In the wake of a friend’s passing, I have been examining my life recently, and realized that I don’t have a very clear personal philosophy that guides my choices. So I have an initial version here and was hoping the internet would give some comments.
At the core of my philosophy is the idea that if a person is born, the right to live should not be forcibly taken away from him. The choice to decide on the fate on one’s own life should be determined by the individual. We as a society should utilize a reasonable amount of resources to ensure that this right to live is not violated by other members of society, natural events, physical and mental illnesses and society itself.
There is an idea called the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and for me the goal of society should be to maximize the total number of people who reach the highest level on this hierarchy of needs using a simple formula. I have observed from personal experience that humans have a difficult time being empathetic, in particular in that we are unable to imagine negative emotions experienced by others if we are not directly observing that. Thus, my simple formula is that each successive level has a higher value than the previous one, and the total value is determined by the number of people on that level. But you can only count people on the level where there exists no person on the levels under. Or you can understand it simpy as :
The measure of a civilization is how it treats its weakest members
I also believe in markets, in that there should be a reward mechanism for innovative work that drives down the cost of goods or services, but this idea is less important than the previous one for me. I don’t support economic activities that causes negative externalities. In the case where further ‘improvements’ or cost savings would incur negative externalities, I believe that the government should intervene and impose regulations or become the service provider. As the standard of living increases, more and more services will become accepted necessities of life, thus the companies that previously offered these services for profit making will become subject to regulations and in essence transition to utility companies over time. Thus, the role of markets is essential in driving the initial cost down, but they will need to become more regulated over time.