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

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

Paul Fischer
5/2017
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.

The Secret Nation: How an Economic Boom Occurred Amidst Plague and Famine

The Secret Nation: How an Economic Boom Occurred Amidst Plague and Famine

Paul Fischer

4/28/2017

Professor Katlyn Morris

Assistant Professor Jeremy Romanul

 

The Secret Nation: How an Economic Boom Occurred Amidst Plague and Famine


The nation of Somalia lost over 250,000 people in 2011 to starvation (McVeigh). In the last couple of years the rate of death has increased and the median age stands at 17 years old, a phenomenon not seen in Vermont since the 1820s. In Vermont parents moved West in search of riches; Somalia has lost the older generation to the altogether more sinister specter of death. Historical precedent and medical background of the epidemiology of oppression and deprivation must be explored to establish a successful route out of what has been described by some as a nightmare on the wrong plane.

Cholera: Neglect and Willful Exacerbation


Cholera, once contracted is deadly and inefficient or ill informed methods of treating the disease can be less effective than inaction, as was seen in a Russian outbreak during which doctors saw 1097 of 1968 patients pass away. In one report of this incident, common in European countries throughout early urbanization, it is stated that, “It will be seen that in private treatment the deaths under the Allopatric or ordinary method were 39 per cent, and under the Homeopathic little more than 9 per cent; and that in hospitals it was 56 per cent” (Wilkinson, 6). In addition to inadequate measures to fight the epidemiology of the disease, failure to diagnose it meant that the sick were frequently not brought in until they were “violently” diseased and heavily dosed with medications.

Many of the epidemiological and technical difficulties faced by such early, both rural and urban outbreaks of the disease are also present in African countries such as Somalia. Cholera is a fast acting disease and just one of several diseases that have broken out in the region in recent years. The primary means of infection are through drinking water, though once hosted, the disease can be very contagious and can spread through any droplets so the contagion can easily spread to many regions if not effectively controlled, making obstruction or inefficacy of aid efforts all the more infuriating and dangerous. The fear experienced by a young girl who awakes in a town affected by a deadly form of cholera is explicit in The Secret Garden, a novel written during the height of colonial choleric outbreaks, reading, “the cholera had broken out in its most fatal form and people were dying like flies … others had run away in terror. There was panic on every side, and dying people in the bungalows” (Burnett, 4).

Diarrhea is followed by dizziness, pain, dehydration, and ultimately mortality. Modern treatment is effective, and clean water can make a world of difference to assist in recovery. In regions affected by the worst poverty a combination of lack of resources and political structures conducive to quagmire such as Al-Shabaab, a militant group with a history of refusing access to international aid organizations, has impeded mitigation or improvement attempts (McVeigh).

Prominent among these are lack of effective treatment techniques and training as well as policies or political struggle that sets the efforts of international organizations to assist back. Such efforts are also exacerbated by lack of access to basic commodities including nutrition in a nation that has suffered an increase in the Consumer Price Index of 20% since already inflated prices following a costly civil war (FEWSNET). The causes of this situation despite falling oil prices must be further explored.

Starvation and Co-ordination with other Avoidable Harms


With drought comes food deprivation and attempts to make what little supplies are available last, including through the adulteration of clean water with potables or other contaminants. In this way, lack of access to clean water or adequate foodstuffs can initiate other public health crises including biological incidents (McVeigh).  In addition to direct mortalities, nearly 10 percent of the population of Somalia has been displaced.

Central to price fluctuations that have been demonstrated in the region has been civil conflict and sanctions imposed by Saudi Arabia. Regions inclusive of parts of Somalia such as Somaliland have seen a resurgence of economic growth, but the general region including Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia represent millions more in or near starvation and mean that neighboring assistance is not likely. Wage depression means that price fluctuations are felt more acutely now than before in combination with the forces of inflation (FEWSNET).

Direct assistance of the sort provided in the film by the Love Army is not effective, by admission of the interventionists themselves. Even though a tonne of rice only costs a fraction of the millions of dollars raised, protecting any resources costs significantly more. In the capital city of Mogadishu robberies, car bombings, and shootings are but a few of the violent encounters that have become everyday affairs.

Addressing the Issues: Root Solutions


Multiple interventions have been tried in Africa, and in Somalia international intervention dates back to the days of dictatorship. The Structural Adjustments Programs during the 1980s were interventions that appeared effective in nature, but ended up bolstering established businesses while hitting small farmers near the point of starvation the hardest (Muangi). By privatizing veterinary services, the services became out of the price range of others.

Sometimes technology can be the best tool to distribute, and the one most difficult for local intimidation factors to rob and sell back for more instruments of war. Distributed technology rights and patents also circumvent issues of distribution, of the sort that now ensures ⅓ of sub saharan children are malnourished. One example of a way this can make money appear out of seemingly overcapacity farmland is by treating animals for disease appropriately and breeding them with maximum efficiency.

