Thursday, July 02, 2009

Reith Lectures 2009


In a follow up to the closely-related Leith Lectures (snigger) we have this year's Reith Lectures. I heard the last lecture on the radio the other day and its bloody good stuff. However, I have significant issues with Michael Sandel's out-of-hand rejection of technocracy. I think his criticisms are entirely worthy of the flawed technocracys he described but rejecting the underlying rationale behind attempting to place monetary values upon ecosystem services is bizarre. Just because many attempts to value ecosystem services fail hugely because of the complexity of the systems involved doesn't mean the practice should be rejected. It means that substantial research dollars need to be assigned to this field of research to hone it and develop accurate numbers to use when making decisions over the conservation and defence of ecosystem services and functions.

Alternatively we could deploy precautionary policy requiring regular assessment of indices of function and service provision and the exclusion of anthropic activity in any area where such systems are determined to be significantly compromised. Yeah, cos that will ever happen.

Finally, and most likely, we could just not care about long-term preservation of the systems that support life and compensate for our incredibly unnatural lifestyles and just let them degrade to the point that our way of life becomes intangible and society implodes. That's the choice of the grey parties.

No. I'm not drunk. No. Not at all.

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