Re: Life Duty Death

Javilk (
24 Sep 1995 01:35:55 -0700

Howard Johnson (-; C'mon! Make love, not more. ;-) ( wrote:
: Subject: Nat. Academy of Sci. paper

You have to be DAMNED careful how you approach these goals!!! Do it
wrong, and it is an invitation to tyranny, and that always fails in the
long run!

: World population is growing at the unprecedented rate of almost 100
: million people every year, and human activities are producing major
: changes in the global environment. If current predictions of
: population growth prove accurate and patterns of human activity on
: the planet remain unchanged, science and technology may not be able
: to prevent either irreversible degradation of the environment or
: continued poverty for much of the world.

But... we never do what is predicted. Did anyone predict the
incredible of the software industry in the USA?
Of what of automobiles? The initial study Daimler Benz of Germany
funded said that they MIGHT sell a total of half a million automobiles by
1950, _IF_ they funded enough chauffer schools! Then along came Henry
Ford with a new methodology, and suddenly, most people could afford a car!
Yes, we loose perhaps 50,000 lives a year to it. What lunatic
government would, today, allow a technology that causes such hideous loss
of life???
And yet, how many sane people today, would give up their cars and
support the banning of automobiles?
FREEDOM! Freedom to judge for ourselves what risks are reasonable.
Freedom to make decisions as to how we wish to live and work. And thus,
in the aggregate, allowing us to live much better lives than our
grandparents. (We have stagnated a bit in some parts fo the country, I
will admit. Mostly, I suspect, because of government manipulation of the

: future in which life is improved worldwide through economic
: development, where local environments and the biosphere are
: protected, and science is mobilized to create new opportunities for
: human progress.

Scientists are not "mobilized" to do this. They do this because they
WANT to do this. ENTEPRENEURS step in. Many are what some would then
call former scientists and engineers who saw an opportunity to do what
they want to do AND make a buck or a million in the process. If they see
the risks as worth while, they will try the entrepreneurial task of
PRODUCING goods and services. If they do not see the risk as worth the
rewards, they will produce more paperwork that clogs up the process.
And I should point out, the brighter ones DO care A LOT about what
they will pass down to their children!

: activity, and the environment, it is not simple. Most of the
: environmental changes during the twentieth century have been a product
: of the efforts of humans to secure improved standards of food,
: clothing, shelter, comfort, and recreation. Both developed and
: developing countries have contributed to environmental degradation.

(Playing Devil's advocate,) Are we then do deny ourselves an
improvement in our well being? Must we accept the equivalent of Hillary's
health care rationing plan with the 15 year jail term for asking for more
medical care or for non-standard medical care? I know some Damned Good
doctors who nearly quit when they saw this kind of government ordained
standardization about to be shoved down their throats! And you can Bet
that a lot of would-be doctors changed their minds about what careers to
FREEDOM is what ENABLED us to live better lives! Just look at what
went on when Serious Laws were passed to prevent any kind of environmental
degradation in the planned economies of the former soviet union -- they
were ignored to meet government mandated quota's! Result -- one of the
worst ecological messes in the world!
When people are left free to do what they wish, they WILL improve not
just their lives, but the world they live in. But when something, be it
a large governmental agency, or a set of large corporations, runs shotgun
over any kind of process, the environment suffers. Oppressed peoples
care more about their own lives than those of others. Look up Masilow's
Hierarchy of Human Desires.

: In the developing countries the resource consumption per capita is
: lower, but the rapidly growing population and the pressure to develop
: their economies are leading to substantial and increasing damage to
: the local environment. This damage comes by direct pollution from
: energy use and other industrial activities, as well as by activities
: such as clearing forests and inappropriate agricultural practices.

Make that sub-optimal and I might buy it. Inappropriate? Too easy
for some dictatorial agency to begin condemning others to a bad life
style, including starving to death as the dictatorship did in Africa;
Eritrea, was it? (Don't have my map handy at the moment.) They tried to
force nomadic herders to stay put. Can't do that. Or look at Tanzania,
where they are trying to prevent nomadic animals from wandering. They too
end up dying.

: disappeared, and many more are destined to do so. Man's own prospects
: for achieving satisfactory living Standards are threatened by
: environmental deterioration, especially in the poorest countries where
: economic activities are most heavily dependent upon the quality of
: natural resources.
: engineers, a situation that makes it very difficult for them to
: participate fully in global or regional schemes to manage their own
: environment.

Are we then to impose management upon them? Will the UN?
A people have to work it out democratically. Ultimately, it depends
upon the people themselves deciding what they are willing to put up with.
If we Reach Out to the PEOPLE themselves, then we have a chance. If we
reach out to the governments, who then invariably decide what will be
imposed upon the people, the people will hate not only their government,
but us as well!

We tend to forget that in our own bad pollution days, what the people
got, was an improvement in their own life style vs what options they had
available. No one made them work in those sweat shops at the point of a
gun. (Not unless they were using illegal aliens, at least.) When we the
people could afford it, we began to improve our environment. When we
couldn't, we sacrificed it. Just remember, thos massive union forming
strikes were about being allowed to work, not about the ecology.

