A practical way to a better world.

Dave Pollard has written an informative review of The Commonwealth of Life: A Treatise on Stewardship Economics by Peter G. Brown. The review and the book are important contributions to finding our way to a sustainable society and world, and are well worth reading.

Peter Brown's book was first published under the title Ethics, Economics, and International Relations, as part of the Edinburgh Studies in World Ethics. This edition is still available from Amazon.com. In July 2001 I posted a review of that edition on Amazon that I reproduce here:

If you think there's no way for business to flourish and the environment to be protected, this is the book for you. If you wonder how civic society can survive the globalization of business, this is the book for you. In this slim and readable book, Peter G. Brown, Professor at McGill University and Director of the McGill School of Environment, presents a program that can change how citizens, businesses, non-profit institutions, and governments think about, and act on, today's pressing social, environmental, economic, and political problems. He presents a moral basis for the very practical decisions required to balance the needs and rights of all life with the economic and government institutions required to secure them.

The book has three broad themes. The first asserts that the goal of universal progress for humans is best achieved by respecting these basic rights: "bodily integriy; moral, religious, and political choice; and subsistence." We need to insure that these rights are available to all humans. The second theme is that concerns for life must include the animals and plants, indeed the entire environment, with which we share the Earth. Prof. Brown calls this the "commonwealth of life" and points out that this is not a new or revolutionary idea. The third theme is that of stewardship, "our responsibility to restore, protect, and enhance the commonwealth of life." The idea of stewardship provides objectives for economics, and for the roles of individuals and governments in participating in and regulating economic activities.

Peter Brown skillfully and forcefully argues for a sensible and workable moral base upon which we can make instrumental choices regarding economic, business, government, and civic practice that provide the basic rights to all humans and enable stewardship for the commonwealth of life. No matter what one's political, religious, or practical views are on how we might achieve a humane, safe, and sustainable world, this book will provoke and challenge your ideas and your actions.

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