RE: chemicals, balancing of pros vs cons
Another aspect, in my mind, other than simply balancing the economic
pros and cons concerning the use of chemicals in society, is the basic
issue of democracy. Given all the information available would the public
chose the chemical route or rather work with (unexplored) alternatives.
However at the onset of this chemical *era* the public probably wasn't
given all the pertinent facts and the trend was *pushed* by corporations
and the govt through a process of *social engineering* (we know what is
best for them- or rather for US in terms of profits) that was well tuned
up by the early 1900s.
A parallel process of social engineering was followed to establish the
automobile industry that you mention, and more recently the subsidized
aerospace and hi-tech industries- all at substantial cost to the
taxpayer and environment. An educated public and participatory democracy
may be prerequisites to develop sustainable systems.
Jeff Bump wrote:
> Watching the Frontline program on environmental chemicals, I found the EPA
> person's viewpoint interesting. I'm rather new to this whole debate, so if
> this is old stuff please forgive. My take on her position was: There is no
> doubt that synthetic chemicals have an enviromental impact and that this
> will impact human health -- but the real issue is does the positive out
> weigh the negative. Chemical use is a technology much the same as the
> automobile and as such it can do substantial harm, but it can also do
> tremendous good. The problem is that we all have potentially a different
> value assessment of what is good and what is harm, thus to get anywhere
> with the discussion it seems the whole debate needs to eventually get to an
> economic analysis. (The real question I guess is why so much attention is
> given to the economic impact of Michael Jordan and not estimates of the
> costs of lower IQs??)
> If indeed I read this correctly, am I justified in being hopeful? If he
> EPA official was steering this toward an economic analysis, some money may
> become available to put some numbers to this debate and get it translated
> into the universal language of money (or if this has been done, why was it
> not presented?). Unfortunately and despite most wishes to the contrary,
> our species doesn't generally veer from the worn path until we get a good
> swift kick in the pocketbook....
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