Thursday, May 11, 2017

International Human Trafficking and Culpability in Complicit Response Efforts

Paul Fischer
Professor Mark Budolfson

International Human Trafficking and Culpability in Complicit Response Efforts

A broad definition of slavery confronts many contemporary understandings of the term. Today estimates of international human trafficking only demonstrate a fraction of the greater problems in global slavery as a fundamental part of industrial, manufacturing, and even employment service fraud. The costs of the epidemiology of modern slavery will be evaluated through three vectors as a function of harm to employers, to consumers, and to, the most apparent, the humanitarian dignity of slaves themselves. In order to use these costs to effectively recommend policy changes, it is necessary to point towards cogent definitions of the predicate terms to complicity and cooperation while retaining addendums for feasibility and efficacy in implementation. Macro and micro economic models both point towards a crisis in terminology to describe the potential costs of inaction to the global human subjugation that must be addressed as an industrial issue unique to the modern era of manufacturing.
In general terms, with estimates of tens of millions of slaves disproportionately distributed throughout the world, the ability of nations or international bodies to respond appropriately must be considered realistically (Ucnikova). This points towards a macro solution such as those that have been recently endorsed. Some of the greatest victories, dating to the early days of modern industrialism, such as American legislation in 1930 that prohibited all importation of products produced by slavery have actually held the slaveowners or nations with legalized or unenforced slavers individually responsible. In order to understand why this phenomenon presents a fundamental disambiguation between normative distinctions in culpability and complicity will be given.

Complicity as a Term of Moral Shame and Efficacy in Response

In a memorandum that shocked the world, the president of Harvard University at the time, Lawrence Summers, defended the acceleration of dirty industry and pollution distribution through Less Developed Countries (LDCs). In summation, he claims that such a move would minimize costs by distributing pollution and thus decreasing the odds of acute toxicity and by affecting nations with already compromised health care systems and increase productivity in developed nations by an amount unimaginable by LDC standards (Hausmann and McPherson). It should be clear that this approach focuses on the outcome from a process and not the ethical standard of the mechanisms by which the outcome occurs.
To critique this sort of bottom-line economic analysis, McPherson and Hausmann demonstrate that there is a difference between what one is willing to do and what one ought to do. This is a similar concept to the notion of conspiracy put forward in work on mass administrative murder when the crime is too great for normative judicial reactions (Osiel, 10-15). Instead, automatic insolvency of the perpetrator upon realization of the consequence determines predicate behavior such as planning or coordinations must be aggressively confronted. In the same way many police departments save money by focusing on high profile criminal cases because it can be assumed that whether confronted or not, criminals who are successful on a lower level will reoffend more seriously in a way that can be feasibly tracked, when an outcome is preventable it may be infeasible to respond to a more serious outcome.
As such the premier defense of such “mechanical solidarity” as is described in the event of mass administrative murder demonstrated in the case examples from Osiel’s work is especially apt for use in terms of modern slavery (Osiel). The two incidents share an extreme level of societal harm and are unique to modern industrial societies. The second of these two similarities will necessitate a distinct understanding and definition of the term complicity.

Culpability as Legal Term of Distributed Guilt

The responsibility for the forced and coerced labor of tens of millions of global citizens lies squarely on the capable. Genocides cannot be compared to conflicts similar per capita in ancient times, and slavery also must be viewed in absolute terms. As a response to a term that bridges the civil and political spheres, solutions to slavery must underscore cooperation in different sectors of a community. The answer is not governmental alone: “Governance emphasizes cooperation between the civil and political spheres of society, whereas government is usually thought of in terms of the formal political structure of the nation state” (Zureik, 114).
Once the crisis has been established as one of paramount importance that must be viewed in absolute terms, a definition of security is necessitated: “Human security as a complementary concept that concerns itself with human rights, protection of the environment, and guaranteeing of basic needs related to health, education, and personal needs”. This definition delineates the point at which the agency responsible for ensuring this level of safety and security for citizenry is identified: the crisis must be viewed as a military one pursuant to this new definition of security that steps outside of the bounds of personal security and was established with legislation during the war on terror. To delegate or subsume the consequences of slavery upon the population or any other form of governance violates the logical induction of security into a basic dialogue pursuant to the basic civil bonds and contract all members of a civilized society are responsible for.

