• Bruce Rich
  • Enviornmental Forum
  • May-June 2017
  • p. 23

The paradox is that the natural law rationale, sometimes advanced domestically to justify weakening government regulation, arguably supports with greater cogency stronger environmental and social safeguards, both domestically and internationally. The challenge is whether the forces that have been unleashed through globalization — which have catalyzed the resurgence of reactionary, populist, nationalist, neo-mercantilist politics in many countries — can be constrained and guided by standards that are agreed upon and enforced. Such rules would have to be grounded in common ethical principles that societies recognize as having priority over short-term, parochial economic and political goals. The debate over natural law in the legal and economic spheres leads us to the urgency of a global ethic for longterm human well-being, indeed, an ethic for survival.

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