From: Scott Chase (email@example.com)
Date: Tue 09 Sep 2003 - 06:13:07 GMT
>From: "Lawrence DeBivort" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: RE: Norplant as social engineering device?
>Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2003 01:32:53 -0400
>Good example, thanks, Scott.
>In the mid and late 70s, Technology Assessment (TA) was explored
>aggressively by the National Science Foundation and other organizations.
>idea and hope was that by studying secondary and tertiary effects
>one might avoid the pitfalls that seemed to plague well-meaning social
>engineering. The Aswan Dam had been a salutatory example, one that
>could accept because it was a 'Soviet' project. It also became clear to
>non-chauvinistic Americans that Americans too might make such social
>engineering mistakes. Demonstration TA projects suggested that even with
>most thoughtful looks at effects, society was complex enough that
>the consequences of a social policy (or of a technology) was very
>Complex models were developed, using the increasingly available computers,
>to establish base-lines of societal variables, against which developmental
>scenarios might be assayed and otherwise unidentifiable effects detected.
>For example, EPA developed the massive SEAS model, which, as far as I know,
>never rendered a practical result. (If anyone knows different, I would be
>delighted to know it....) It was an Leontiev input-output model of the US
>economy, showing material transfers among sectors, and included
>waste/pollutants. Very ambitious, and a lot of hope was held out for it.
>If anything, the degree of care that is brought to the consideration of
>candidate public policies is worse than it used to be. TA seems now to be
>given short shrift.
>So I share your thoughts, Scott, on the need to proceed most cautiously and
>thoughtfully, and with a lot of monitoring of effects, and a willingness to
>modify the program. And in the light of current experience, as well as
>past, I would add that the utmost transparency, accurate reporting, and
>vigorous debate would be essential accompaniments to social policies and to
>the deployment of new technology. And even with all of that, mistakes will
>be made, and, sometimes, they will be big ones. But I don't see human
>giving up on innovation and hope for progress.
I tend to prefer Karl Popper's take on piecemeal engineering, short term and continually reassessed projects, to Utopian or holistic engineering, which is pie in the sky.
My way of spelling hypnopaedia, which is Huxley's term for "sleep teaching", a means of programming an ideal citizen within the "utopia".
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On Behalf
> > Of Scott Chase
> > Sent: Mon, September 08, 2003 11:50 PM
> > To: email@example.com
> > Subject: Norplant as social engineering device?
> > I'm finishing up the first read of Patricia Turner's book _I Heard it
> > Through the Grapevine: Rumor in African-American Culture_ (1993.
> > University
> > of California Press. Berkeley) and in her Epilogue she touches
> > upon a topic
> > relevant to recent discussion wrt birth control as social policy for
> > population control measures. After submitting a draft of her book Turner
> > noticed the emergence (ca 1990) of rumors that usage of the birth
> > device Norplant was forced upon black women as a condition for receiving
> > welfare benefits. Though a rumor she comments on there being a kernel of
> > truth to it citing some suggestions in popular media that welfare
> > mothers be
> > encouraged via incentives (eg- $500 in money) to use Norplant.
> > Turner says (page 222): (bq) "In all probability, the rumors that
> > began to
> > circulate about these devices [Norplant] were heavily influenced by
> > attention. Since policymakers *have* suggested that welfare
> > mothers be urged
> > to have the devices implanted, some might argue that this
> > constitutes "real
> > news" as opposed to "mere rumor"." (eq)
> > Focusing more on the kernel of truth here that these suggestions
> > have been
> > entertained, though Turner points out the outcry citing critics
> > arch-conservative Cal Thomas casting this as a new form of
> > eugenics, I urge
> > caution about putting forward birth control measures (even
> > voluntary ones)
> > as a strategy for population control. Even a benign sounding idea
> > to curtail
> > population growth, a situation which putatively leads to people
> > feeling the
> > tears of privation and incubating xenophobic "memes", could have
> > implications, even if unintended.
> > Having choices available to individuals needing them is a noble
> > cause, but
> > when this becomes an exercise in social engineering, for instance
> > if someone
> > were to think that by encouraging certain people not to have children
> > because their socioeconomic situation might breed a sense of privation
> > leading to deleterious "memes", that's when we should be a little more
> > cautious IMO.
> > _________________________________________________________________
> > Get a FREE computer virus scan online from McAfee.
> > http://clinic.mcafee.com/clinic/ibuy/campaign.asp?cid=3963
> > ===============================================================
> > This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
> > Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
> > For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
> > see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit
>This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
>Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
>For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
Get 10MB of e-mail storage! Sign up for Hotmail Extra Storage.
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Tue 09 Sep 2003 - 06:16:33 GMT