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1) There are a set of problems and challenges and opportunities and potentials that we face as a society.

2) In terms of our economic system, they can be summed up in terms of robustness, fairness, and sustainability.

3) In broader terms, they can be summed up as the desire to create as much and as many opportunities to prosper and thrive as possible, that those opportunities be as widely available as possible with as few unfair advantages and disadvantages as possible, and that those opportunities be available in the future as well as the present (we want to be fair to future generations).

4) Reality imposes certain somewhat but imperfectly understood limits on our ability to confront these problems, challenges, opportunities, and potentials.

5) Starting with assumptions about what can’t be done, or what must be done, or why it is impossible or violates some arbitrary moral imperative to address any of those problems, challenges, opportunities and potentials imposes an artificial constraint rather than a naturally arising constraint, a presumed incapacity rather than an encountered incapacity.

6) There is no moral rationalization for why, all other things being equal, human impoverishment and the various burdens that come with it should be considered preferable to its absence.

7) There is no moral rationalization for why, all other things being equal, social injustices (i.e., systematic inequalities of opportunity to thrive) should be considered preferable to their absence.

8) Economics is the systematic study of how various factors affect these various dimensions of the production of “utility” (a broader concept than wealth, but similar in meaning) including robustness (more aggregate utility), fairness (more equitable distribution of the opportunity to produce and partake of utility), and sustainability (a system for the production of utility which can endure indefinitely).

9) Politics is the process by which public policies are arrived at affecting, among other things, our system for the production and distribution of utility.

10) There is nothing inherent to our economic or political systems that precludes contemplating how to confront and address any of the problems, challenges, opportunities, or potentials that are identified above.

11) The study of economics does not lead to any clear and indisputable conclusion that it is impossible to confront and address any of the problems, challenges, opportunities or potentials listed above.

12) When specific questions concerning the best policy for addressing the problems, challenges, opportunities or potentials listed above arise, there should be no a priori assumptions about what that best policy is or what alternatives can and can’t be considered and examined.

13) When such questions arise, all participants in the public discourse regarding them should draw on the relevant disciplines to the greatest extent possible, and should examine the empirical evidence to determine what the best policy would be.

14) Opposing parties in debates that arise as a result should focus on the same goals (as outlined above), considering only the balance of priorities among them and the means for attaining them (or of demonstrating through a cost-benefit analysis that attaining one or more of them is prohibitively costly).

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