Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?: Ethics in an Era of Human_Influenced Rapid Climate Change
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In early 2009, humankind was afflicted with a global financial meltdown that, in the United States, has resulted in loss of employment for persons who had thought their jobs were secure. Many individuals who already retired or are approaching retirement found that a plunging stock market had made a more secure retirement plan much less secure. A number of corporations and other institutions had such poor management that the US government had to provide "bailout funds," which have helped corporations and instiutions avoid bankruptcy. Some failing financial institutions that received "bailout funds" because they were "too big to allow them to fail" (since failure would disrupt the global economic system) gave huge bonuses to their top officers, which angered US taxpayers and politicians. However, no moral outrage was voiced when "toxic paper" mortgages were given to citizens who could not afford the house they were buying. Nor was the ethical outrage widespread when anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions continued rapid increases, endangering both present and future generations. How did humankind get in these unenvialble situations? Would a better grounding in ethics have prevented these and other tragic situations?