Waiting for the “Invisible Hand” as a Determinant Factor in Assigning Culpability

It is be necessary to look at unsuccessful efforts to reform labor standards in nations that have long since banned slavery, but have attempted to revolutionize against industry standards that may be treated as such in today’s world. Mexican solutions to corporate exploitation have given rise to “corporatism” and seen an ideological solidarity with the worker that was unique to this country at the time. Even in comparison to Russia, where an agricultural revolution would transform the nation in coming decades, at the time of World War One, the revolutionary Mexican government was unique in the industrial focus of their constitution. Labor rights would set standards for limits on not just workplace exploitation, but also for environmental exploitation and the natural rights of citizens in that country (MacDonald, 139).
Understanding how and why the goal of protecting labor rights were compromised in the legislation also implies a subtle mechanical understanding of the tri-party political system in Mexico. Unlike the United States, with a two-party system of majority rules (gerrymandering cheating aside) and a three-way system of checks and balances, it must be argued that the Mexican constitutional protection of the worker was compromised by an inverse system. In this case, a number of policies held by the governing party, or perhaps even all of them, may not reflect the will of the majority. That guarantees an invitation for corruption and corporate influence on an executory level of the political system.
What resulted was a junta system of arbitration, termed the Juntas de Conciliation y Arbitraje intended to reflect the distinct features of Mexican politics that made recognition of the rights of the worker difficult. A logical procedure of the demonstration of rights as a forceful blow against the corporate interests bent on destroying those rights was established, but never ultimately fulfilled in practice as the revolutionaries had been promised in words. As the terminology of the legislation was lax, a loophole allowed the measure to fall behind standards of success generally warranted in such a matter of human security; rather than articulating an ultimatum as the climax of individual and collective rights, the legislation became the mechanism of mass administrative slavery as federations of ghost unions became the norm and forced an automated suppression of autonomous cultural expression in conflict with the natural solidarity originally espoused in the constitution of 1917.
Some of these unions continue to take bribes of up to a million dollars a day in a pre-negotiated contract with local law enforcement as part of an effort to circumvent the law of the land. In doing so, by implication many of the rights guaranteed in amendments to Article 123 are nullified or directly eliminated, “the official labour movement was therefore able to save the institutional bases of its power while bargaining away workers’ individual rights and traditional workplace norms” (MacDonald, 142). Obviously this includes the individual rights to associate and due to obstruction of the collective rights to bargain, strike, represent employees on behalf of unions, international treaties have been cast aside.
This is exemplified well by the violation of the 40-hour work week. Empty board rooms locked during time set aside for union meetings in these organizations obsolete the right to collect dues or to participate in boards. The outcome of judicial action is guaranteed by the contract: because there is already a “ghost” union in effect, there can be no calling of the tripartite junta conciliation and arbitrage action.
The problems described here are not unique to Mexico, and in fact there has been an international resolve to institutionalize the reality of global slavery in a fashion never before faced by the forces of good in mankind. In order for the system described above to succeed, monetary interests are critical. Realization of institutional evil was made possible by a loophole in American statutes, another democracy with a complicated and somewhat delinquent history of slavery and union movements.
The tariff act of 1930, introduced by a Republican, was intended to end American involvement in the slave trade. It had become apparent by that point that in fact following the Civil War, due to a combination of changing international politics and persistent expansion of raw and finished product importation pursuant to the “miracle” of modern industrialization, that both the economics and reality of American slavery had actually grown in a frighteningly global sense. Unfortunately, a loophole in that legislation still limited legal enforcement to the United States and this was not effectively closed or confronted through other means until 2016 when President Obama signed legislation introduced by Democrats to officially end all American involvement and profit in and from the slave trade.
It should be clear now through the logical expansion of this argument of containment and intent that the extent to which legislation has been effected is not always as directly apparent as it may seem. In fact, there are frequently trade-offs present between the stated goals and objectives of legislation and the enforceable reality of the work implicit in the work. Understanding the necessity to gain political support for a measure in addition to popular support, even in democracies, is a tricky concept it will be necessary to master in order to effectively instigate a regime of change in regards to global human slavery. These tradeoffs should be considered fundamental to the discussion rather than tangential qualifications as they occur pre-enforcement rather than post-dedication of qualified resources.