To put this example in play, one can take a Boran livestock, that many Africans today breed for the purpose of using the strongest and most prolific or highest-yield livestock. A strong body is customarily associated with hardiness. In reality, however, this is not the case for the cattle, and many die as a result of infection. By breeding using modern technology to avoid early termination of such infected cattle, higher yields can be produced using smaller amounts of land. Even with the spread of this technology and others, however, there is still much work to be done and while livestock provides food and sustenance for 60% of Somalia’s population, the increase in cattle production has not satisfied the hunger demands in the country or region such that the average worker can only afford 7-12 kg of foodstuffs per day’s labor, a 10% decrease from the amounts during mass starvation (FEWSNET).

The secret nation is the unrecognized state of Somaliland. Many reforms there have been successful, most notably removing violence from the political process. By enforcing free and open elections, despite the effect of “wahhadists”, the state has given a template for success that has not been appropriately investigated. Without approval from neighboring states, the functional region does conduct independent trading with large nations such as Saudi Arabia. There are also public services that are not available in Somalia that have contributed to a relative sense of success in the area.

References:

Burnett, F. H. (2002). The secret garden. Macmillan.

FEWSNET (March and April, 2017). Somalia Livestock Price Bulletin. Famine Early Warning System Network.

McVeigh, Karen (3 February, 2017). Somalia Famine Fears Prompt U.N. Call for ‘Immediate and Massive’ Reaction. The Guardian.

Muangi, Thumbi (26 April, 2017). Better livestock policies pathway out of poverty. The Herald.

Wilkinson, James John Garth (1855). War, Cholera, and the Ministry of Health: An Appeal to Sir Benjamin Hall and the British People. Clapp.

Environmental Justice: From Cancer Alley to the Aarhus Convention

Environmental Justice: From Cancer Alley to the Aarhus Convention

Paul Fischer

4/11/2017

Teaching Assistant Jeremy Romanul

Professor Katlyn Morris

Environmental Justice: From Cancer Alley to the Aarhus Convention


One group that bears the effects of environmental pollution disproportionately are rural farm-workers. This is because protective gear does not always work and because the government is not present to ensure the efficacy of such gear. More importantly rampant illiteracy among this group in nations such as South Africa or Brazil mean that members of this group are frequently associated with a sense of hopelessness that reflects their inability to take action to better such a situation. This is a classic example of environmental injustice. Organizations in the developed world such as the Farmworker Association of Florida have taken steps to try and better fellow workers attempts to complete their work.

One such organization, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), deals with another group of the disenfranchised: the chronically poor who live in Kosovo and other Central and Eastern European areas. One study from these regions showed that 88% of the children under the age of 6 had severe lead poisoning such that immediate medical intervention was necessitated. These groups communicate through the forum of conventions, such as the 1998 Aarhus Convention, which HEAL adheres to.

Both farm workplace poisoning as well as lead poisoning are specific examples of environmental harms that can exist without groups who stand in the way of corporate or national interests. An example of benefits that can occur as a result of Environmental Justice activism includes the success of Concerned Citizens of Norco, founded by Margie Richard in 1990. The town in Louisiana is home to 120 petrochemical facilities, incinerators, and landfills and is known by Chemical Corridor or Cancer Alley. After a prolonged period of visible campaigns and a 2001 presentation in the Netherlands at the headquarters of Royal/Dutch Shell, relocation was offered to community members affected by pollution and emissions were reduced by 30%. Richard won the 2004 Goldman Environmental Prize.

One area that remains muddy is how corporations have avoided to make environmental justice concerns a fundamental pillar of economic and political considerations even in the United States, nevermind other nations with severely affected or culpable communities. NGOs are a start, but even the EPA is clearly not sufficient to adequately direct the actions of massive corporations many times the size of any government bureau or office. Because many resource of Earth are shared, and the effect of pollution is rarely contained to any one entity, it may be time for international organizations to step up in a major fashion to achieve tangible goals and objectives.

The Indian Infrastructural Bottleneck: Frustration for the Green Revolution

The Indian Infrastructural Bottleneck: Frustration for the Green Revolution

Paul Fischer

3/21/2017

Teaching Assistant Jeremy Romanul

Professor Katlyn Morris

The Indian Infrastructural Bottleneck: Frustration for the Green Revolution

The success of the Green Revolution was a moment of relief for humanitarian efforts across the globe as advances in agricultural technology allowed for the end to world hunger to momentarily be in sight. Even though global food production possibilities could still feed almost twice as many people as forecasts from previous decades expected, infrastructural bottlenecks in economic market systems continue to contribute to regional and domestic shortages. The globalized agrofood system will be examined locally as narrow interpretations of the right to life are disregarded to embrace the actuality of international treaties, covenants and commitments responsible parties including corporate entities and national governments and the implications for a larger view of effective solutions.

