Devin T. Stewart at the Carnegie Council’s blog, Policy Innovations, argues that “instilling the practice of ethical capitalism is possible and practical,” but that “the Obama Administration has a big job ahead in reminding the American people of their ethical roots.”

Global human civilization has all the moral tools it needs. As Peter David Pedersen of E-Square has noted, we neither have the time nor the need for another ideology or “ism.” Ethical principles that emphasize reciprocal rights and responsibilities have long characterized human societies. The Golden Rule is a feature of more than 100 world religious and cultural canons—“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”


If the Golden Rule acts to codify one’s rights and responsibilities toward others, the principle of the Golden Mean helps them to be achieved. As a key concept in Chinese, Greek, and Indian philosophy, the Golden Mean emphasizes tolerance, moderation, and pluralism. Aristotle’s maxim “nothing in excess” and Confucius’s idea of equilibrium speak to modern concepts of sustainable living.

In the 1980s, the Brundtland Commission presented sustainability as an integration of economic, social, and environmental spheres to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This is simply a special case of the Golden Rule: Do unto future generations as you would have them do unto you.

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