Government Category Explained:

Lousy government is tyrannical, corrupting, brutal, unfair, self-serving, isolated, and efficient.

I have chosen articles for this section from writers who agree with me, such as:

“The liberty of those who emit air pollutants, discharge water contaminants, or dispose of hazardous waste materials may well be increased. But those exposed to environmental degradation lose liberty. And the numbers of liberty-losers typically outnumber considerably the liberty-gainers.”

Cook, Earl Ferguson, Man, Energy, Society
Freeman.: 1976

ISBN 071670725X
Page 203

Life in a high energy society is in sharp contrast to life in a low energy society.

Family and community are subordinated to the state because most goods and services are produced outside the family and because the means of social control do not depend upon the family’s and community’s allocating status and inculcating behavior.

All goods come from production units much larger than the family and for the most part outside the community.

Jorge, Antonia.  Competition, Cooperation, Efficiency, and Social Organization.
New Jersey: 1978. ISBN 0838620264
Page 56

When we observe modern technology mixed with a “backward” human factor in an underdeveloped country, we know we must “modernize” the latter if we are to have a higher degree of economic efficiency. Unfortunately, our present knowledge is not sufficient to determine what efficiency values may be attached either to the performance of labor under various organizational alternatives or to the managerial and organizational forms that would result from the presence of different “spirits” in the human beings involved.

Steve Weinberg, “Mr. Bottomline,” On Earth Magazine
Spring 2003
Pages 34-5

John D. Graham is a brilliant theoretician who achieved tenure at Harvard when he was thirty-two. Now, at forty-six, he is the person journalists call the bush administration’s “regulatory czar.”

Every economically significant regulation drafted by every executive branch agency to carry out the laws of Congress—on power plants or forest conservation, on meat inspection or dioxin—must cross Graham’s desk before it goes into force.

He decides whether the protection is worth the price. On environmental matters, his answer is often No.

Ralph Nader, Crashing the Party.
New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2002
ISBN 0312284330

Page 32

Having lost key committee chairs and the Congress to the Republicans and Republicrats, some Washington-based environmental groups persuaded themselves that they could maneuver or outsmart polluting companies through private deals with them.

One such deal, involving the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and their West Coast representative Ralph Cavanagh, resulted in California’s electricity deregulation fiasco.

This idea was the brainstorm of John Bryson, CEO of the Southern California Edison Company and NDRC.

Bizimana, Nsekuye. “Development and Breakdown in Rwanda.”
The Myth of the Modern.

Pages 124-5

Applying the same economic criteria for judging development in Rwanda as in the West, the authorities in Kigali had reason to be pleased with the results attained up until the breakdown in 1994.

In the rural areas the quality of housing had been improved from huts to stable houses, and primary hygiene practices had been instituted.

Many industrial products (with negative effects that only became evident later) offered more comfort than the traditional way of life. More Rwandans were being educated at home and abroad, and the number of subjects taught at the national university had increased.

In fact, Rwandans were proud in claiming that Kigali had become a little European island in Rwanda.

Description of video “Ancient Futures: Learning From Ladakh
The Video Project

$19.95 (800) 4-PLANET by Liza Gross
Sierra Club magazine


What happens when modern development encroaches upon an ancient culture high in the harsh Tibetan plateau of northern India?

Not even Ladakhis—mostly Buddhists with deep spiritual ties to the earth can resist the onslaught of an increasingly global economy. This insightful case study based on Helena Norberg-Hodge’s book of the same title (published by Sierra Club Books in 1991), examines how development with its attendant seductive images of glamour and gadgets promising life free of hardship, destroys social and ecological bonds. Pollution, resource depletion, sprawl, breakdown of family and community, crime, growing economic disparity—all are crises in industrialized nations.

Jane Jacobs, The Economy of Cities.
Random House Trade; (February 1, 1970)
ISBN: 039470584X

Page 89

Today, only two cities in all of Britain remain economically vigorous and prosperous. One is London. The second is Birmingham. The others have stagnated one by one, much as Manchester did, like so many lights going out. British town planners, ironically, have regarded London and Birmingham as problems, because they are places in which much new work is added to old and thus cities that persist in growing. The British New Towns policy was specifically devised to discourage the growth of London and Birmingham and "drain it off." Birmingham's economy has remained alive and has kept up to date. Manchester's has not. Was Manchester, then, really efficient? It was indeed efficient and Birmingham was not. Manchester had acquired the efficiency of a company town. Birmingham had retained something different: a high rate of development work.