Use of Eastern India as a regional example of effective solutions in need of committed commodity control and redistribution will be an example of food systems in food sovereignty and food security (Morris, 101). One fundamental part of food security is the structural investment and the sources it comes from. The efficacy of public investment to open up new farmland and to allow development of private endeavors has been hotly contested. While it may appear at a first glance that private investment is growing at an adequate pace to address hunger issues in the region, microeconomic analysis has shown that in fact globalization and trade factors confound the apparent trend, and these stimuli offset the failure in certain regions of private investment to cover all of the costs associated with an optimal economic outcome (Rao, 1944).

In Latin America a movement known as La Via Campesina, characterized by “local autonomy, local markets, local production-consumption cycles, energy and technological sovereignty and farmer-to-farmer networks” (Morris, 145), has accomplished many of the goals that would sustain the goals of food sovereignty efforts in Eastern India. The difference between these and larger-scale efforts to provide adequate funding lies in the intensity of land use; increases in food supplied to local populations are estimated in the regions where the peasant and small-farmer organization is active by between two hundred and one thousand percent. Macro-steps to accomplish the same goals have been stunted in India after decades of positive change. That is not to argue the primacy of the status quo over the precedent, but instead the inferiority of the status quo to the optimal scenario of secure food resources in the region under discussion.

Recapturing the data which determines the co-ordination between public and private sector and reallocates the business which was eaten up during the rapid expansion of global trade during the 90s reveals a very close relationship between the two forms of investment. It can be taken in turn, then, that continued erosion of the sources of public funding could lead to a critical minimum that sees all forms of investment collapse into failure in the region. In order to avoid this outcome multiple steps have been taken, best classified as autonomous adaptation (Morris, 115). The transient nature of the steps which have been taken to establish such food sovereignty predicate a distinction from planned operations. The natural conclusion of whether the gains which have been made in other regions are applicable to Eastern India requires attention towards energy policy to be evaluated for practical application.

The two primary factors can be used to gauge the efficacy of measures are comprised of productivity and poverty alleviation. In these measures energy security can be seen as having a similar tradeoff identified in terms of agricultural functions (Rao, 1947). A distinct discrepancy between sustainable technological progress can be found between regions affected by excessive ratios of private investment to public investment. While some technologies, notably buses and clean water pumps, are beneficial to the environment in the region, many others are not and may not develop adequately in regions without adequate public investment.

Less intensive agricultural development also means greater overall land use, a premise that leads to Protected Area evictions and other negative outcomes or external costs for the public sector. One way to optimize outcomes would be to improve the praxis between engineers and the general public (Morris, 183). This is a way to address the examples identified by microanalysis of regions while also expanding the technical skills and profit margins of private interests into regions buoyed by the benefits of trade more fully. It can also address potential degradation of the land from overly intensive agriculture: a prime example of agricultural degradation can be found in the declining fish stocks of the Tonle Sap region in Cambodia (Morris, 185). That also demonstrates the inter-connectivity between energy and agricultural security.

The implications for agriculture do not finish with agricultural security as a result of greater facilitation between engineers and energy interests, but also extend into direct benefits for energy security as a result of intensive agriculture as well. While biofuel is not recognized as an effective solution to energy problems, in some areas development of effective mixtures can make the difference between costly shipments of fuel and near or complete energy independence. Investments in agricultural technology in India have lead to anticipated blends of 20% biodiesel and bioethanol fuels though that technology is expected to increase food imports by 5%, and food prices by .2% in accordance with the elasticity of the market. This will give a new meaning to burning the crops. More importantly the expected price of fuel is expected to change by a significant nearly 5%, making the overall equation a massive winner in the regions which benefit from the new technology, priced at around 20 billion dollars a year of private sector research investment currently (Gunatilake).

The tradeoffs and rewards which are offered by economic cases need to be handled by experts on an individual basis. Corporations and nations no longer have a choice to make mistakes in this field. In order to see the region transform for social justice and for agricultural and energy security, the effects must be taken as a sum of economic and environmental goals that neither macro approaches embodied in Eastern India nor micro approaches seen in Latin America properly address alone. Together they produce a veritably optimal outcome.

References:

Gunatilake, H., Roland-Holst, D., & Sugiyarto, G. (2014). Energy security for India: Biofuels, energy efficiency and food productivity. Energy Policy, 65, 761-767.

Morris, Katlyn S. (2015). International Environmental Studies. Cognella, University of Vermont.

Rao, C. H. (1998). Agricultural growth, sustainability and poverty alleviation: recent trends and major issues of reform. Economic and Political Weekly, 1943-1948.

