkley

Thought for the Day


Photo by Richard Miller 


Permit me to ask you a few questions: 

  • Are you comfortable living in a world driven by self-interest where behaviour is only legally forbidden when a government is able to pass a law constraining it?

  • Should all behaviour be accepted as normal and expected until government has specifically made it illegal?

  • Should our most powerful citizens be entitled to severely harm the environment or another element of the public interest so long as there is no law against it?

  • In those circumstances, what happens when the party causing the damage interferes with the democratic process to keep government from passing laws that would make their behaviour illegal?


This is our world today. Our most powerful citizens, big companies, are severely damaging the environment (e.g., the emission of significant quantities of greenhouse gases) and other elements of the public interest because (i) nothing in the law makes them stop and (ii) the companies causing the damage are able to keep the world’s various governments from taking effective action. 

 

And so, their behaviour continues, the damage accumulates, and the problem worsens. 

 

Something must be done to get us out of this predicament. Which is it? Change government to limit corporate lobbying or change the obligations of corporate directors to make them more responsible for their company's damage to the environment and other elements of the public interest?

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