Inadequate Action is Culpability

This is a historical case, in which the outcome is apparent. Effective because of the close ties to factory environmental regulations, the detraction from initial attempts to regulate slavery and improper work conditions relies on minutiae in terminology. Reality of bribable juntas intended to protect workers today is more clear than any hypothetical analysis about actions to fight slavery.
The most apparent reality that comes to mind in the evaluation of these labor standards surfaces through analysis of the initial goals of the article, “Article 123 of the 1917 Constitution established the most progressive labor code of its time… workers rights were conceived of paternalistically and defended through a nationalist and even racial rationale” (MacDonald, 142). Opposition to these goals would have been infeasible at the time, and only “Anarchosyndicalist organizations rejected state intervention” on the topic (MacDonald, 143). They would later be joined by dark and powerful corporate interests.
It is not enough to simply embrace ideals through legislation and to cast them aside in actuality. “This coincidence of interest between capital, the state and official labour has proven decisive in safeguarding the legal latticework of corporatism well into the neoliberal era”, establishing what seems to be an appropriate delineation between the demands of workers and the exploiters (MacDonald, 156). Yet still the bribes indicate a failure of the system, the question that should be taken from this example and this section is that culpability necessitates the monetary flow normal in corruption, and regulatory action must use bureaus independent of financial, or immune to the influence of potential corruption.

Estes’ 7 fundamental Concepts:

As an act of violence currently unenforced and even supported in recent legislative actions by the GOP, a currently major political force in the USA, a review of the 7 fundamental Concepts civilization must embrace will prove useful (Ledwith):
Unity of humanity and life on Earth
Minimisation of violence
Maintenance of environmental quality
The satisfaction of minimal world welfare
Primacy of human dignity
Retention of diversity and pluralism
Universal participation

Qualifications in Action

Emancipatory Action Research - “ideological hypocrisy for community developers to resort to research methods that are based on inequality, culturally invasive relationships, while claiming an emancipatory approach… studying the way people behave without relating it to the whole person, let alone their social and political context is a dehumanising act” (Ledwith, 149). The topic must be approached with solidarity and in earnest. It can be easy to detract from the original goal with sardonic failures to identify problems. A failure in contemporary efforts to end slavery lends to a slippery slope that is as dangerous as inaction, it could be argued.

Culpability in Regulation

Actions could be effective, but taken too far could create a level of harm that outweighs the crimes currently perpetrated. Such a phenomena has been noted historically as, “A panic campaign is orchestrated by state agents of social control, supported by a media-simulated depiction of the enemy as a shadowy, external ‘other’” (Zureik, 115). This seems unlikely, but should be evaluated using an economic evaluation of the freedom indices in nations, or at least point to such an evaluation as improbable to support the objection, and indeed would probably strengthen the thesis of the paper.
Such a concern is easily addressed in the terms of slavery. The state of involuntary coercion to engage in labor is one that transgresses political rights. Instead of being viewed as a checklist of states that must all be present in order to qualify as a slave, any one of the economic, political, or social deprivations natural to the state must be viewed as qualifiable and action-worthy.

Complicity in Regulation

In noting that American and Canadian anti terrorism legislations extend beyond immediate, temporal concerns to deal with immigration and other issues of personal and public nature, we end up with ‘governance through security’” and detract from the original goals and objectives or even exacerbate targeted regions. Original goals are obscured by failures in implementation or enforcement. This is the outcome in which objectives are achieved or at least negative outcomes avoided, but the goal is overshadowed by a non-related, positive or not, change politically or otherwise that is not intended.
Pro tempore there are no grounds to assume that this would be the case, and in order to show that, legislation from 2016 that prohibited slavery by closing a loophole allowing importation of forced labor products into the USA should be cited as evidence that workable solutions can be implemented.  A potent critique or accolade of how effective such legislative measures will prove lies in the future. The question of whether a governing body who ineffectively regulates a product or more problematically actually does regulate the product but does something else as well (such as an effective policeman who only arrests people with red hats who voted for a local politician he does not like) becomes culpable or complicit in nature needs further research and theoretical expansion.

