Very clear and simple writing.
A friend gave me a printout from the book which I was motivated to excerpt from:
|Chapter 2, Money and ethics
|But the majority of other academic economists ... have until recently taught their students: Don't confuse economics with ethics.
When you think about it, that attitude is absurd. It implies that economic understanding is not intended to help anyone to decide ... whether to do one thing rather than another; or to do what you think is good and avoid doing what you think is bad.
|Money values are values expressed quantitatively. ...
If other things are equal, we will choose to act in ways that tend towards increasing the amount of money we get and reducing the amount of money we spend. ...
|Real-life values [e.g. fairness, generosity, ecological, social, ...]
are much less concrete than money values -- much fuzzier and more difficult to define. ...
Nonetheless, widespread serious conflict between current money values and widely accepted real-life values suggests that something has gone amiss in the ... management of the money system, and that we should try to put it right.
When existing money values are widely felt to motivate us to behave in contradiction to widely accepted real-life values, we need to remember that existing money values are not objective facts of life outside human control. Money values primarily result from how the money system works.
|Conventional economists try to persuade us that that kind of disparity between money values and human values is an unavoidable outcome of an objective law of supply and demand. ...
What most economists don't recognize is that the money values that determine the outcomes of demand and supply ... are not objective outcomes of processes governed by Nature or by God. They are outcomes of how powerful people have made the money system work ... Whether and how we should change it will be an ethical decision, combining practical understanding ... with deciding the outcomes we should aim for ...
|Until that root cause of the conflict is removed, more people will continue to try to reduce the damaging social and ecological effects of using money in accordance with the existing money values, by using our own money to support ethical alternatives.
Those include fair trade, ethical consumption, ethical investment, ethical business practices and other ways of using money ethically.
|But we should recognize that these special uses of money are what environmental engineers call 'end of the pipe' responses to the real problem ... special ethical uses of money mean swimming against the direction of the prevailing financial flow, whereas what is really needed is to change the direction of the prevailing flow.
The book in pdf form is available free via:
Incidentally, Robertson does advocate the Georgist tax shift (Chapter 4):