If Only Things Were Different

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A discussion of principles and practices which could assist in establishing a sustainable society.

From Principles

Everything Connects

Everything connects, everything influences everything else, for good or ill, and benign, as well as vicious, circles can be established. Part of lowering health care costs is cleaning up the air, which includes reducing the combustion of gas and oil by reducing the use of our cars, which in turn depends on establishing better public transit. Improving public transit, in its turn, is part of developing both alternate fuels and vehicles, and a more leisurely life-style. A more leisurely life-style would reduce stress and the illness that stress gives rise to, which brings us back to lower health care costs again.

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Beauty

Beauty, of both the natural and the civilized world, is an essential element in achieving and maintaining a sustainable society. . . .

The ideal is not a single standard of ‘artistic excellence’ as determined by academic criteria; the ideal is that we care about beauty, that we respect the work of artists because we know something about it, and that we are able to create beauty ourselves. . . .

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Work

The cornerstone of any economy is work. Not work in the abstract sense of labour, regarded merely as a cost of production, but work in the sense of an activity which has intrinsic worth for the person doing it. I distinguish, therefore, between a job, defined as anything done solely for the money it earns, and work, which is any activity done for its own sake, regardless of how much money it brings in. . . .

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In General

. . . .[we can choose] to guide our economic activities, not by such limited values as profits, costs, and cash flow, but primarily by those values which underlie all civilized behaviour, from making love to making money—personal values of honesty, good humour, patience, and compassion; aesthetic values of perspective, proportion, and harmony; and political values of equality and democracy.