Complicity in Consumption

Consumers must be emphasized to include companies purchasing inputs from slave-owners as well as individuals who import their goods from a slave-owned factory. In turning a blind eye to slavery, consumers are becoming complicit in numerous harms. Showing that the consumer can prevent slavery expands the defacto complict behavior into culpable behavior, though with ignorance. A marginal response by consumers can be guaranteed to have efficacy in instances of corporate greed, because the corporate greed is dependent on the multitude by definition. Without a multitude being exploited, the nature of the crime would change, and an individual response can be guaranteed to be magnified by the number impacted.

Successful Solutions in Action

One effective method companies with moral considerations towards the idea that the global market has ensured that investments or products they make may contribute to slavery is to offset the negative impact they endorse or create by investing in potential solutions. In order to ensure avoidance of hypocrisy in legislative actions, immediate action on international slavery is by definition pertinent as, “Cultural diversity [and social justice] thus becomes essential for biological diversity, and histories based on local economic development offer alternatives for the future that reflect values other than consumer lifestyles: a harmonious co-existence between social justice and environmental justice” (Ledwith, 149). The top three contributing foundations or companies represent a massive share of the overall funding for those efforts that fight global slavery. One massive company, Google, has donated over 11 million dollars to fight slavery with the Google Innovation Award (Ucnikova). Currently only about 1% of the over ten billion dollars needed to eradicate global slavery is actually budgeted towards that endeavor. So rather than being just a drop in the bucket, as a company that sees nearly 5% of the nation’s GDP pass through its revenue stream, this award actually signifies a proportional contribution to fight human trafficking and slavery.
“The death of nature was fundamental to the rise of patriarchy” and it follows that the success of feminism is dependent on resurrection of environmental goals (Ledwith, 150). There should be a general understanding implicit in this definition that the protection of social justice is fundamental to protection of the environment. Sufficient evidence has been shown that this is a snowball or critical mass that are being enacted to enforce liberal ideals and that a trade-off is not the reality of the political arena in question.
There is a responsibility for more than remaining competitive in company efforts to purge associations with slavers and slaveholders. Unlike the discussion in culpability and complicity that demonstrated the legal distinction between cooperation in commercial wrongdoing and complicity, in this case the law prohibits the item being manufactured from its genesis. As a prohibited item, one might have no level of complicity or even knowledge the item is counterfeit and still be legally responsible for engaging in reckless commercial behaviors that resulted in the distribution of such a “hot” item. This terminology is used because at the root of it, slavery is stealing, a view that perhaps demonstrates under what circumstances ancient Hammurabi dictated the removal of a hand for robbery.

Hausman, D. M. and M. S. McPherson. Economic Analysis and Moral Philosophy. Cambridge University Press (1996).
Ledwith, Margaret. Community development: A critical approach. Policy Press, 2011.
MacDonald, Ian Thomas. "Negotiating Mexico’s Labour Law Reform: Corporatism, Neoliberalism and Democratic Opening." Studies in Political Economy 73, no. 1 (2004): 139-158.
Osiel, M.J. Ever again: Legal remembrance of administrative massacre. University of Pennsylvania Law Review, 144(2), (1995). 463-704.
Ucnikova, Martina. "OECD and Modern Slavery: How much aid money is spent to tackle the issue?." Anti-Trafficking Review 3 (2014).
Zureik, Elia, and Karen Hindle. "Governance, security and technology: the case of biometrics." Studies in Political Economy 73, no. 1 (2004): 113-137.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Reflections on Wilderness of the American Mind