The Urban Farmer

The Urban Farmer

Paul Fischer

3/21/2017

Teaching Assistant Jeremy Romanul

Professor Katlyn Morris

Karen Washington and Co-ops in Urban Areas

Urban areas such as the lower Bronx are facing a crisis in food system technology. The problem is not supply, the home of Karen Washington is located next to one of the largest suppliers of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other food products in the country, but instead of access. A number of policies, infrastructural and systemic, have seen the obesity crisis in urban areas reach a critical point in urban communities across the country outlined by the entrepreneur in a recent speech hosted by the University of Vermont at the Silver Maple Ballroom in the Davis Center. This was a presentation that spoke to me personally, as I had seen a similar effort in Montreal thrive in the once depressed Lionel-Groulx area. It is now a hotspot not just for community organic food systems and social justice programs, but also hipsters, musicians, and students.

By laying out what was at stake, diseases from heart disease to diabetes that develope at least partially as a consequence to sedentary lifestyles and obesity and then showing a successful action plan which had helped introduce a healthier manner of living in the Lower Bronx, students at the University of Vermont were able to take home a strong lesson in community planning and action. The latter of those ailments currently kill 200,000 people a year, nearly half of which are preventable, a statistic which was pointed out in the presentation. Also referenced was the estimated cost of the dramatic rise in diabetes which could see that number rise 5 to 10 fold in the coming generation. While the trends are geographical, the increase has not been and the crisis affects nearly the entire country. Digging a little deeper revealed, that because the disease involves many other disorders and affects patients for most of their life, that the estimated costs are currently nearly half a trillion dollars (almost the same size as all organized crime in the country for reference), and if action is not immediately taken, could swell to a quarter of the overall American economy (Hex, 858).

La Familia Verde Community Garden Coalition helped kickstart City Farms Market, which became the first inner city farm of its nature. Following this early success, Karen Washington was able to buy almost a couple dozen square miles upon which a full scale farm entered into operation. One notable challenged posed by local law enforcement which was overcome was a prohibition of the cultivation of bumblebees for honey due to their reputation as ferocious animals, illegal according to city ordinances intended for such creatures as lions and tigers.

That wide and, one might ironically say, vicious interpretation of the law of the land reminded me of a similar investigation into the cultivation of pigs near a subway station in Montreal. Unfortunately, that is a battle which still has to be fought, though I remember from a couple of years back, having checked out the relevant legislation when it came up in an unrelated legislative investigation into urban city ordinances, that it should be one which has a fair chance of success as well. At the time that legislation was passed, in the 1800s, cattle and other livestock were prohibited from inside city boundaries due to the actuality of collision with carriages and cutting edge research into microbiology that suggested the city’s sewage systems were woefully inadequate to deal with even the necessary horse traffic and human waste. Obviously, the prohibition was intended to be a mitigating factor with no relevance in the modern world.

Questions and answers brought up some more of the social justice issues and the geographical distribution problems of the obesity crisis. Other agricultural concerns such as the recent legalization of marijuana which has seen farmers become wealthy while .7% of the prisoners in jail who were incarcerated during prohibition were predominantly minorities also came up. This brought the question of affirmative action to the business world in a unique fashion. Finally, free Ben and Jerry’s was offered as an example of how investments in recreation can sometimes offset an indulgence, such as the flavor Maple Blondie that honored Vermont Olympian Hannah Teter. Such promotions both promote interest in athletics and in that case also provided clean water to her hometown in Kenya.

References:

Hex, N., et al. “Estimating the current and future costs of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in the UK, including direct health costs and indirect societal and productivity costs.” Diabetic Medicine 29.7 (2012): 855-862.

Washington, Karen. “Presentation at the University of Vermont Silver Maple Ballroom” The University of Vermont (2017).

A Moral Obligation of Assistance from Hardin and Deaton

A Moral Obligation of Assistance from Hardin and Deaton

Paul Fischer

2/21/2017

Professor Mark Budolfson

A Moral Obligation of Assistance from Harden and Deaton


This paper will analyze the moral obligations which exist to provide for social communication and governance factors in primitive models of economic and environmental exchange. There are multiple ways of accomplishing this goal, ad to do so logical premises will be expounded while confounding arguments are presented and summarized. Finally, the use of the Franciscan paradox and the recently revealed resolution to that paradox which had been lost for over 700 years will be used to resolve any remaining reservations in relation to the expansion of correct and dismissed outcome scenarios.


Monetary Grounds for Providing Assistance: Economy and Indifference

Deaton identifies a monetary grounds for assistance to developing nations on the basis that the cost of saving a life there runs an average of a thousand times less than a similar operation in the developed world (Deaton, 268). He then proceeds to identify four possible reason for the discrepancy in efficacy of aid provided which include moral indifference, misunderstanding, misdirection, or inefficiency or harm of the aid which is being provided (270).

This last reason is featured in Harden as primary grounds for attacking the argument. Allowing Indian populations to swell by allocating sufficient aid resources would ultimately result in the destruction of the entire population, accordingly, as the environment is degraded it is argued. The critical piece of data which is missed in this critique is the expansion of the economy with the allocation of aid, which empirically is greater than the value of the aid itself (Deaton, 273).

