moral values

An important Green precept is to distinguish price (in the most extreme cases the price of life and price of Earth ) implied by participation in, and submission to, market systems, from actual underlying value to human beings. And also to distinguish both of those from any inherent value that life has apart from human attemptions at valuation or ethics.

Genuine Progress Indicator and other proposals for measuring well-being are attempts to relate values to pricing in a more systemic way. These do not however reduce all ecological choice, ethical choice, political choice or lifestyle choice to mere economic choices. Morality remains as an absolute for most people: regardless of the price offered, there are things they won't buy, won't sell, won't do. Ultimately, the modern view of morality is as individual aesthetic, contrasting with the ancient view of it as a socially defined imposition. Meanwhile, ethics has gone from meaning "character" to referring to explicit ways we argue and make a "science of morality".

Noam Chomsky comments on moral values in the wake of the U.S. presidential election, 2004 as part of his book Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance:

"we learn what we need to know about them from the business press the day after the election, reporting the "euphoria" in board rooms - not because CEOs oppose gay marriage. And from the unconcealed efforts to transfer to future generations the costs of the dedicated service of Bush planners to privilege and wealth: fiscal and environmental costs, among others, not to speak of the threat of "ultimate doom.""

"That aside, it means little to say that people vote on the basis of "moral values." The question is what they mean by the phrase. The limited indications are of some interest" in both the US and Canada, though these numbers refer to the US in 2004:

In some polls, "when the voters were asked to choose the most urgent moral crisis facing the country, 33 percent cited `greed and materialism,' 31 percent selected `poverty and economic justice,' 16 percent named abortion, and 12 percent selected gay marriage" (Pax Christi). In others, "when surveyed voters were asked to list the moral issue that most affected their vote, the Iraq war placed first at 42 percent, while 13 percent named abortion and 9 percent named gay marriage" (Zogby). Whatever voters meant, it could hardly have been the operative moral values of the administration, celebrated by the business press."

Chomsky claims also that "a careful look indicates that much the same appears to be true for Kerry voters who thought they were calling for serious attention to the economy, health, and their other concerns. As in the fake markets constructed by the PR industry, so also in the fake democracy they run, the public is hardly more than an irrelevant onlooker, apart from the appeal of carefully constructed images that have only the vaguest resemblance to reality." This is part of his critique of commercial propaganda.