Fred Magdoff is one of my favorite people as well as one of my favorite authors. Here is some information about him and a link to his "Modest Proposal":
Fred Magdoff is professor emeritus of plant and soil science at the University of Vermont and adjunct professor of crop and soil science at Cornell University. He writes frequently on political economy. His most recent books are The Great Financial Crisis (written with John Bellamy Foster, Monthly Review Press, 2009) and Agriculture and Food in Crisis (edited with Brian Tokar, Monthly Review Press, 2010) and What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism: A Citizen's Guide to Capitalism and the Environment (with John Bellamy Foster, Monthly Review Press, 2011).I met Fred at the 2008 Mountain Sky Conference which (see the theme below) was one of the most meaningful conferences of the very many i have attended in my lifetime. I was invited to start it off and set the tone and my knowledge of Rosen's ideas was the reason for that. Fred was a highlight. He both spoke well and was so very relevant, but also his comments were so helpful. We became entwined in re-enforcing ideas from the start. My stuff on complexity and Rosen was well received and we had some good exchanges. Read on below and we will get to Fred's latest.
Here is a partial list of the participants in that conference:
Wendell Berry,Eric Borewinkle, Charlie Brummer, Jim Cheverud, Herman Daly, Juile Douglas, Irene Eckstrand, David Ehrenfeld, Ole Faereman, Duncan Foley, Alan Guebert, James Hixson,Wes Jackson, Ben Koester, Fred Kirshenmenn, Charles Laird, Rattan Lal, Kendall Lamkey,,Don Mikulecky, Matt Nelson,Tad Patzek, Tom Rea, William Rees, Ted Schettler,Here is a kind of theme if you have not surmised it from the list above:
Gary Schwartz, (Organizer) Charlie Sing, Dave Sing, Eric Smith, Jari Stengård, Alan Templeton, Bill Vitek, Günter Wagner, Angus Wright, Kim Zerba
Mountain Sky (2008)I hope those of you who feel inclined to make comments like
How could you not have known?
What more evidence did you need that your lives, your comfortable lives, would do so much damage to ours?
Did you think you could wage war against nations without waging war against people and against he earth?
Didn't you wonder what we would drink, once you had poisoned the aquifers?
Didn't you wonder what we would breathe, once you poisoned the air?
Did you stop to ask how we would be safe, in a world poisoned by war?
Did you think it all belonged to you---this beautiful earth?
You who loved your children, did you think we could live without birdsong and swaying trees?
And if you knew, how could you not care? What could matter more to you than your children, and their babies?
How could a parent destroy what is life-giving and astonishing in her child's world?
And if you knew, and if you cared, how could you not act?
What excuses did you make?
And now, what would you have us do?
-- Excerpt from Kathleen Dean Moore's "The Pine Island Paradox," p. 118
Bullshitfor example will begin to realize that what I have been presenting here night after night for weeks is not something that mindless comments can be made about without them saying more about your ignorance than anything else. You are not making your name in the world by rudely disagreeing with or just plain questioning radical ideas and an entirely new paradigm. You are in the vast majority and that is why you are part of the problem, not the solution. The reason I struggle here and elsewhere (like Mountain Sky) is because your ideas are dead! They have caused the problem. We are struggling for a way out and we do not pretend to have all the answers. What we have discovered we know very well and we are working to share with you. Be destructive if that is what you need, but don't expect to be seen as someone with a mind if you are.
For those of you with honest doubts and criticisms I welcome your comments. I hope you understand why I wrote the words above. I remind you all that I am 76 and certainly will not have to suffer what those younger than I will. I can only try to help in my limited way.
Now back to Fred (Who were he here as write these things would be both supportive and critical. That is why I love him!)
Her eis what Fred proposes:
he world ecosystem and its people desperately need a reduction in the consumption by the richest 10%. I, therefore, propose the following programs for immediate implementation:That's it. Do we need to remind you about Jonathan Swift and the original " Modest Proposal?"A Modest Proposal:
enforce either a "no-child" or a "one-child" policy on the wealthy;
immediately introduce a 100% inheritance tax on the wealthy; and
lower the income of the wealthy by having a very modest maximum compensation (analogous to a minimum wage).
Following these prescriptions, we can rapidly reduce approximately half of all resource use and pollution in the world. The previously wealthy would then either disappear (as they die out) or live a life in which they consume at the rate of the average person in the world.
Now that we have some breathing room, let's get to work on the remaining issues to create a livable and socially just planet.
A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burden on Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick, commonly referred to as A Modest Proposal, is a Juvenalian satirical essay written and published anonymously by Jonathan Swift in 1729. Swift suggests that impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food for rich gentlemen and ladies. This satirical hyperbole mocks heartless attitudes towards the poor, as well as Irish policy in general.And so it goes! What more can I say?
In English writing, the phrase "a modest proposal" is now conventionally an allusion to this style of straight-faced satire.
Actually I can say more. Tomorrow let's talk about addiction and denial.