Sunday, January 20, 2008

Precautionus Principilitis: A Psychosocial Disorder Causing Luddite Psychobabble

Precautionus Principilitis: A Psychosocial Disorder Causing Luddite Psychobabble (c)

By Lawrence A. Kogan, Esq. and Robert Stein, PhD [1]*

Precaution as a Way of Life

The moral, social and environmental cognoscenti of the new communitarian[2] movement for global governance hold the precautionary principle as a doctrinal article of faith. The philosophy advocates a ‘Better Safe than Sorry’ ethos to modern day living. One public relations expert remarked several years ago that Europe’s unilateral efforts to establish the precautionary principle as an absolute global legal standard reflects a deeper institutional and cultural aversion to risk not found in the United States. Sharp demographic differences between the two powers appear to support this fact; “European electorates are aging must faster than America’s, making Europeans more risk averse.”[3] As a result, geriatric Europeans reflexively fear the myriad uncertainties surrounding new technologies and industrial processes, especially unfathomable risks that populate the distant future, and potentially affect their health and environment, even though no actual proof of imminent risk of harm is present. Because of this fear, European elites and like-minded American Europhiles argue that such advances should be shunned, even if it means grinding global societal progress to a halt.

The notion of ‘precaution’ has been repeatedly extolled in a number of scientific reports adopted by the EU Commission. It has been implemented in the form of regulations and product standards, and then exported around the world through various bilateral and international fora. Collectively, these reports conclude that, due to the ethical and cultural values underlying European quality of life considerations, government regulators (risk managers) should make them explicit prior to risk assessors’ collection and analyses of data.[4] In effect, precaution should “be employed in the [pre-risk assessment] screening of [all potential but unknowable] threats for properties of seriousness or uncertainty [‘hazards’] in order to determine their subsequent treatment in regulatory appraisal and management.”[5] The implication: subjective unsubstantiated popular fears and perceptions of unknowable future potential hazards (not risks) are fanned and exploited by social and environmental demagogues as a (false) pretense for greater global regulation of human economic affairs. This is preferred to reliance on objective empirical science, quantitative risk assessments, economic cost-benefit analyses and rational risk management techniques in the formulation of government policy.

In no uncertain terms, this message is preached by neo-luddite sycophants who prophesize against sinful indulgences and predict the imminent demise of the old American dream; simultaneously, they glorify ‘the new European Dream’, which envisions a better ‘quality of life’ in place of expansive affluence. According to these missionaries of utopianism,[6]

“Europe…offers significant quality-of-life advantages. For most Europeans, the community's quality of life is more important than an individual's financial success. The more communities you join, the more options you have for living a full and meaningful life. Belonging -- not belongings -- is what brings security…the European sense of togetherness… Where the American Dream emphasizes economic growth, the European Dream focuses on sustainable development…[e]nvironmental awareness…[T]he European vision…[is]…one of a new type of power, based not on military strength but on economic cooperation and the construction of communities of conscience, a new kind of superpower based on waging peace…” (emphasis added). [7]

“[Within such ‘moral’ communities,] the ‘precautionary principle’ [is to be used to] regulat[e]…science and technology innovation and the introduction of new products into the marketplace…[It] is the most radical idea for rethinking humanity's relationship to the natural world since the 18th-century European Enlightenment…The EU is attempting to establish a radical new approach to science and technology based on the principle of sustainable development and global stewardship of the Earth's environment…[And,] [a]t the heart of the precautionary principle is a radical divergence in the way Europe has come to perceive risks compared to the US…" In Europe, intellectuals are increasingly debating the question of the great shift from a risk-taking age to a risk-prevention era” (emphasis added). [8]

Most profoundly disturbing about this trend, however, is that allegedly secular Europeans are religiously proselytizing precaution and a risk-averse negative brand of ‘sustainable development’ to impoverished developing countries as a moral prophylactic to be donned against the perceived excesses of American globalization. Arguably, the EU is abusing the United Nations Human Development Reports, which literally reflect a negative doctrine of overpopulation and excess consumption akin to that advanced by Thomas Malthus, and also exaggerating the significance of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Reports which warn us of the remote possibility of an impending global environmental ‘crisis’ - all as a legitimating ‘cover’ (i.e., as a false pretense) for more and more precautionary regulation.[9]

For example, in his 1999 address to the World Council of Churches, just prior to the start of the new millennium, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UN Environment Program (UNEP) Executive Director, Klaus Topfer endeavored to imbue precaution and environmental sustainability with a sense of religious urgency.

