Thursday, December 9, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
As an aside, my opinions on Horizons; Goodness gracious sentence fragments! The plot was interesting, the twists were pretty well developed, but good God, the writing was atrocious. It reminded me vaguely of Twilight- person who is not a writer has an idea, and not a terrible one, but writes it totally horribly. No offence, Professor. (Or Mary Rosenblum.)
I think, based on the attitude Todorov takes to nearly every character mention in his book, we can assume that he was a man of people and ideas more than a man of things and thoughts. The way he thoughtfully explains (while still sort of condescending towards) Columbus' obsession with nature and ignorance of human interaction clearly illuminates both his own occupation with the human element and his need to tell the story as truthfully to his characters, well, character as he can. I feel as though Todorov would think that the lesser of the two most frequent evils of historical accounts, one being inaccurate facts of people's actions and the other being inaccurate portrayal of people's character, would easily be the first.
So that he wants his readers to keep in mind the human element as they begin his readings is completely unsurprising. Reminding us that the numbers lost from the Native American population were not in fact merely numbers, but were people, individuals, men, children and obviously women, provides potency to his work that may have been lost in the sauce otherwise.
Through both simulations this year, I think I was put in a… unique position, defending the interests of both the labor unions and the Word Wildlife Fund, two group that tend to focus on issues that aren’t exactly primarily on my radar. Although there was quite a bit of whining on my part (with Scott mostly, who was “stuck” with GM and McDonald’s), I am again glad that I was given the challenge that I was. I have reflected in a similar way before, when I talked about how interesting (and crucial) it is to look at things from another perspective and how I was pleased to be given that opportunity. At the very least, it allows you to see the holes in your own argument and better strengthen it.
For the WWF, my family again got a good laugh – over Thanksgiving Break, I read my original statement to present to the World Bank. Just a few key lines from it here…
“While reviewing the guidelines proposed, it is clear that something crucial, something that affects all of humanity equally, was left out: the environment. We cannot focus on just short term development problems, but must keep in mind the long term effects that ignoring the environment will have on us and on our children. The environment provided the nutrients that fed our forefathers, the resources that we use to manufacture our products, and will continue to house and provide for our future generations. To ensure its survival, we are must create sustainable energy sources and protecting the natural resources and habitats of developing nations and all nations around the world.”
What really got them was me talking passionately about the “shining example” that the Obama administration has been setting with their fiscal dedication to the environment, as well as how we should really increased regulations and ignore the deficit in pursuit of environmental preservation.
I’m not going to lie, as a business major, it was a great chance to see the unions from the perspective of the laborer, which could be very helpful in the future, if I wind up working from the businesses’ perspective in a unionized industry (be equivalent of Christie to the teacher’s union). With the WWF, I admittedly exaggerate my apparent dislike of the environment. I know it’s important, but it’s not on the top of my priority list because honestly, it doesn’t really affect my life the same way that say, higher taxes will, mostly because the environment is such a long term effect kind of perspective (“I’ll be dead before we have to worry about the most awful effects of global warming!”).
The biggest difference between the two simulation groups is really just that – labor unions are looking more at the current economic and business environment and can really rely on pity emotions (Kitty video anyone?), whereas the WWF has the challenge of forcing others to recognize the long term impact of their actions. Yeah, it might help McDonald’s now to wreck some rainforests to put in new buildings, but there’s something greater there that we need to focus on. I think it was important for me to have to see things long term through this project because I tend to focus so much on the short term (which reminds me of the bio-terrorism and global warming class discussion).
It’s easy to get the so what question, which Gabe pointed out – why is the environment important in an economic conference? Looking at developed nations, where industrialization and service industries take precedent and are already established, when protecting natural resources really isn’t as crucial to maintaining a strong economy, it doesn’t seem as important. With developing nations, many of their economies are tied closely to their environments because they rely heavily on natural resources, some on tourism, etc. There’s a greater need for them to protect these (which, is a major positive in the end for the environment. If developing nations are keeping it in mind and developed nations have the money to focus on the environment, then the environment might avoid getting overlooked the way it did in the past during major periods of industrialization, promoting a habit of protecting the environment).
I would still argue, even after taking the WWF’s side, it is one thing if they want to be involved in the World Bank conference, but the amendment we proposed should be last (and we should have put it last to get it to pass. Alas, I’m not quite Eric Cantor or Steny Hoyer at playing the role of whip to get the votes). It should be kept in mind, but can’t be the focus of the conference (although I loved the other Washington Consensus amendments).
Last thing – this simulation was much more fun than the first one simply because it required more under the table deal making. I spent the entire time on my computer and talking to each group, trying to strike deals. Unfortunately, my biggest mistake was not focusing on policy because I was too big on getting the votes needed. Still, it was a great experience to figure out what deals to cut to get the votes needed and knowing what compromises you need to make. Originally, we were planning on introducing a very tough environmental bill and then offering our compromise later (the long term solution plan that instituted gradually increasing standards over a 20 year period, with higher standards put in for developed countries). Still was definitely a great bill from every group represented except maybe McDonald’s (although their presentation was all about how much they sweat [Alex Hochman] the environment).
I’d like to apologize for any grafs that don’t make very much sense, as I’m watching the highly overrated and lucky, Rex Ryan-screwing-over-Baltimore led Jets vs. the apparently worst statistical defense in the league in the Pats MNF game at the same time. Definitely a potential playoff matchup in the likely divisional round of Ravens-Pats-Jets-Steelers epicness.