"System change is now inevitable. Either because we do something about it, or because we will be hit by climate change. '...

"We need to develop economic models that are fit for purpose. The current economic frameworks, the ones that dominate our governments, these frameworks... the current economic frameworks, the neoclassical, the market frameworks, can deal with small changes. It can tell you the difference, if a sock company puts up the price of socks, what the demand for socks will be. It cannot tell you about the sorts of system level changes we are talking about here. We would not use an understanding of laminar flow in fluid dynamics to understand turbulent flow. So why is it we are using marginal economics, small incremental change economics, to understand system level changes?"

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Orangutan's Last Stand

From the UNEP:
The management and enforcement of the protection regime in Indonesia is insufficient, and illegal activities - such as logging, hunting and mining, is rampant. The RAPPAM methodology, developed by WWF, has been used to assess the relative pressures and threats using questionnaires and workshops. Borneo and Sumatra are home to the Orangutan, and the protected areas represent vital habitat for the survival of the species.
Does Indonesia's national sovereignty trump everything else? Does Indonesia have a right to sell off its national parks, much as Texas claims to have? Do orangutans have rights? Do I have a right to live in a world where orangutans are not extinct?

I don't know, but I think that small worlds are different from big ones. Eventually obligations trump rights; the smaller the world the more so.

2 comments:

Dennis said...

Michael,

You've raised excellent points. The rain forests and the animals of our world belong to all of us because when they are gone, we will all be poorer for it. Extinction is permanent and we are giving these irreplaceble part of our world away for the transient profits and pleasures of the few. it is OUR world - it belongs to ALL of us and it isn't right.

etbnc said...

Excellent phrase: "obligations trump rights"

A couple of days ago I wrote several hundred words to try to convey that idea.

Good grief, what time and effort I could have saved if had read this blog a week earlier. (argh. oy.)

Thanks, though. It really is a concise and pithy statement of a concept that sometimes seems lost in the complexity of our modern culture: obligations trump rights.