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some form of regulation or better information is needed to regulate the market. Fourthly, it appears that some environmental elements are judged to be unique and valuable in their own right because of the cultural value we place on them. The market does not have mechanisms to place a price upon them, or places a socially dysfunctional price (as in the case of marketable species approaching extinction). Again, this leads to a need for regulation.
In brief, these four points may be restated as: (1) in a highly interconnected society, the decisions of some have spillovers which affect others for which there is no market mechanism; (2) the society claims in many cases a longer time perspective than individuals, and thus views a modification of the private rate of discount as being in the public interest; (3) the technological power of the society has become so large that in many cases it cannot be assumed that the environment is infinite with regards to the system in which the action is taken, so that comprehensive assessment of system effects becomes necessary; and (4) certain elements of the environment are viewed as unique and of societal value, to be protected by command and regula
tion rather than left to the mechanism of the market.
Obviously this rather neutral exposition does not do justice to the concern of many that grave and irreparable harm is being done, that life is endangered and health is impaired, indeed that we may be headed toward some ultimate catastrophe that may wipe human life from the face of the earth or bring it back to a brutish level. It is clearly beyond this paper to sort out these claims, prove them or disprove them.
They cannot all be true: some say that we will freeze to death while others hold that we will bake to death. The present author is skeptical of these predictions of doom, but it must be recognized that only one of them need be true. Thus, avocation of doom saying seems to perform a useful social function, both as a continual exploration by the imagination of the dark beyond our headlights and as extreme positions which make more feasible moderate environmental reform. Yet, for the time being at least, such highly colored and value-laden views of the environmentalists challenge our ability to sort out the elements and dimensions of our environmental situation and to place it in terms of the proper societal objectives.
The conflicts of this social goal with other social goals are particularly evident. For instance, limitations on insecticides and fertilizers will, in the absence of great technological advances, raise the costs of foods and fibers. Thus, there is a conflict between the environmental and prosperity goals. And while we would all have to pay more, this would most sharply affect those of lower income, since they must spend much larger shares of their income for food, clothing, and such basic necessities. Thus, environmental concern conflicts here with the equity objective. Similarly, environmental concern in such matters as strip mining, the Alaska pipeline, pollution from power stations such as those at Four Corners, clearly conflict with the prosperity objective. And attempts to preserve wilderness from recreational development clearly sets a conflict in quality of life between those whose cultural background has conditioned to a preference for the enjoyment of untrammeled nature in solitude and those whose culture and life-style has conditioned to prefer nature tame and companionable.
Perhaps the most striking thing about the objective of environmental integrity is that the great popular awakening to its existence, spearheaded by an apostolic vanguard, has given it too often a status as the preeminent objective, before which other social goals count for nothing. Thus, rather than tradeoffs among objectives, we are presented with a series of unchallengeable absolute imperatives. This is particularly troublesome because, as has been pointed out, most of the environmental problems are characterized by a failure of the market system. Thus the postulation of absolute imperatives points the way to command planning and governmental control and regulation as the alternative to the deficient market. It would be extremely dangerous to have this type of control exercised by a government which subjugated all other social goals to this one.
There is probably no great danger of this happening completely, but it is happening to some degree. Consider, for instance, the recent case of Fri v Sierra Club, in which the courts have upheld the literal interpretation of the provision of the Clean Air Act of 1970 that the environment may nowhere be degraded from its present levels. If this were to be enforced, it would bring to a halt virtually all development,
not only in crowded areas of low environmental quality but also
in those areas where the purity of the air signals the economic underdevelopment and poverty of their inhabitants. Clearly this would be socially and politically unendurable, and we will face either a change in the law or else semantic acrobatics in its interpretation. Similarly, the many plans for dozens of metropolitan areas recently proposed by the EPA have brought home to many that enforcement of current environmental quality laws would so profoundly affect our life-styles, the distribution of income, and our ability to earn a living, that it would almost appear that the publication of these plans is intended not for their implementation but as a demonstration of the absurdity of the commands of the law as now written. But in the meantime, it appears that the unqualified demands of some environmentalists in combination with the strategies of accommodation to their demands by the government can product instances of variable severity of the subjugation of all
other social goals to this one.