Paul Fischer
Professor Mark Budolfson

Reflections on Wilderness of the American Mind: Introduction and Prologue

The nature of Wilderness has its roots in the Near East and took a new conceptualization with the spread of civilization to the barbarians of Europe. Primary influential factors included wilderness as a source of refuge for the purpose of religious freedom and coinciding demonization of the forces of nature located in the peripheries to human settlement. Use of the wilderness as a refuge from corrupt societal functions even lead to the excommunication of Peter Waldo, for example, in 1184. The value to such monks and seekers of religious freedom doubled as they often fostered a desire for the apostolic practices.
Of especial interest is the notion that the origins of wilderness in the Far East were fundamentally tied to the scarcity of water in the region. As the concept of wilderness as an object of fear progressed to the European winterlands, the Hebrew and Greek roots remained in words but a new fantastical folklore arose around nature. This varied dramatically based on the regional dispositions of tribes and communities. In the South a blood-drinker with anvil-sized breasts was the typification of the evil which lurked in the woods, while Northern accounts, in modern day Germany, represented a more mischievous demon who replaced others children with her own. These differences also reflect religious delineations between the regions and their ancient beliefs of the nature of good and evil.
Religious conceptualization of the Wilderness in the Far East attracted monks for an entirely different reason; ancient Chinese sought out the wilderness as intrinsic to the fundamental force of good which was believed to exist in nature. Artistic celebration of landscapes also predated Western attempts to accomplish this goal by over a thousand years. Kuo Hsi can be quoted to emphasize this point as, “haze,mist, and the haunting spirits of the mountains are what human nature seeks” (Nash, 45).

A Wilderness Condition

Both of these former approaches have been discarded with the monotonous hack of the American pioneers’ axes against the pines, oaks and redwoods of various regions of the new world. Instead a utilitarian approach to nature became adopted. What was a refuge or a goal to attain became instead a battlefield. One sewn with sawdust in place of blood and toppled crowns in place of fallen flags.
The utilitarianism of the colonization of the new world fostered an appreciation which was new to Western approaches towards nature and that filtered home to Europe (Nash, 49). This is apparent in the work of a Londoner who had not yet set foot in the New World, writing of nature: “the melanchollyest eye in the World cannot look upon it without contentment, nor content himselfe without admiration.” This was not indicative of the dominant view of nature, however, and was perhaps a remnant of a misplaced belief in the existence of a second Eden in North America.
In an era of French magnificence and the organized garden redefining the boundaries and terminology behind nature, enumeration of the cross-distinctive wilderness and garden encompasses the naval demands of a new era. Just as the etymological notion of wilderness transformed radically to include the religious communities and tribes of Europe centuries before from the Near East, the vast expanses of oceans and land once off-limits now patrolled and battled for brought serpents and savages to the forefront of European writing at the time. Finally, a new perspective was brought to the intrusion of man upon wilderness and Yale’s president wrote in 1782 that proximity to the great woods tended to regulate inhabitants (Nash, 54). Establishing the nature of social constructs in the context of exploration had been born along with the United States of America.

Romanticism of Wilderness

By the late 1700s, the conceptualization of American wilderness had ceased to be one of conceptual clarity or necessity and instead became the manifestation of fashionable restraint. It became impossible to be considered a well groomed young man or woman in Europe without experiencing the wilderness first hand. Writers at the time lamented that “by virtue of Feathered beds and warm apartments, Mankind are the great losers” and that “In vain does the mind try to roam in the midst of cultivated plains… but in this deserted region the soul delights to bury and lose itself amidst forests… to mix and confound… with the varied sublimities of Nature” (Nash, 73-75). Comparisons with such unhappy exiles as Nebuchadnezzar evolved into fulfillment of religious and spiritual abandon.
As religion reeled during this period with the introduction of the industrial era and modern scientific thought, a generation of Romantic poets found spiritual solace and religious fulfillment in the woods. Estwick Evans wrote “how great are the advantages of solitude! -How sublime is the silence of nature’s ever-active energies! There is something in the very name of wilderness, which charms the ear, and soothes the spirit of man. There is religion in it” (Nash, 80).