: environmental changes, reductions in rates of population growth can be
: accomplished through voluntary measures. Surveys in the developing
: world repeatedly reveal large amounts of unwanted childbearing. By
(Yes! Especially those dominated by religious monopolies.)
: providing people with the means to control their own fertility, family
: planning programs have major possibilities to reduce rates of
: population growth and hence to arrest environmental degradation.
: Also, unlike many other potential interventions that are typically
: specific to a particular problem, a reduction in the rate of
: population growth would affect many dimensions of environmental
: changes. Its importance is easily underestimated if attention is
: focused on one problem at a time.

Good if voluntary. Very Bad if involuntary! Looks like it is heading
towards the involuntary side. China and India already have involuntary
controls. Infanticide is high, particularly of female children.
Oddly, that could start a wave in which, over the next twenty to thirty
years, girls are more in demand and thus could, if properly educated,
wield more power. I have my doubts as to whether this will happen...

: Greater attention also needs to be given to understanding the nature
: and dimension of the word's biodiversity. Although we depend directly
: on biodiversity for sustainable productivity, we cannot even estimate
: the numbers of species or organisms -- plants, animals, fungi, and
: microorganisms -- to an order of magnitude. We do know, however, that
: the current rate of reduction in biodiversity is unparalleled over the
: past 65 million years. The loss of biodiversity is one of the fastest
: moving aspects of global change, is irreversible, and has serious
: consequences for the human prospect in the future.

How do we know this rate is unparalleled? Are you taking an average
of the 65 million years? Have you ever seen how nature swings her
pendulum back and forth rather erratically???
If you want species extinction, look at what must have happened during
the reduction of territorial ranges during the ice ages! I seriously
doubt if we could kill that many species even if we WANTED to! (More
details in another thread with a similar title some days back.)

: What are the limits of scientific contributions to the solution of
: resource and environmental problems?


: Scientific research and
: technological innovation can undoubtedly mitigate these stresses and
: facilitate a less destructive adaptation of a growing population to
: its environment. Yet, it is not prudent to rely on science and
: technology alone to solve problems created by rapid population growth,
: wasteful resource consumption, and harmful human practices.

Scientists do not develop things in a vacuum. Entrepreneurs take the
big risks, borrow the money, hire the scientists and engineers who WANT to
develop these kinds of things. And the sales and marketing people who will
promote these new ideas. Often, it is the sales and marketing people who
are shut out by other corporations via "exclusives".
Really Bright people don't want to work for governmental or large
corporate organizations if the can avoid it. And if you make it difficult
for entrepreneurs to do things, they will do elsewhere.


: The application of science and technology to global problems is a key
: component of providing a decent standard of living for a majority of
: the human race. Science and technology have an especially important
: role to play in developing countries in helping them to manage their
: resources effectively and to participate fully in worldwide
: initiatives for common benefit. Capabilities in science and
: technology must be strengthened in LDCs as a matter of urgency through
: joint initiatives from the developed and developing worlds. But
: science and technology alone are not enough. Global policies are
: urgently needed to promote more rapid economic development throughout
: the world, more environmentally benign patterns of human activity, and
: a more rapid stabilization of world population.

What we have seen over and over, is that large financial institutions
bankrolling large financial "development" projects which are often rife
with fraud, don't benefit the average person much, and fail. The
financial institutions then ask for bail-outs on the grounds that they are
too important for our nation to go under. Then we the taxpayers are
soaked to bail them out.

Providing modest loans to individuals in these countries has worked
when done with care. One method used with a lot of success, is to form a
small pool of funds and a small pool of entrepreneurs in a community. One
or two get the funds they need, with the understanding that when those are
paid back, the money goes to the others. They help each other because
they will all benefit, and so will their immediate community. And the
immediate community will certainly retain an opinion of them! What
kind, depends on their results.
In contrast, when the wealthy country gives a large loan without local
community involvement, it is too easy for those who receive the loan to
just assume that if they can't pay it back, the wealthy country can do

One other technique which worked Very Well in India, was the beaming of
agricultural television shows to villages. NASA did this with great
success. The people in the field improved their lives! Unfortunately, it
cut out some of the middlemen, cut past the political burro-crazy, and was
not renewed. Best Darned Public Relations America ever had!!!

Yes, we need to help these developing countries. But we have to do it
Very Carefully or we will be hated as the big Ugly Americans. (And Ugly
Europeans, Japanese, etc.)
You have to reach out to the individual communities and individual
people, showing them how to improve their own lives. If you show them a
way to improve their own lives while helping everyone's life, then they
will do it. You can't just tell them they can't cut down the forest;
you have to give them better alternatives.

The fundamental human right is to improve your own life! (Including
those of your family, of course.) Those who help, are friends. Those who
hinder, are enemies. The man who tells a cold starving native that he can
not cut down a tree for fuel or clear some land for crops, makes a very
bitter enemy indeed!

-J- (
Think Manageable, Think Personal, Think Responsible, Think Pagan. ---
Then take what actions may help all, and hurt none. -----------------