Maxwell Brodenheim, Lynched Negro

Your downcast, harlequin, defenceless face

Was turned to ashen flakes, and wavered up
In lightly shapeless impotence upon
The sprightly scandals of a morning wind,
The hands of other men fell on your breast,
Like scores of scorpions instinctively
Expelled from jungle-spots within their hearts.
Your blood, in fine quick problems, spattered out
Upon the morning air that studied them
And left complete, dry answers on your skin.

Claxton, Guy.  Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind.
U.S.A.: 1997. ISBN 0880016221
Pages 4, 5 and 6

The individuals and societies of the West have rather lost touch with the value of contemplation. Only active thinking is regarded as productive. Sitting gazing absently at your office wall or out of the classroom window is not of value. Yet many of those whom our society admires as icons of creativity and wisdom have spent much of their time doing nothing. Einstein, it is said, would frequently be found in his office At Princeton staring into space. The Dalai Lama spends hours each day in meditation. Even that paragon of penetrating insight, Sherlock Holmes, is described by his creator as entering a meditative state 'with a dreaming vacant expression in his eyes'.

There are a number of reasons why slow knowing has fallen into disuse. Partly it is due to our changing conception of, and attitude towards, time. In pre-seventeenth-century Europe a leisurely approach to thinking was much more common, and in other cultures it still is. A tribal meeting at a Maori marae can last for days, until everyone has had time to assimilate the issues, to have their say, and to form a consensus. However, the idea that time is plentiful is in many parts of the world now seen as laughably old-fashioned and self-indulgent.

Town asked to improve energy efficiency By DANIEL BARLOW
Brattleboro Reformer Thursday, March 11, 2004

BRATTLEBORO—Paul Cameron sees the $10,000 in funding he is asking for as more than just his group’s budget for the coming year—it’s an investment in the future of the community. Cameron, the head of the nonprofit group Brattleboro Climate Protection, is asking the Brattleboro Town Meeting Representatives on March 20 for the funding so that his group can continue working on a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in town.

“I look at it as a moderate investment in Brattleboro’s future,” said Cameron on Wednesday. “The result will be lower taxes, cleaner air and an improved quality of life.”

Part of an international movement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency, the local group is part of the Cities for Climate Protection campaign, an effort that has taken root in 550 local governments, including 150 in the United States. Other nearby towns that have similar groups include Burlington, Keene, N.H., and Amherst, Mass. The Brattleboro group was formed in June 2002 and has an office in the planning office at the municipal center. It has worked with town and school officials on a plan to reduce emissions in town-owned buildings and Brattleboro’s elementary schools by 20 percent over the next six years.

PRICELESS: On Knowing the Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing, by Frank Ackerman and Lisa Heinzerling,
The New Press, 270 pp., $25.95
reviewed by Osha Gray Davidson in OnEarth from the Natural Resources Defense Council, Spring 2004

A doctor, an architect, and an economist were sitting in a bar arguing over who had the most important profession. "Clearly, it's surgery," claimed the doctor. "After all, God created Eve by removing one of Adam's ribs." The architect disagreed, saying that her job was by far the most important. "Way before Adam and Eve, God built the heavens and the earth out of chaos," she insisted.

The economist leaned back in his chair, smiled, and said quietly, "And who do you think created the chaos?" The joke, of course, is that economists claim to bring order to a chaotic world. But the humor seems more apt than amusing these days, with the Bush administration shredding decades of environmental laws, often justifying its actions with an economic strategy -- cost-benefit analysis -- that seems perfectly reasonable but is in truth fundamentally flawed.

The Times of India: Efficiency cannot be placed above equity
FRIDAY, APRIL 02, 2004 COUNTERVIEW

The case against reservations in the private sector does not stand up to scrutiny as it is based on a priori notions decontextualised from social reality. One such unquestioned virtue is 'efficiency', or the pursuit of profit through optimal utilisation of resources, both material and human.

Human resources are considered to be most efficient when, in the employer's perception, they possess the qualifications to perform the specific tasks assigned to them. It is, however, far from realistic to assume that the 'best' persons are employed, since all forms of recruitment, public or private, suffer from arbitrariness and subjectivity.

Myers, David G., Ph.D. “Does Economic Growth Improve Human Morale?
Newsletter from the Center for a New American Dream 1997
Page 3

As a young man fresh out of college, I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Nepal. My one-room house had no electricity, no heat, no indoor toilet, no running water. The local diet offered little variety and virtually no meat... Yet, although my living conditions in Nepal were a bit startling at first, the most salient feature of my experience was how quickly they came to seem normal. Within a matter of weeks, I lost all sense of impoverishment. Indeed, my monthly stipend was more than most others had in my village, and with it I experienced a feeling of prosperity that I have recaptured only in recent years. [Citing Robert H Frank: “The Empty Wealth of Nations,” Unpublished manuscript, Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University, 1996.]