The American Wilderness

Religion and patriotism played together in a way that may seem inextricable by modern terms. Thomas Cole predicted the wild shores would be covered with “temple, and tower, and dome, in every variety of picturesqueness and magnificence” (Nash, 105). In this way nationalism became a fundamental part of making art change the landscape. The Hudson School of landscape painting anticipated the architectural movements that would follow it eagerly. In some cases Congress paid artists tens of thousands of dollars to preserve the transient beauty of the American Wilderness on the canvass-based medium.
Patriotism and changing fashion sensibilities in Europe regarding the nature of the dark, the dank, and the gloomy illuminated efforts to bring civilization to the American frontier. As a gentlemanly trait, it became necessary for the young to look upon the mountains, streams and forests to consider themselves a well-rounded member of Boston’s society. Still, even with the changing tide from fear of the Native American tribal presence and the terrain to an eager quest for inundation, some Europeans such as Joel T. Headley even went so far as to proclaim the Adirondacks superior to “the Alps, so celebrated in history and by all travellers and admirers of mountain landscape, cannot… present a scenery more wild, more rugged, more grand, more romantic, and more enchantingly picturesque and beautiful,” (Nash, 98).
Henry David Thoreau: Philosopher

In front of others, Henry David Thoreau demonstrated a new understanding of preservation of civilization through the wilderness. Thoreau introverted the work of the Hudson River school and affirmed the intersection that occurred with the concurrence that “man’s optimum environment is a blend of wildness and civilization” (Nash, 105). Outdated terms such as pioneer and frontier were thrown aside and the new wilderness was prepared for embrace. Instead of being purely nationalistically American, pioneer, or native, the Transcendentalists found that nature and wilderness were the domain and within the reach of every individual.
To defend the half-savage approach, American idealization of the pastoral had to be redefined through establishment of a new equality between two extremes. This is combined in the utopia of Orestes Brownson, enabling “all the individual freedom of the savage state with all the order and social harmony of the highest degree of civilization” (Nash, 117-8). He fundamentally recast the early Romantic or nationalistic type sets as work to champion civilization, “Let me live where I will… on this side is the city, on that the wilderness, and ever I am leaving the city more and more, and withdrawing into the wilderness” (Nash, 108).

Preserve the Wilderness!
By the late 1800s, historians such as Francis Parkman, Jr. of Boston began to publish books such as The California and Oregon Trail that told of the breakage of the American Wilderness. A lawyer from Albany, Samuel H. Hammond, applauded the march in classic pioneer terms, declaring around a campfire, “the march of civilization has crossed a continent… making the old wilderness blossom as a rose” (Nash, 128). What was once described as the apocalyptic awakening of a virgin continent seemed to have some use for the bridles of civilization after all.
Parkman would fervently disagree, strengthening the language used to describe the decrepit destitution of American wilderness even on his deathbed at the end fo the century. Of 1873, he wrote, “cities… hotels and gambling-houses… polygamous hordes of Mormon…  and the disenchanting screech of the locomotive … [broke] … the spell of weird mysterious mountains” (Nash, 124).
Wilderness Preserved

One of the most memorable quotes from the book is from the debate surrounding the Yellowstone Act in 1872. While the Act would later be challenged, this established one of the earliest organized political efforts to protect the wilderness in the world. In order to ensure its passage one stated “in a few years, the railroad with its iron web will bind the free forest, the lakes will lose their solitude, the deer and moose will flee to a safer resort… and men with axe and spade will work out a revolution” (Nash, 140). That is the rhetoric that established national support for the environment.
These supporters would include at least one president later. In the meantime, a congressman, George G. Vest also describes the need for a “great Breathing-place for the national Lungs” (Nash, 137). These early methods are important, as well as the establishment of environmentalism as a platform sustainable by successful politicians, even if it was not yet a mainstream condition, this could certainly be described as “watershed” argument.