“We have entered a new age. An age where all of us will have to sign a new compact with our environment…and enter into the larger community of all living beings. A new sense of our communion with planet Earth must enter our minds” (emphasis added). [10]

A year later, in his letter of introduction to the newly published UNEP book entitled, “Earth and Faith – A Book of Reflection for Action”, Adnan Z. Amin, the Director of the UNEP’s New York Office, evoked these same religious overtones.

“As we enter a new century, characterized not only by sweeping and fundamental changes and immense new opportunities, but also by greatly increased risks, the need to foster a new spirit of international cooperation has never been greater. As trade, economic and physical barriers among countries have progressively fallen and as wealth has increased in some countries, poverty and misery continue to be the lot of a large and growing segment of humanity. It is in this context that we increasingly witness new challenges to the security and sustainability of the planet. At the same time, we also are witnessing an era where the fundamental lessons for humanity contained in the religious and faith traditions of the world are increasingly coming to the fore and guiding and motivating our actions to meet those challenges. One of those challenges environmental sustainability, is based on the realization that we can no longer blindly trust in the regenerative capacity of ecosystems…UNEP’s “Global Environment Outlook 2000” confirms that the environmental crisis facing humanity in the new millennium is a world threatened, either because people have too much, or too little. The continued poverty of the majority of the planet’s inhabitants and excessive consumption by the minority are the two major causes of environmental degradation” (emphasis added). [11]

Obsessing Over Precaution

Since Europeans precautionary principle proponents advocate that ‘quality of life’ considerations, moral values, and social and environmental group (communal) concerns should serve a predominant role in international policy-making to address future potential public harms, it is incumbent upon all other nations to question the source of these beliefs. They must demand strict transparency and accountability from those who argue in favor of changing the current ‘risk-based’ global paradigm to a new ‘precautionary principle’ hazard-based paradigm, which dictates the extent to which all societies may use and rely upon science in evaluating potential future public dangers. After all, is it not the advocates of precaution who bear the burden of proving to the world that a paradigm shift focusing primarily on the ‘unknowables’ of life is actually necessary? Mustn’t they prove beyond a preponderance of the evidence that this utopian vision can not result in greater harms to global society than those they are intended to eliminate? And, isn’t it they who must demonstrate that the assumptions underlying these beliefs reflect a reasoned rather than a desperate, pessimistic view of reality?

Arguably, Europe’s need to constantly focus global attention on future hypothetical health and environmental hazards posed by daily human activities, and its clandestine use of ‘soft power’ to establish the precautionary principle as an absolute norm of customary international law, manifests an obsession constituting a serious psychological disorder. Their persistent, disturbing preoccupation with potential future harms is consistent with common obsessive symptoms such as compulsive hand-washing and checking and other preoccupations common to a variety of anxiety disorders. However, when these opinions are based not on objective science but distorted anecdotal evidence and loose associations, as exemplified in observations of “unusual weather” as proof of global warming, even were temperatures to show an absolute decline, they are more suggestive of the inexorable logic present in a delusional disorder. Judging from Europe’s continued impassioned pleas for precaution in the face of scientific uncertainty concerning unknown imaginary potential future hazards that may never materialize into provable risks, reasonable people may conclude that such behavior is indicative of the distorted reality testing common in the more profound psychological disorders.

But if so, is this disorder treatable? Psychologists typically first undertake a journey of analysis that probes the inner workings of the minds of their psychologically and emotionally challenged patients prior to making this determination.

Analyzing the Obsession

According to economic theorists Yergin and Stanislaw, as the EU’s borders have gradually expanded to accept new members, it has become increasingly difficult for Europeans to explain the complex matrix that defines their collective psyche. “[E]verything is coming under the microscope: old identities are being reevaluated; traditional values are being revisited and re-appraised. Europe’s very philosophical underpinnings, the core of what it means to be European, are being reexamined and transformed.”[12]

Arguably, an expanding and evolving Europe is suffering from moments of self-introspection and self-doubt associated with revolutionary continent-wide changes. Reflexively in such instances when identity is threatened, individuals commonly seek security through the use of ego defense mechanisms (personal blinders which distort reality) in order to view changes as less threatening. The drawback, however, is that increased reliance on distorted interpretations of reality create greater vulnerability, resulting in a vicious cycle of anxiety. Given the pathological origins of the precautionary principle, how can the world permit such a ‘values-charged’ concept to govern international rules of conduct? Is not a thorough examination of this patient and its ailing psyche necessary to correctly identify, diagnose and treat the source of the problem?