Blumm, Michael. “The fallacies of free market environmentalism.”
Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy

Spring92, Vol. 15, Issue 2, p371, 19p

The liberty of those who emit air pollutants, discharge water contaminants, or dispose of hazardous waste materials may well be increased. But those exposed to environmental degradation lose liberty. And the numbers of liberty-losers typically outnumber considerably the liberty-gainers. Whether aggregate liberty is gained from market transactions is difficult to ascertain, but it is clear that some of the liberty-losers pay enormous health costs….

Unfortunately, it is a fantastic myth. Markets persistently fail to produce the ecological and health information necessary to allocate efficiently environmental resources. By focusing exclusively on “willingness to pay,” markets assume the wisdom of current preferences and the fairness of existing wealth distribution. They also carve out a significant role for the judiciary, the least representative branch of government, to allocate environmental resources. For these reasons, markets cannot supplant government intervention to correct environmental market failure.

Goldsmith, Edward, et al. The Future of Progress
1995

Page 11


The economic paradigm
According to modern economics, a continuous increase in economic output is necessary, both to increase prosperity and to solve environmental and social problems. This belief, in fact, underlies the policies of every government, regardless of their position on the political spectrum. A narrowly defined criterion of economic efficiency is used to plan and administer economies, and factors that can be reduced to monetary value are given primary importance. Production choices are dictated by those who wield power in the money economy.

Page 12

The economic growth imperative compels businesses to constantly grow, to find new markets, resources, and areas of life to colonise. Products are made to wear out sooner than necessary. Marketing professionals use whatever means are available, including the creation of new 'needs', to stimulate consumer spending.

Harrington Emerson, The Twelve Principles Of Efficiency
The Engineering Magazine Co.

New York, 1919
Page 376

Woman brings a baby into the world, but men organize a million grown babies into an army; a woman feeds her infant from her own breast, but men organize a commissariat department that encircles the world; woman teaches each separate human being to rise from all fours and walk like a man, but a von Moltke speaks the word and a million men tramp in time and measure; woman chews hides and greases them and smokes them into the softest leather, out of which she cuts and sews moccasins, but men take the hides of five continents and cut them into a million pairs of shoes a week; woman spins her single thread and weaves it into cloth men run their thousand spindles and weave their miles of fabrics; woman makes tepees, but men build hundred-story-high skyscrapers, housing 20,000 people; woman croons her lullaby to her restless baby, but men organize grand opera, develop the phonograph; woman whispers to her lover at the tryst, but men by speech to multitudes secure presidential nominations and pile up for the presidency a million votes more than the triumphantly elected Cleveland; men connect their offices with all the other business offices in the country and shout their affairs across the continent, or send their danger calls two-thousand miles through the air.

Sarewitz, Daniel R.  Frontiers of Illusion
1996.

ISBN 1566394155
Page 124

The raison d’etre of both the basic research system and capitalism is the pursuit of growth of knowledge and insight in the one case, and of productivity and wealth in the other. And the key to growth in each case is the self-interested motivations of the individual—of individual scientists pursuing their curiosity and individual consumers maximizing their utility. The cumulative effect of all this selfish action is progress for all. But the analogy goes deeper, in that the rhetoric of both basic research and the free market is rooted in an efficiency ethic that gives primacy to magnitude of growth while viewing direction of growth as intrinsically unpredictable and thus outside the domain of government control. From this perspective it is the job of the government to encourage growth of the knowledge base and of the economy but not to try to influence the character of this growth in any way.

George Washington, First State of the Union Address
January 8, 1790 in New York City

I shall derive great satisfaction from a cooperation with you... in the pleasing—though arduous task --... of ensuring to our fellow citizens the blessings they have a right to expect.. from a free, efficient, and equal Government.

Mission Statement of the Million Man March
www.zmag.org/zmag/articles/dec95albert.htm

"We, the Black men and women, the organizations and persons participating in this historic Million Man March…concerned about increasing racism and the continuing commitment to white supremacy in this country; deteriorating social conditions, degradation of the environment and the impact of these on our community, the larger society, and the world…"

"We begin our challenge to corporations by rejecting the widespread notion … that corporations have no social responsibility except to maximize profit within the rules of an open and competitive market… The weight of corporations in modern life is overwhelming and their commitment to maximizing profit and technological efficiency can and often does lead to tremendous social costs such as deteriorating and dangerous working conditions, massive layoffs, harmful products projected as beneficial, environmental degradation, deindustrialization, corporate relocation, and disinvestment in social structures and development