Ethic of empowerment

Hello everyone,

From the book Thank You for Being Late by Thomas Friedman.

This is the challenge before humanity, now, right now, and it is for this generation. We could rebuild Europe after World War II, rebuild on the site of the World Trade Center, and even rebuild the economy after the 1929 and 2008 crashes, but if we cross Mother Nature’s planetary boundaries, there are things that can never be rebuilt. We cannot rebuild the Greenland ice sheet, the Amazon rain forest, or the Great Barrier Reef. The same is true of the rhinos, macaws, and orangutans. No 3-D printer will bring them back to life.

That’s why the only way to confront these compounding threats before they tip the wrong way is with a compounding commitment to stewardship, a compounding willingness to act collectively to do compounding research and make compounding investments in clean energy production and more efficient consumption, along with a will-ingness, at least in America, to impose a carbon tax to get compounding investments in clean power and efficiency, plus a compounding commitment to women’s education and an ethic of empowerment everywhere. Without compounding, multiplicative commitments along all these fronts that are commensurate with the magnitude of the challenge we face, we stand no chance—zero—of preserving a stable planet when there will be so many more people, armed with so many more powerful tools, propelled by a supernova.

Supernova is Mr. Friedman’s term for cloud technologies.

What does “ethic of empowerment” refer to: some legal rights and freedoms or expanding people’s ability to do more different things by using modern technologies?

Thank you.


The stress here indicated by ‘ethic of empowerment’ is to indicate that nations have to adopt a moral attitude towards the damage they do to the environment with new technology. In other words we should hail new developments but at the same time we should heed our inner conscience as to what is morally right or wrong.



Thank you, Alan, everything is clear now.

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