In order to properly analyze this topic, it is necessary to deconstruct the argument, which will draw from lecture (Budolfson, lecture). For a first example, it can be viewed as an example in which a man is walking by a drowning child. Then no effort produces a very great impact and there are virtually no qualifications, assuming bene faccii, that the aid would not be provided. This is not always the case however, so some complexity must be introduced.


Goats and the Exclusion of Monopoly

The question of competition is addressed in Harden implicitly with the discussion of illegal immigrants. To address this question, one can imagine 5 families which are competing for equal share of a pasture while maintaining maximum efficiency. The pasture, however, can only support 17 goats before the entirety of the system collapses, making the 18th goat a negative decision no matter what. It should be seen as obvious that each family would take 3 goats and raise them on the pasture.

Due to the primitive nature of this construct there can be no sharing the property; that is more realistic for real-world economic scenarios in which two industries are not compatible on the same river: the factors of production must belong to one family or the other. There are two or three fair weather solutions which maximize the solution which compromise giving the bonus goats to one or two of the families or of creating a 6th smaller family which has only two goats.

At this point, the importance of a monopoly as a factor arises. Either way, a war between the families creates a family with the extra goats as the smallest family is consumed or the largest family begins to pick off the others. Maximum efficiency is offered at the cost of enslavement of 80% of the population, assuming actions in the greatest self-interest.

The only effective way to resolve this proposal is to publicly raise the two extra goats and sacrifice them, and this effectively prevents any of the families from cheating while offering the least cost to efficiency as security against enslavement. In terms of aid this constitutes an extension of Deaton’s argument in which the economic proceeds from the previous generation using aid is used to guarantee the larger amounts of aid required by a following generation. That is an effective and airtight solution to the premises which have been offered using the logical sequences which are assumed in analysis.


Fishermen and Temporal Constraints to the Catch

Sara Ostrum offers a slight shift in the analysis by pointing to fishermen who are able to share the proceeds, which applies to microeconomic competition. In this case, monopoly is assumed as no one can effectively monitor or determine the efficacy of any group of fishermen, and the solution is found in temporal boundaries whereby the fishermen divide the amount of time spent in the the fishing zone rather than the catch or product. This introduces two new concepts in form, that of positive incentivization and of natural regulation.

Rather than affording fines or punishments to the fishermen, a coffeehouse which is the favorite place for all of the fishermen to visit serves as an incentive for them to stay out of the water when they are not permitted to fish (Ostrum, 20). This effectively prevents monopoly while standardizing the catch of individual fishermen. It would not work for the families of shepherds because a family could not raise all those goats without enslaving other families. That is an example of a slight shift in premises resulting in quite radically different optimal solutions.


The Franciscan Paradox Revisited

The lost manuscript of St. Francis of Assisi was recently discovered and presented at the University of Vermont. He was a Saint famous for becoming naked as he gave his belongings away to people in the middle of the street. While coming from a wealthy family, he had an intense conversion in 1205 and, by the time he was Stigmatized, gathered a following which included Bishops and Popes. It was well known at the time that Francisco alto Christo and that his life would touch millions for generations. Franciscan friars remain a dominant force in the Catholic Church and his teachings are holy for Christians of all denominations.

His paradox occurs after the decision to provide aid has been made. As he became more famous, he realized that the value of his power was greater than it had been even as the son of a wealthy merchant. Justifying the incentive to give as a selfless act with the reality that power can be obtained by giving gifts has become known as the Franciscan Paradox and remains the final consideration in determination of whether to donate or provide aid. The official answer was largely lost for 700 years, but the new documents provide context to the quote “we cannot fit a square into a circle every day” as part of a Franciscan prayer. Of course the temporal nature of the argument plays a critical role in interpretation of this as well: the natural solution which presents is that there will not always be times of need. Goodness of intent can be assumed, as long as the provider does not then try to expand their power by creating problems once their aid has been received.

References:

Mark Budolfson, “Environmental Ethics: Philosophy and Logic”, Spring 2017

Angus Deaton, “How to help those left behind”, in The Great Escape

Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons”, Science

Elinor Ostrom et al., “Revisiting the Commons”, Science

Indian Protected Area Evictions: Contemporary Shortages in Housing and Water Supplies

Indian Protected Area Evictions: Contemporary Shortages in Housing and Water Supplies

Paul Fischer

2/13/2017

Kaitlyn Morris

Indian Protected Area Evictions: Contemporary Shortages in Housing and Water Supplies

        From the first years in which Indian Protected Areas were established chronic problems with overcrowding and resource scarcity have created tangible difficulties for residents and authorities in such regions as have been allocated to be set aside. A veritable consequence of these obstacles to peaceable development has been one of the most tragic of the common issues facing populations. Protected areas have become inhabited by not millions but tens and hundreds of millions of people periodically, degrading both the population forced to take shelter in such wilderness as well as producing a domestication of the those lands, comprising the incidental benefits and direct objectives of the land. This is not an issue limited to India, but one which extends across Southeast Asia. Various solutions have been proposed and carried out, notably wide scale Protected Area Evictions (PAEs), and recent attempts have been made in an academic fashion to describe and quantify the scale of the degradation as a human rights and environmental catastrophe.