Indeed, a cursory review of the historical and philosophical bases for contemporary European political and social thought may improve our understanding of EU societal and cultural preferences. It can reveal how they have manifested themselves, with the help of ideological social and environmental groups, in current European regulatory institutions and practices. It also can highlight the relationship between Europe’s past and present thinking. And, this can enable us to answer why these groups are so pathologically against globalization and obsessed with precaution. Perhaps it may even allow us to feel and ease their pain.

As the writings of self-proclaimed EU advisor Jeremy Rifkin argue, EU health and environmental policy arguably reflects a cultural and institutional aspiration towards constructing a society around the notion of an ethical utopian ideal or ‘the good’ (sustainable development). As in Plato’s utopian republic, European regional policy is crafted by an exceptionally educated class of ‘guardian philosophers’ namely, EU Commissioners, who love the vision of truth. This vision consists both of that which is known to be real and that which is believed/ perceived to be real. These philosophers are selected and overseen by a legislator (the EU Parliament and the Council of Ministers review laws proposed by the Commission). To the extent the guardians carry out the intent of the legislator, their rule will remain unchecked by the other citizens (e.g., the social and environmental non-governmental organizations) whose interests are represented in the Parliament and the Council. In the end, the European public (i.e., the man and woman on the street whose interests are not so represented) must trust that well-intentioned EU Commissioners, prodded by these ideologues, will adequately protect their interests. Notably, the common people and soldiers of Plato’s Republic were likewise obliged not to question their guardian philosophers, who retained the sole political power to pursue ‘justice’ for the social ‘good’ of the community. The EU Commissioners believe, as the ancient philosophers did, that they can prove their proposed ideal society is ‘good,’ and it is difficult for those who disagree to prove that it is not.[13]

The European cultural aversion to risk and reliance on the precautionary principle to prevent possible future risks of harm in the absence of scientific certainty can be attributed, in part, to the process of doubt employed by the French philosopher Renee Descartes. Pursuant to that process “Descartes proceeded to deny the existence of everything about which he was not certain. He eventually discovered that the only thing he could be certain about was his own existence”, grounded ultimately on a perception of his own thoughts. [14] Arguably, the premise underlying the precautionary principle (risk perception) is being applied by the EU Commission at the behest of European social and environmental groups in a manner similar to the logical progression employed by Descartes in the infamous cogito ergo sum – ‘I think therefore I am’. A Cartesian construct of the precautionary principle would thus be ‘I fear, therefore I shall ban!’

European skepticism regarding the safety or harmfulness of modern manufacturing processes, techniques, technologies and activities (e.g., industrialized agriculture, high volume chemicals, biotechnology, nanotechnology) and EU institutional reluctance to embrace hard science (classical risk assessment) as an effective risk evaluation tool also has roots in English philosopher David Hume. It is arguable that the EU has embraced Hume’s modern philosophy of causation, which posits that human knowledge of future cause and effect relationships is a futile and finite enterprise; it cannot be derived other than from empirical knowledge or custom. Hume was “concerned with ‘uncertain knowledge’, such as is obtained from empirical data by inferences that are not demonstrative. It includes all our knowledge as to the future…” According to Hume, “causation alone enables us to infer some thing or occurrence from some other thing or occurrence…[however,] we can only know cause and effect from experience not from [logical] reasoning or reflection.” In Hume’s opinion, “belief [perception] is more properly an act of the sensitive (senses) than of the cogitative (reason) part of our natures’” (emphasis added). [15] Thus, by incorporating risk perceptions into the risk assessment process via application of the precautionary principle, as a means of preventing unique unknown harms, the EU Commission and their ideologue advisers are simultaneously embracing and rejecting Hume’s skepticism![16]

