Democratic Forest Trusts (PDF)in Watson, Alan; Dean, Liese; Sproull, Janet, comps. 2006. Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: Eighth World Wilderness Congress Symposium; 2005 September 30-October 6; Anchorage, AK.Democratic trusts with leadership elected by citizen-members promise to solve many of the problems afflicting both traditional government and corporate ownership of forestlands.Â This article explores these issues in some depth.Complexity and the Dream of Human Control of Eco-Systems (PDF)in Watson, Alan; Dean, Liese; Sproull, Janet, comps. 2006. Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: Eighth World Wilderness Congress Symposium; 2005 September 30-October 6; Anchorage, AK.The title captures it.Â I then explore the kinds of institutions compatible with both nature and the modern world that are implied from this analysis.Rethinking the Obvious: Modernity and Living Respectfully With Nature (PDF)The Trumpeter: Journal of Ecosophy, Winter, 1997.Modernity is usually considered a wrong turn in terms of respect for and sustaining the environment.Â I argue the reality is more complex, for modernity has freed us from personal dependence on agriculture, ended the economic value of children, radically reduced the likelihood of large scale wat, and shifted much production to intellectual rather than material capital.Â This partially decouples society from nature, which gives us important opportunities as well as problems.Towards an Ecocentric Political Economy (PDF)The Trumpeter, Fall, 1996.This paper begins my effort at showing how liberal modernity can be harmonized with an ecocentric perspective on our relationship with the natural world.Â It is a corrective to much “free market environmental” literature that sacrifices Nature to money as well as to anti-liberal attacks by well-meaning but economically naÃ¯ve environmentalists.Unexpected Harmonies: Self-Organization in Liberal Modernity and Ecology (PDF)The Trumpeter, Journal of Ecosophy, 10:1, Winter 1993This is my initial paper exploring how what I term ‘evolutionary liberal’ thought can be an important means by which society and nature can be brought into greater harmony.Â The other Trumpeter papers build on it.Deep Ecology and Liberalism: The Greener Implications of Evolutionary Liberalism (PDF)Review of Politics, Fall, 1996.Liberal thought and deep ecology are usually regarded as mutually exclusive. But the “evolutionary” tradition offers a way to integrate the two through commonalties in the work of David Hume, Michael Polanyi, Arne Naess, and Aldo Leopold, providing a stronger foundation for liberalism while strengthening the case for an ecocentric ethic.(Related subjects: Ecology)Saving Western Towns: A Jeffersonian Green Proposal (PDF)in Writers on the Range, Karl Hess and John Baden, eds., University Press of Colorado, 1998.Developmental pressures in the rural and small town West involve three groups: long term residents, new arrivals, and environmentalists. Today their interests often conflict. This conflict is in part the outcome of institutions which prevent harmonizing competing interests. The concept of developmental trusts, both for rural regions and for small communities offers a means whereby these interests can be harmonized for the benefit of all concerned.(Related subjects: Politics)Social Ecology, Deep Ecology, and Liberalism (PDF)Critical Review, 6: 2-3, 1992.Murray Bookchin is considered a leading radical environmental theorist. However, his analysis is incapable of leading humankind towards a more respectful and sustainable relationship with the natural world. Criticisms of Bookchin from both the deep ecology and evolutionary liberal perspective complement one another, pointing the way towards a better understanding of how modernity relates to the environment.The paper as a whole offers an early discussion of issues that are more clearly addressed in later papers, particularly Deep Ecology and Liberalism (1996) and the three Trumpeter articles in 1997, 1996, and 1993. However, there are other ideas in the article which have not been developed more thoroughly elsewhere.
Pop!Tech 2007, like Pop!Tech 2006, offered a wonderful array of creative people doing fascinating and vitally important work in that realm where society, culture, and technology come together. One of the most important at many levels was a talk given by Dr. Victoria Hale, a scientist who first worked for the FDA then Genentech. She had only good things to say of her work at both places, with one proviso – she finally left Genentech because they were increasingly focused on research for the wealthiest fraction of the population whereas she, and many other scientists, entered medical research to assist people in general, and not just the already-have-mores.
Hale left and was “quiet” for a while as she tried to figure out what to do. Ultimately she founded the first not-for-profit pharmaceutical company, the Institute for One World Health.
Their start-up capital was not from venture capitalists who want as much money as possible on their investment, but from foundations and philanthropists.
Dr. Hale described Kala-azar is a fly borne parasitic disease killing many children in south Asia and elsewhere. Before Oneworld Health began its research, a cure cost $300, which meant most afflicted children died, especially the girls. Oneworld Health developed a $10 cure, and now the governments of India, Bangladesh and Nepal have bought enough to provide free treatment to the poor in those countries. Potentially the disease will be eliminated in these countries because the parasite will be unable to complete its life cycle.
Oneworld Health is also in the final year and a half of trials of an antimalarial drug that is also affordable. The Bill and Melinds Gates Foundation is assisting here.
Contrast Oneworld Health what I read today about Genentech on Scienceblogs. Genentech discovered a great drug for fighting colon cancer: Avastin. Happily for them it is also very expensive and profitable. Later doctors discovered its cancer fighting qualities could also be used to combat wet macular degeneration which occurs mostly in older folks (It is not the most common sort of macular degeneration, however.)
The problem (for Genentech) is that while it takes a lot of Avastin to fight colon cancer it takes very little to fight progressive blindness through wet macular degeneration. And the inner logic of Genentech, as a public corporation, necessarily puts money profit ahead of everything else. CEOs who do not do this run the risk of hostile takeovers. So Genentech decided to make a much more expensive substitute, just for the eye. They got FDA approval and market it under the name, Lucentis.
So far so good.
Lucentis would make Genentech a huge amount of money. “Hooked” reports that if everybody with macular degeneration used the hyper expensive Lucentis it would use up Medicare’s entire eye treatment budget.
The problem for Genentech is that many doctors keep using the much cheaper and just as good Avastin. So Genentech has threatened to cut off supplies of Avastin to anyone who was making it available for eye use.
Hale’s Institute for Oneworld Health is rooted in civil society, that realm of voluntary cooperation among individuals. It is a market place institution using price information as signals to more efficiently pursue goals the prices themselves do not determine. Here is where the market serves liberty.
Genentech is acting rationally as a money profit maximizer. It is a pure example of the simple values pursued by the market order trumping the complex values pursued within the market place. It is also an example of institutional sociopathy. The impersonal market order is not a realm of freedom. It is as coercive as any government. It is their all but universal failure to grasp this point that has led so many libertarians and classical liberals to do more to undermine liberty than serve it.