Nearly all of the postwar technologies which have caused large-scale pollution were developed and put into use in the capitalist countries first; then, driven by profit maximization and market domination, these same technologies were sold to socialist countries. Intrinsic greed of the capitalism system is really then more of a threat to the environment than other political systems.
Economic growth and a cleaner environment are not mutually exclusive. The question of how to improve the environment while still enabling balanced or sustained economic growth remains. This balance is possible, if we carefully plan ways to use available technology to spur economic growth and solve ecological problems at the same time. The current method of controlling emissions of toxic substances antagonizes incorrect beliefs that ecology and economy are mutually exclusive elements. The main reason for an increase in pollution is due to postwar changes in the technology of production. For example, our refuse piles have dramatically increased due to an increase in disposable goods; synthetic products are used in place of natural, decomposable ones; and the amount of energy and fuel has increased dramatically to produce goods. A shift towards decomposable goods would continue economic growth, decrease garbage growth.
Whether it is through intensified media attention, or due to the efforts of prominent scientists and other members of society, we have become increasingly aware of the detrimental effects that technological advances in industry and agriculture have on the global environment.
However, as Carl Sagan points out in Pulling the Plug on Mother Earth, awareness is not enough, nor is society?s response to the catastrophic implications of environmental pollution rapid enough. Slowness to implement sound strategies are in part due to the fact that the threats we face are nebulous, since they come in the form of particles of invisible gases and radioactivity, and in part because response to pollution appears to be so costly at individual, governmental and corporate levels. It appears that great material loss, as well as visual manifestation, has been the only ways to galvanize action towards altering and limiting technologies so that adverse chemicals and substances are no longer belched into the environment.
Another WTO ruling that produced harm to the environment is the Marine Mammal Protection Act; specifically the provision that protects dolphins from being slaughtered by tuna fisherman, was found disagreeable. Ultimately, these authorized rules will determine whether the United States can prevent Great Lake water from being sold to the highest bidder or whether nations can reject imported shrimp caught in nets that catch and drown endangered sea turtles. Soon, we can expect challenges against American laws controlling pesticide use, protecting community water rights, and banning raw log exports, which save both forests and processing jobs. Not only are these ruling made upon the United States, but also in other countries worldwide. In Japan, the WTO ruled against them for refusing imports of fruit products that carry dangerous invasive species. Thus, because of these harsh rulings made by the WTO on several environmental acts, many nations are now frightened to contradict the corporations. By not proposing anymore health laws against these corporations, the environment could get worse year by year. This also gave advantages to the corporations, since this help them escape from democratic laws that regulate their activities.
Most of the maxims of justice current in the world, and commonly appealed to in its transactions, are simply instrumental to carrying into effect the principles of justice which we have now spoken of. That a person is only responsible for what he has done voluntarily, or could voluntarily have avoided; that it is unjust to condemn any person unheard; that the punishment ought to be proportioned to the offence, and the like, are maxims intended to prevent the just principle of evil for evil from being perverted to the infliction of evil without that justification. The greater part of these common maxims have come into use from the practice of courts of justice, which have been naturally led to a more complete recognition and elaboration than was likely to suggest itself to others, of the rules necessary to enable them to fulfill their double function, of inflicting punishment when due, and of awarding to each person his right.
It appears from what has been said, that justice is a name for certain moral requirements, which, regarded collectively, stand higher in the scale of social utility, and are therefore of more paramount obligation, than any others, though particular cases may occur in which some other social duty is so important, as to overrule any one of the general maxims of justice. Thus, to save a life, it may not only be allowable, but a duty, to steal, or take by force, the necessary food or medicine, or to kidnap, and compel to officiate, the only qualified medical practitioner. In such cases, as we do not call anything justice which is not a virtue, we usually say, not that justice must give way to some other moral principle, but that what is just in ordinary cases is, by reason of that other principle, not just in the particular case. By this useful accommodation of language, the character of indefeasibility attributed to justice is kept up, and we are saved from the necessity of maintaining that there can be laudable injustice.
That first of judicial virtues, impartiality, is an obligation of justice, partly for the reason last mentioned; as being a necessary condition of the fulfillment of the other obligations of justice. But this is not the only source of the exalted rank, among human obligations, of those maxims of equality and impartiality, which, both in popular estimation and in that of the most enlightened, are included among the precepts of justice. In one point of view, they may be considered as corollaries from the principles already lay down. If it is a duty to do to each according to his deserts, returning good for good as well as repressing evil by evil, it necessarily follows that we should treat all equally well (when no higher duty forbids) who have deserved equally well of us, and that society should treat all equally well who have deserved equally well of it, that is, who have deserved equally well absolutely. This is the highest abstract standard of social and distributive justice; towards which all institutions, and the efforts of all virtuous citizens, should be made in the utmost possible degree to converge. But this great moral duty rests upon a still deeper foundation, being a direct emanation from the first principle of morals, and not a mere logical corollary from secondary or derivative doctrines. It is involved in the very meaning of utility, or the Greatest Happiness Principle. That principle is a mere form of words without rational signification, unless one person?s happiness, supposed equal in degree (with the proper allowance made for kind), is counted for exactly as much as another?s. Those conditions being supplied, Bentham?s dictum, “everybody to count for one, nobody for more than one”, might be written under the principle of utility as an explanatory commentary.
There is no doubt that laws are made for a reason and the laws of a society reflect the values of that society because of tradition, necessity, and expectation. But occasionally there will be a law, which is unjust and wrong though not for everyone but say, for a group of people. If the law contradicts their high morals or religion, it is right for them to protest against it in a reasonable way. So now the question is what is that reasonable way and how to protest against an unjust law? First people have to ask themselves if there is a higher purpose, which make them to disobey it. They should look beyond the intent of the law and immediate results to see what the final result will be. It is not right to disobey an unjust law for just personal convenience. People should look at the alternatives, weigh them against what their personal beliefs may be, and then make a judgment based on their individual moral values.
20 卢梭观点： 社会和法律
Should we obey an unjust law? According to the theory of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 18th century French political philosopher, in a democratic society the state represents the general will of the citizens, and that in obeying its laws each citizen is pursuing his own real interests. Thus, in an ideal state, laws express the general will. An individual who disagrees with a law must be failing to look at things from the moral standpoint. Rousseau is talking about an ideal state where laws express people?s general will, a will that aims at the common good. But the question is: are we living in an ideal state and do all the laws of our land express the common will of the people and should we obey all the laws even if they are unjust? The answer to this question can be different for different people.