Given that we are only now learning and exploring the dimensions of this objective and our political preferences in tradeoffs with other objectives, a variety of approaches to its formulation can be seen to be taking place. We have referred above to instances in which government, principally through its legislative branch, sets norms which act as inflexible constraints. closely allied to these is the functioning of regulatory bodies with the legitimacy of expert opinion representing the public interest. In addition there are significant appeals to individual and corporate conscience for the self-regulation of their behavior. And, in close interaction, there is the development of the technique of Environmental Impact Statements, the extension of the system of hearings, and a broadening of the interpretation in the courts of standing in legal cases which has resulted in a growth of class action suits. These are all instances (to be discussed more fully in Section VI) of an ongoing process of social learning to define better this social goal and its relation to other social goals,
This national goal does not appear to play a very important role in United States territorial policy at this time, although it has done so through our history and is a significant one in many other
In our past, national policies of population distribution and transportation investment were important features of U.S. defense policy. Significant instances are the policies with respect to California and the Southwest in the face of disputes and even wars over formerly Mexican territories. Such considerations arose even as late as world War I. Similarly, comparable considerations and strategies were involved in the securing of the northern border territories from British and French interests in Canada into the nineteenth century. Such settlement policies and territorial claims have not been significant for the last two generations, except perhaps for some echoes of them in the granting of statehood to Hawaii and Alaska, and, sadly, in the herding of Japanese-Americans into concentration camps during World War II.
Since World War II the defense goal has not been trivial, but its presence has been either marginal or episodic. Soon after the war there was a temporary enthusiasm for the breaking up of urban concentrations and the dispersal of national population as a means of reducing vulnerability to atomic attack. The vast development of highways, the maintenance of railroads, and modernization of ports was at least marginally influenced by a desire to maintain a military capacity of rapid coast-to-coast mobilization of troops and supplies. More recently, related issues may have influenced some of the decisions concerning the deployment of anti-missile installations. Civil Defense evacuation planning continues to this day in attenuated form.
Today, with advances in the technology of warfare, it appears that among the major powers the dictum that the purpose of warfare is the taking and holding of territory has become obsolete. Thus today's national security considerations do not play a significant role in territorial policy. But the residue of past policies based on security present great opportunities in the pursuit of other goals. Earlier war and preparations for war have left vast amounts of land and military installations, very often at locations then strategic for military purposes, which coincide with major urban areas or areas prime for development. Thus, principally in coastal areas and in the vicinity of great cities, the United States has an abundance of real estate and installations which are obsolete or unneeded in terms of today's
military technology. Early in the first Nixon administration there were some attempts to release some of this land for civilian purposes, but there has been no follow-through. Nonetheless, these instruments of an earlier national defense goal could now have great tactical and strategic value as instruments for the pursuit of other objectives if the policy of their intelligent disposal were resumed.
National security has played a continuing role, however, in the development of scientific centers, often in association with peaceful research development. Among such are some new towns as Los Alamos and Oak Ridge, the Boston Route 128 and the Palo Alto industrial and research concentrations, the vast developments associated with Cape Kennedy (whose resulting population has been estimated at half a million), and choice of major facilities such as those at Huntsville and
In the postindustrial society public policies in scientific investment, often defense related, and its location appear center to continue and possibly to grow in importance in shaping the distribution of the nation's economic activity. Further, experience has shown that very often such investment spins off considerable private industry in terms of contractors and in terms of new products, new processes, and new services. These can often exceed the magnitude of the impetus that had been publicly provided.
A fanciful analogy suggests itself. In the past, where the processes of warfare dealt with the control of territory, and thus defense affected national growth policy largely by shoring the borders of the national territory. The transition to scientific warfare has diminished the importance of such geographic frontiers. Rather, today, the frontiers are those of advancing knowledge, and thus their territorial impact, while still substantial, is an indirect effect of advanced posts on the frontiers of knowledge. Which is to say that time is the frontier for defense, and its configuration in space is only its reflection.
Finally, defense considerations have had important downward local effects in many parts of the country in the case of closing of bases and facilities such as shipyards and armories. The local problems resulting are akin to those of localities facing the closing of a