John Muir: Publicizer

As one of the most conflicted figures in environmental history, John Muir successfully reassigned the transformation of the movement and helped to define the boundaries within which it would exist. He was conflicted, however, both because of his work that gained unprecedented success, and because of the converging European ideas that were reaching American conservationists. “Muir could no longer hope the reserves would remain wild” (Nash, 161), and in establishing the early environmental movement concessions had to be made, even to recognize new trends such as responsible harvesting of lumber instead of leaving land to the grip of wilderness.
Like Thoreau, “at the outset John Muir and his followers tried to keep a foot in both camps, recognizing the claims of both wilderness and Civilization to the American Wilderness” but was frustrated by the desire of Americans for expansion. As a rising power, even Yosemite National Park only won on a technicality, demonstrating a new method of environmental defense from within the woodwork to be sure, as the thirst for raw the resources of lumber and hydro drowned out the calls of such early environmentalists.

The Wilderness Cult

One of the early supporters of the wilderness was Teddy Roosevelt, who gained political support by writing about his experience working to conserve in “The Winning of the West” and campaigned widely for the newly found topic. This was part of a larger trend described earlier in which the wilderness was returning to popular mainstream culture in the United States. “Before the 1890s it was generally assumed that because the frontiersman was good… the wilderness was bad” (Nash, 186). If John Muir was the publicizer of the natural assets of the land, then Roosevelt became a champion for the effort.
Political efforts for the environment also entered a new era of deliberation, and this was demonstrated in the battle for Yosemite National Park. Ironically, as President, while giving an ear to Muir, he also spelled doom for early efforts to establish permanent protected wilderness. In order to sustain national resources such as lumber that reflected the general power of the nation, it was necessary to allow responsible harvesting and other practices that environmentalists such as Muir grew to loath.

Hetch Hetchy

Hetch Hetchy is the site of a proposed reservoir at Yosemite National park. Roosevelt’s true colors came to display here as he turned a cold shoulder to preservationists who decried the effort, and the planned motor park and dam that accompanied it. Roosevelt was like most, in that “very few favored the dam because they opposed wilderness” but instead were ignorant of the demands of the wilderness and to the risk that would be posed by the work (Nash, 205). The success in fighting this effort marked an important use of expert testimony that would become typical of not just environmental movements, but political action in general. Through catching the technicalities and exaggerations of claims in regard to the efficacy of the reservoir in addressing severe water quality issues in a nearby town, environmental leaders were able to claim an important and lasting victory.
Given the natural support of the American people, “the first task of the Preservationists was to capitalize on the wilderness cult and replace ignorance with anger” (Nash, 188). It would be a difficult task indeed to turn a few dedicated into the mainstream success that followed in coming decades.

Aldo Leopold: Prophet

Perhaps an engineer by trade, and one who took longer than most to recognize their potential, Aldo Leopold came to be known as among the most defining names in the history of the environmental movement. Like Einstein, it is probable that he would have spent his days in obscurity and performing a technical job in engineering or perhaps military work had a few articles on wildlife that he wrote had not received massive national attention in his mid-20s. He recognized a critical moment in the development of the wilderness in which “needed was a new criterion which would redefine a progressive environment as one that valued and preserved its remaining wilderness” and seized upon it to expand the goals of conservationists beyond the city parks and organized lumberjacks to include the demands of wilderness (Nash, 212).
One component of this was the incorporation of wildlife into the definition of wilderness, something that would prove important later as critics complained that wilderness had no being or beneficiary, but claims should be made on behalf of the animals there instead.

Decisions for Permanence

Leopold’s work was not lost when he passed away. Instead, innovative and groundbreaking efforts to confront the opposition remained the norm for environmentalists. The ability to use the opposition’s tools to obtain objectives is demonstrated in the Colorado River Storage Project. In addition, the use of precedent through complementary fields can be seen with the exhibition of the Dinosaur National Monument.
When an attempt was made to dam the Grand Canyon, arguments were made for the efficacy of a coal plant instead. The strength of preservationists who rallied to save the national landmark is apparent in the final verdict that, “the burden of proof… rests on the dambuilders” (Nash, 258).

