NANFA-- Eco-nomics

Jeffrey Fullerton (
Tue, 14 Aug 2001 12:44:59 -0400

> Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2001 19:53:03 -0700
> From: "Jay DeLong"
> Subject: RE: NANFA-- Raiders of the Last Park (longish)
> >
> > I participated in something related to this today. My wife Ruth
> > and I joined
> > about 30 other people in Fayetteville, TN, on the Elk River to
> > move a large
> > pile of limestone slabs into the river. This is to restore habitat for an
> > endangered species, the Boulder Darter (_Etheostoma wapiti_).
> Way to go, Bruce. In a period where selfishness and greed are once again
> being touted as noble goals, you go and so something good for the world we
> share without hurting anyone else or making a profit.
My thoughtcrime for the day.

I suppose that is even a greater sin than wiping out a species?
In light of what I know about economics- condeming people for engaging
in capitalism is not unlike condeming wolves for being carnivores. Hey-
not long ago hunters were shooting then so there would be more game for
them to hunt.

I used to shrink from the study of economics because it was suposably
dull and irrelevant, but in recent years have found it it not only
interesting but very relevant to just about anything we do or the causes
we hold dear.

Economics and ecology are related- made obvious by the shared prefix.
Markets are interconnected entities like ecosystems- indeed Mary Ruwart
"Healing Our World" uses the term "Marketplace Ecosystem". If you think
about it - everything you wear, eat or possess not only came from the
earth but also was extracted or grown and harvested and processed and
transported and marketed by a complex interconnected web of people- most
of whom you will never know unless you go out of your way to track them
down. In a marketplace ecosystem individual humans take on specialized
roles similar to species in natural systems- division of labor is
unintentionally modeled after biodiversity- probably because
evolutionary pressures tend to be convergent - like water has shaped
several independant lines into similar forms - sharks- fish-
Ichthyosaurs , dolphins and submarines!

Because we depend on the market economy as much as we depend on the
natural life support systems of the planet, discarding the seemingly
useless parts can have potentially disasterous repercussions. Put too
many industries out of business and keep too many farmers from farming
and you will have an economic collapse that likely have environmental
repercussions as well.

I love fishes, herps, plants and nature in general but I cannot condemn
those farmers in the Kalamath Basin for being angry. They are not the
epitomy of greed and selfishness. They are decent, hardworking people
trying to make a living like most everyone else. Their ability to
survive is being undercut and a whole way of life is being destroyed for
the sake of a fish that is probably easy to propagate in a hatchery. I
know is not the same as perserving the population in situ but is it
really feasable or morally right to force people off the land just
because special interests who reside elsewhere want to turn it into a
wildlife refuge? If those fish are so important then the people ought to
be fairly compensated for the free market value of their land-
preferably with private money- or else the burden be borne equitably by
the taxpayers and not by the farmers alone.

Of course environmentalists have argued that the government would go
bankrupt if they did that and it is also quite likely that if farming
interests and other human activities are diverted elswhere will come up
against other species that are similarly imperiled - a butterfly here, a
toad there a bird, lizard or flower- especially given the growing
numbers of species that are being listed. And as the environmentalists
contend that it would be unfeasable to compensate people to keep them
from doing "bad things" how much can we put off limits before we can no
longer function as a society. Even environmentalists depend on the
marketplace ecosystem to get the basic necssities to sustain life and
some luxury items for sure.

Food for thought- think about what it takes to produce even the basic
necessities and then think what it would be like if you had to produce
them all yourself. Probably wouldn't leave much time and energy left
over to worry about Kalamath sucker fishes and spotted coral root


> That's truly noble.
> Same goes for you, Mr. Shute.
No arguement there.

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