Advantages and Disadvantages

Whenever we humans make a decision, e.g. decide what sort of power plant to build, how long to design a kettle or cellphone to last, what to do with pollutants from a manufacturing process, what to do about soil erosion, how much to fund education, what recipe to use in a TV dinner, how safe to make cars… we weigh the advantages and disadvantages. The advantages often include profit. The disadvantages often include health risks and expenses. The catch is, the advantages nearly always accrue to one party, the one proposing something and the disadvantages fall on someone else, usually people not even party to the decision making. It is a rare human who takes everyone into consideration. Thus, over and over, we make suboptimal decisions with a minor benefit to one party and a massive disadvantage to another. This defect in human psychology is at the heart of our environmental problems. We evolved when everyone involved in a decision, the band, the village, sat together around the campfire and naturally had their needs taken into account. Today, corporations ruthlessly exclude input from anyone who might not be enthusiastic about their latest proposal. They even threaten them in various ways.

~ Roedy (1948-02-04 age:70)