Toward a Philosophy of Wilderness

Finally environmentalism had reached the mainstream political movement that composes a facet of nearly every political platform, as is the case today. Arguments still remain, such as the extent and nature of wilderness. No one argues for the existence of the movement anymore, though with the exploration of space politicians came close by claiming Mars as America’s wilderness why do we need more? With the elevated levels of carbon dioxide on that planet, it may well be the best example of how important pre-emptive environmental stewardship can be.
It is interesting to note the changes that have occurred in the movement bring up new questions, for example “with the approach of the 1990 centennial of the ending of the frontier, they began to think in more general and systematic terms. As the viewpoint that had to be answered, the modern case against wilderness deserves more scrutiny” (Nash, 263). The frontier has already closed, but somehow the wilderness remains open and it would be advisable to keep this trend the case.


Nash, Roderick. Wilderness and the American mind. Yale University Press, 2014.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Welfare, Smiley Faces (parabolas), and the Technics of Objection

Paul Fischer
Professor Mark Budolfson

Welfare, Smiley Faces (parabolas), and the Technics of Objection

  Wong makes the point that standard welfare units can be established in terms of how many life years are lived combined by the experiential hedonism. That is by comparing inter and intra species data for the ability to solve complex puzzles, achieve goals, and other trends it should be possible to create a concrete unit of any animals lost wellbeing should their life be truncated. Elucidating the way in which this can be useful for charities, militaries, policy leaders, and other people in need of research cannot be described effectively enough. Such an index is a holy grail for analysts.
  There can be no such standard welfare unit, however, because application to the real world does not satisfy the requirements for usability. Using the number provided in the study of 23 pigs who are worth one human, it is very apparent that taking the extremes, in which a whole nation were to be sacrificed in order to save a group of pigs with 23 times as many people, it is very unlikely that any human would make the sacrifice. It would take many more pigs to save the nation or justify a declaration of war against the nation plotting to harm these.
  Conversely, there are situations in which poaching necessitates the incarceration or execution of more than 23 humans. In this manner, the symbolic or economic value of a particular animal places it at a greater value than its human counterparts. Prosecuting such
violations are a critical part of maintaining biodiversity and describing the necessary actions to protect our environment.
  These two delimiting factors demonstrate two thresholds at which the standard usability of the welfare units are effective. In order to complete the work, it should be determined that there is not a further use for the measure by completing the analysis at a 25th and 75th percentile level of destruction, as might have been seen in human mortalities a plague borne by a rodent or in a declining bird population as suburban California housing developments expand. In the case of the latter, it can at least be said that many humans have expressed an eager desire to be inconvenienced in order to save a large number of animals. This paper will not delve further into this point.
  Establishment of the unit as a marginal unit does continue to make it useful. This opens it to use in marginal analyses of next unit purchasing power and to compare the value of consumer items across consumer price indices. I cannot take credit for that terminology, which fixes the error in Wong’s work, but instead must give that analysis to Mark Budolfson, my lecturer at UVM. It is too bad Wong did not do so when penning his research, or it could have been laudable from an interstudies perspective.
  One potential objection that is deftly avoided and disregarded by Wong is analogous to that raised by Deaton in response to Peter Singer’s statements regarding the value of a human life. He objects that once one is convinced the fundamental premise of an argument is correct, one must determine the complementary premise to be correct as well. In his case this referred to the efficacy of human rights’ groups to save a life in another country, where there is a low likelihood of long-term longevity, while the lives saved in this country have a high probability of long-term longevity.
  Similarly, it can be argued that there will be problems with implementation of the standard welfare unit once it is appropriately developed for use and comparison across species and populations (intra or inter species comparison can be obtained by holding the hedonic capacity or experiential capacity to one). This will not be a problem because Wong explicitly states that his number is for the purpose of measurement only. What is done with the measurement once it is obtained is up to the researcher. While it is Wong’s responsibility to note that the ratio found is a marginal value and will not work on individual or mass scales at the least, and may need adjustment through a graphical representation for larger populations, it is not within the scope of the paper to address objections such as those raised by Deaton. They argue against the efficacy of the system.