It will be helpful to use water shortages in order to examine PAEs as an extended function of the rights to water with many of the same trade-offs as well as potential solutions. Causes for rising water prices can range from government eviction programs in India to water privatization in Bolivia (Letnar Cernic, 317). Profit is not always a motive, and a non-governmental organization, FIAN, contaminated a river in Peru (316). In such cases the role of blame-bearer becomes of a greater focus, as many corporate or non-governmental interests wish to see governments take sole responsibility for the actions of corporations on their sovereign territory (332-3).

PAEs focus primarily on governmental involvement in the shortage of resources, in India that means land. Frequently, however, there are other acute necessities which are being met ranging from food in the rainforests to water in the desert. The involvement of corporations can occur in two ways, as a result of pollution which denies those around them water or when the price of water rises as a result of their activities, which also denies the inhabitants access to clean water. It can then be said that there are two ways that people have a right to enjoy access to water. These include entitlements and freedom (Cernik, 315). The UN has determined that freedom from micro-organisms and sufficient water for survival may be an entitlement, but in order to have freedom in access, humans must also have enough water to pursue irrigational, or other means of power consequent to the access.

It will be helpful then to return to the PAEs as an extended function of the rights to water with many of the same trade-offs as well as potential solutions. Causes for rising water prices can range from government eviction programs in India to water privatization in Bolivia (Cernic, 317). Unlike the example of the Indian PAEs, where national and international law match, the national laws on access to water in many areas has no resemblance to the freedoms and entitlements which are outlined and enforced by the UN. One solution successful amongst British corporations which can be played out on an international scale as well, is to play the dynamics of the balance of power by recognizing the external obligations of a business and ensuring that the obligations of the corporation to human rights are also met by the competing rivals of businesses responsible for the action (341).

        In particular there are unsuccessful solutions which have been examined as component to the issues within that proposed by proponents of PAEs. To understand the problem within Indian forest reserves, it is first necessary to look at the housing crisis as a function of modern human rights extant and protected in the Constitution of India in a way not completed in other countries until much more recently. This can be seen in urban areas such as Mumbai in which crowded masses produce a one billion dollar market for landowners at a massive cost to the individual rights internationally guaranteed which include “resources, capability, security, and power” each of which are explicitly stated as part of the full range of human rights from adequate housing to access to information by Amnesty International (Hohmann, 153). In India a Supreme Court Justice re-emphasized this basic human right as integral to the expansion of minimum living spaces from 225 feet per person to 400 (Hohmann, 162). Modern legislation in other countries, while less fundamental to an understanding of social and legal structures in those countries, also has created a basis by which inhabitants have a right to both rehabilitation and compensation in the event landlords in these slum areas are found to be guilty of property negligence.

        The fact that these questions are coming to the forefront of a critical effort by citizens is indicative of a scale in tragic outcomes which has not been faced in modern history that is encapsulated in the city of Mumbai. There is a natural clash between the well-heeled citizenry who hope to bring Mumbai towards becoming a world-class city and the nearly 75% who live in slums (Hohmann, 136). That is a fact which is demonstrated by firstly, the population density statistic of the 400 sq. kilometer city that holds 18 million people, of whom one third live in an area of slums approximately the size of Manhattan, or 20 sq. kilometers. Urban solutions which hold promise for use in National Forests are the rehabilitation and compensation of inhabitants rather than treating these inhabitants as illegal anyway. Another is the possibility is the enforcement of international legal standards which consider the forced relocation of the poor to be a prima facie violation of their rights of habitation (Hohmann, 172).

 

       

References:

Letnar Cernic, Jernej. “Corporate obligations under the human right to water.” (2011).

Hohmann, Jessie M. “Visions of Social Transformation and the Invocation of Human Rights in Mumbai: The Struggle for the Right to Housing.” Yale Human Rights and Development (2010).

International Environmentalism: CBD to Marine Expansion

International Environmentalism: CBD to Marine Expansion

Paul Andreas Fischer

1/31/2017

Professor Katlyn Morris

 

International Environmentalism: CBD to Marine Expansion


Sustainability efforts today are not only being led by scientists, but also by storytellers. There is still a place for scientific progress in the field, and books written by academics such as E. O. Wilson do lend both a level of credence and outreach not just to communities in America, but also in more severely impacted areas, but perhaps because of the dominance of scientific evidence the field has experienced the largest period of growth in human history. There are a few critical techniques which develop an effective agency or community in preserving the natural resources which have been made available to a government or people.

