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We Are All Madoffs, We Are All Human - Essay Example

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The essay "We Are All Madoffs, We Are All Human" critically analyzes the article written by professor Barash. The writer of this essay suggests that Barash puts greater importance on the environment as the end, whereas true economists place human life at the end of all his endeavors…
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We Are All Madoffs, We Are All Human
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We Are All Madoffs, We Are All Human” Economics teaches us that there two basic variables or factors of production: capital and labor. With this precept of a production function, one might conclude that economics puts the production of goods and services in precedence over man; after all, man or human labor is but a factor of production. However, this “reduction” of man fails to see the bigger picture. The production of goods and services has a more profound reason than just mere consumption; it is a necessary mean for man to live and improve his conditions. It is imperative to understand then that economic development ultimately leads to human development. And thus, the crucial argument against the article written by professor Barash, entitled “We are all Madoffs”, is that it puts greater importance on the environment as the end, whereas true economists places human life as the end to all his endeavors.
There is a critical error in the assumption of the writer that we are all Madoffs simply because of “modern civilization’s exploitation of the natural environment” (Barash): The difference lies in the fact that Madoff has been exploiting other men for his own benefit. By the very mode of operation of Ponzi schemes, Madoff has no responsibility over the people under him including if they fail in their investments in the company. He also cannot be held accountable by the government because the extent of his operations depends on people getting more people, nor is he taxed for all his earnings.
We, as an economic force, utilize, and perhaps to some extent, exploit the environment and its resources. Madoff, on the other hand, exploited people for his own profit and he has completely ignored the dignity of human life. The use of resources as means to an end is justifiable because resources are there precisely to improve human conditions. Madoff and his Ponzi scheme used people as means to his own end, to improve his own condition. According to Adam Smith, we as individuals are “led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of (our) intention” (Barash). That end is the improvement of human life- and fulfilling this end makes us nothing like Madoff.
This argument about “our fundamental relationship to the natural world” can swing both ways, just as the argument of population growth can have its advantages and disadvantages. One can view population growth in a purely detrimental outlook: more needs and wants to satisfy means more produce required means more carbon emissions and pollution which eventually leads to human degradation. However, one could also see it in a more positive outlook: more people means more skilled human labor means more services offered and more gross national product which eventually leads to human prosperity. This more positive outlook in population growth is held in many countries in which the rate of job creation cannot keep up with the rate of population growth and thus many of the labor force would find jobs outside of the country.
The point of the exposition above is to prove that our fundamental relationship to our natural world is not as awful as a Ponzi scheme, exploiting other people for our own profit, and this is most true when one considers human life as the most important aspect of our natural world. When we place special importance on human life and not just our own lives, it is exactly the irresponsibility of Madoff to other humans that we condemn. After all, we all have our own lives and we can all relate when mothers and fathers take a positive outlook and try to find jobs outside their countries to support their families. When people do this, they actually perpetuate the lives of the people they love. Finally, the people we love are part of our natural world and they constitute an environment without which many of us would rather take up John Maynard Keynes in his claim that in the long run, we are all dead.
Works Cited
Barash, David. “We Are All Madoffs.” The Chronicle. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 31 August 2009. Web. 16 November 2009 Read More
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