The late 1980s saw the rise of businesses compliant with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and represented an attempt by the private sector to outgrow the problems such as health consequences and ecological destruction which were being and continue to be experienced (Morris et al., 9). By protecting national rights to contaminate areas with pollutants, the CBD proved too narrow in its approach. This signified a significant improvement to early environmental efforts which relied heavily on governmental agencies to achieve specific goals such as the creation of an endangered species list and promotion of the framework for global co-operation on matters of natural concern.

None of this was lost in importance, however, and each provided important precedence for the international explosion of preserved natural resources. Beginning during the Presidencies of George Bush and Bill Clinton, the definition of protected areas was expanded to include significant amounts of marine territories. For the first time, the actions of those who hoped to conserve the environment began to match the expansion of industrial concerns.

Technically existent since 1958, with the Law of the Sea (Board OSNRC, 146), current news has seen the establishment of record marine preserves established under George W. Bush and Barack Obama in the United States. American efforts have led internationally, but a resolution in 1994 by the UN created a legal obligation for the creation of such reserves, an extremely effective measure (149). That legislation represented a trend of growth which has continued unchecked and which saw the size of marine reserves increase by ten-fold from 1970 to the date of signature.

References:


Board, Ocean Studies, and National Research Council. Marine Protected Areas: Tools for Sustaining Ocean Ecosystem. National Academies Press, 2001.

Morris, Katlyn, Nelson, Ingrid, Mendez, Ernesto, Ali, Saleem. (2015). International Environmental Studies (1st). USA: Cognella.

Form and Content in the Modern Art of Paul Andreas Fischer and John Flaxman

Form and Content in the Modern Art of Paul Andreas Fischer and John Flaxman

Paul Andreas Fischer

11/15/2016

Professor Libby Davidson

Form and Content in Modern Art


Style is the form which an artist gives to the content provided in their expression. My artistic expression can be seen in the form of an almost intentional stratification in complexity, as an illustrative quality is provided in the series of drawings which follow UVM campus through Shelburne Farms and the Ethan Allen Homestead to the Intervale and back to UVM. Silver Nickelback trees break the illustration’s contemplative power into a deft performance of nature in action and the community which encapsulates, protects, and preserves that natural bounty.

These are a combination of the fossils of nature, the trees, and water which have been dealt with in the collection. Figure 1, it can be seen that there is an expression of the elemental which is concentrated into work on leaves. These drawings have a similarity in style and presentation to the work of neoclassical artists such as John Flaxman, which is a connection that holds through the rest of the work. Simplicity in supporting lines and elimination through the curvature of interpretation, that is the complexity which lends drawing an intrinsic value of isolated value, in this neoclassical work creates a new utility in support of sculpture or graphic artistic representation shown as the artist declares to his young wife, “I am ruined for an Artist!” But in very little time, he finds that his sculptural talents are recognized after she travels to Rome with him and Banks, the greatest sculptor of the time once exclaimed, “The little man cuts us all out!” That was following some great investment in skill and labor by both the aspiring artist and those around him (Flaxman, 620-621).

In figure 2, a communication of art and style is found as nature finds itself in an almost text or storybook setting. With appropriate room for framework, it began a discovery of a style which helps to place nature in a setting with people that is communicated throughout the work. This is a simple tree by the road, and is finally one that is built appropriately.

Only describing a tree as a natural phenomenon in a setting which has been cared for by people is not the only opportunity for the style to emerge, but this artwork can also be seen to develop the conceptual ideals of charm in a familiar setting. The viewer can identify with the art in a classical sense. This is seen in a series of transformational drawings which come together as a projection of the emphasis on personal identification with the past, one of which can be seen in figure 3.

The historical connection can be seen with the accurate representation of the Charlotte Whale, found in the museum at UVM Perkins Geology Museum. A holographic T-Rex now looks over the display, which is among the earliest demonstrations of global climate shifts and the dramatic consequences for the Earth which have been impacted by them in the past and present. An error in the directionality of the head is extant and can be seen in figure 4. Due to the curvature of the spine, however, this may have been appropriate in nature to the actual position of the whale in motion in a sea once present here in Vermont.

References:

Flaxman, John. (1853). Littell’s Living Age, 37, 620-621.

Figures:

Figure 1 – Leaves by Paul Andreas Fischer

Figure 2 – Illustrated Tree by Paul Andreas Fischer 

   Figure 3 – Prehistoric Tree by Paul Andreas Fischer

Figure 4 – Charlotte Whale by Paul Andreas Fischer 

Wen Stephenson: Lobster Boat Blockade and Mainstream Activism

Wen Stephenson: Lobster Boat Blockade and Mainstream Activism

Paul Andreas Fischer

Wen Stephenson: Lobster Boat Blockade and Mainstream Activism

Prior to the completion of the Paris Climate Change Conference, Wen Stephenson, a Harvard graduate in journalism joined a panel at UVM to speak on activism and education in environmentalism. As an environmental journalist, he expressed serious frustration with his colleagues, quoting Obama that “failure to treat the greatest crisis we have ever faced with the treatment it deserves… for, I believe in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., that there is such a thing as being too late.” His speech and the panel focused on a group of activists who took a lobster-fishing boat and placed it in front of a 689’ coal freighter, the Energy Enterprise, in international waters, resulting in incarceration on charges similar to piracy in a Russian prison facility, though terror charges were avoided.
While some see environmentalists as united on various issues, Wen believes there has been a failure of mainstream environmentalism to to come to terms with the reality of climate change. More importantly, he sees himself as an “environmental abolitionist”, who holds no tolerance for attempts to prolong, ignore, or exacerbate these issues which threaten all life on Earth. This hard surface position is tempered in his work by the two activists who actually engaged in the act, one of whom, Jay O’Hara, is a lifelong Quaker. Despite the peaceful nature of the protest, when an anti-piracy vessel was called to resolve the situation, the activists could hear the ominous click of rifle being chambered and prepared for use. This was intended to be a peaceful demonstration, but by the introduction of the machinery of warfare, became one which placed a Quaker, who hold abstinence from violence as a tenet of the religious practices, in the unfortunate position of surrender to charges of violence or to engage in violence themselves.

By holding 40,000 tonnes of coal in place for a single day, economic as well as environmental impacts could be felt. These brothers in resistance to energy policies which had been proven to spell disaster had risked their lives, and spent two years in prison, to show that an individual could make a difference. It was also critical to note that the behaviours of these men were not radical. This was a rational, calculated attempt to, in the words of Thoreau, “let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine” which then spoke to the necessity of civil disobedience in fighting war, but can be here applied to make clear that at the least there was a nod to the ability of iconoclasticism to change policies, even if the economic and political structures seemed blind to some very pertinent and distinctive facts. That is to say, there is power in the people of the worldwide community to make change even as other systems of communication and regulation fail.
In order to make the point clear, Gwen ran over some of the facts which he believed made this action necessary, and even heroic. For years, 80% of the Arctic has been gone in the summer, and recently for the first time since humans have inhabited earth in their modern form, the Arctic became a swimming pool. Rather than discussing the grave implications of this astounding change, fossil fuel industrial concerns doubled down in their attempts to extract and use these resources, Gwen cites the recommendations of scientist to keep carbon emissions to one fifth the level already burned. While some speculations see the global temperature raised by as much as 3.5 degrees, a mere increase of 2 degrees will result in disastrous problems, according to reliable research. We are already there, and there have been changes in storm mitigation plans as a result of the rising sea level and changing atmosphere on Earth.
To finish, the audience’s attention was drawn to a sign which read “cambimos el sistema y no el clima” or to change everything, we need everything. This was followed by a description of work in 2006 by other environmentalist activists. Ken Ward focused on a brief description of his work to repeal the Patriot Act and saw traditional organizations fail in their attempt to meet the challenge to change, which precluded the necessity to protest. While the protest of the Iraq War was too early in his experience of an activist to break rules, the destruction of the environment encouraged him to join Jay O’Hara on this lobster boat blockade. His motives for action were distinct to other panelists who presented their work.
May McBride has worked in the environmental field for a long time. She had some similarities with Ken Ward in that her work was not fulfilling at first, and that the goals and results of early activism were frustrated and the results were not tangible. Eventually she was rewarded with a decrease in pay and a unique job: to clean rivers one at a time. This was the most fulfilling work, and more importantly the impact can be seen. Her activism has no legal recourse, is not damaging in any way, and most importantly it builds the basis upon which these larger environmental standoffs activate.
Finally, Gideon Commey works in Ghana and focuses on education. He brought down the hammer by declaring that the nature of the status quo requires the nature of dissent in conclusion from a quote from Winston Churchill that an “era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.” After the talk I had the opportunity to question him about his work in some detail.
While the United States and developed nations are among the world’s greatest polluters, the developing world also plays a role as many of these nations technologically and socially stand at a point many decades lost here. Oil is still seen as a blessing among these groups, new methods of extraction are eagerly anticipated. After being prompted, he elaborated on the necessity of using even magic to explain basic principles to people in villagers who will in all probability in the coming years either see their emissions rise dramatically or be subject to a radical change in the methodology of distribution of technology, one which has not occurred in other nations. In some cases, there are not the resources to purchase laboratory equipment or supplies, and it becomes necessary to combine the message of advanced science within social customs or even the importance of faith.
A parallel can be drawn in the industrialization of the United States which followed similar bans on such industrialization after widespread lung cancer and soot in English urban areas, which became so serious with heavy coal usage that soot even rained from the sky, leading to the invention of the umbrella. Once standards for air pollution were established which were deemed to be safe for humans seeking to avoid chemical exposure and cancer risks, similar such industrialization took hold across the world in various areas. Little did these new age industrialists ever suspect that their actions could put the health of the entire globe, and not just the residents of the big cities, at serious risk.
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