The Commission’s pursuit of sustainable development as an absolute moral duty i.e., as an end-in- itself, and embrace of the precautionary principle as a means to that end, may, also be traced to the moral/ethical system developed by German philosopher Immanuel Kant. Arguably, several European rights and obligations are related to the use of precaution and this evolving cultural notion of morality. The absolute right of citizens to know through product labeling the ingredients of and processes by which the products they use and consume are made, when potential health and environmental harms are believed/perceived to be posed by them is one such example. And, the right of all citizen stakeholders to participate in the Commission’s health and environmental policy formulation process as part of a pre-risk assessment screening and to be informed about planned commercial activities potentially affecting the environment, even if they are to take place on private property (as required by the Aarhus Convention[17]) before they may proceed is another. In addition, the Commission has embraced the ideologue’s pursuit of ‘social and environmental justice’ for the ‘good’ of the European Community and of the world. Such communalism demonizes individualism as reflected in the activities of global industry (globalization) and seeks the internalization of environmental and social costs of production and consumption, which serves only to raise consumer goods and services prices around the world. Such an ideology endeavors to incorporate the precautionary principle in multilateral environmental treaties, national regulations, product standards and developing country trade and aid agreements. Its overall objective is to satisfy the categorical imperative of achieving sustainable development, no matter the costs to civilization.[18]

Moreover, it may be argued that certain EU Commission practices shaped by these social and environmental groups reflect the philosophy of political expediency and deception championed by Niccolo Machiavelli. This utilitarian philosophy, above all else, prioritizes “the means to assigned ends, regardless of whether the ends are considered good or bad” in themselves. [19] This is apparent in the way the EU has masterfully crafted its nontransparent strategy to unilaterally export its version of the precautionary principle internationally, as a means to both achieve the ends of sustainable development and to protect the means of its ailing, lagging or underdeveloped regional industries and technologies. The Commission has carefully selected particular international fora to work within and weak, economically dependent developing country trading partners to work with. It employs or supports indirectly the communitarian movements of prominent European and American-based environment and social groups possessing global reach and influence, the focus of which is to wage anti-globalization, anti-technology, and reputation disparagement campaigns against multinational corporations and individualists. And it has been able to accomplish this feat primarily through use of two EU governance mechanisms: ‘co-regulation’ and ‘self-regulation’.[20]

Considering that the ends justify the means, it is irrelevant whether these influential campaigns are factually and morally baseless. Similarly, it is irrelevant that the means the Commission has employed (incentives) to persuade developing countries to embrace the precautionary principle (financial aid, technical assistance and foreign direct investment) – EU ‘soft’ power – will likely foster their continued dependence on European aid (welfare dependence), and enhance only the welfare of European industry.

Lastly, the Commission’s political decision, to replace the current paradigm of exposure-based risk evaluation enshrined in WTO and U.S. law, with a formal precautionary principle that favors pre-risk assessment screening based on hazard profiles and public risk perceptions seemingly addresses an existential problem previously analyzed by French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. He attributes this problem, to the feeling of individual and collective helplessness arising from the perception that one lacks control over one’s destiny and choice of outcomes. In the present case, anxieties experienced by older European citizens have arisen because of the public’s perceived inability to detect or control unknown health and environmental risks associated with their use of and exposure to industrial activities, new technologies and the products derived therefrom. This message has been brilliantly crafted by the social and environmental ideologues.

According to Sartre, however, human imagination and emotion have the power to transcend the perceived limitations of the contemporary world (i.e., they can isolate ‘nothingness’ from ‘being’) in order to realize the ‘infinite unrealizables’. This means that the Europeans, if they so choose, could come to terms with their individual fears, perceptions and feelings of helplessness. It also means that the European public could collectively challenge its legislative representatives to develop a more pragmatic, sensible and balanced approach to risk management than the precautionary principle. And it means Europeans could choose to ignore the factually bereft hyperbolic arguments currently advanced by politically influential social and environmental interest groups whose raison d’etre is solely to pursue narrowly focused ideological agendas, regardless of whether they benefit European society at large. Europeans must realize that the precautionary principle will lessen Europe’s future quality of life by slowing down European economic growth, retarding European innovation and reducing the number and types of opportunities that will exist for future generations of Europeans. They must recognize, therefore, before it is too late, that a precautionary principle-based regulatory model runs counter to the vision underlying the Lisbon Strategy of neoliberal economic reform.[21]

Brussels’ compulsion to establish precaution as part of the European public ‘social and moral conscience’ through mandatory (regulatory) rather than voluntary market controls can arguably be traced back to the nineteenth century abuses of capitalism, as experienced within Germany and England, from which Europe seems not to have recovered.

[During the] “latter part of the nineteenth century…cartels and monopolies developed unchecked by the state in the new German Reich, leading to greater and greater concentrations of economic and political power and ultimately to totalitarianism…” Following World War II, a German economic group calling itself the Ordoliberals believed that “Government’s responsibility was to create and maintain a framework that promoted competition and prevented cartels. Competition was the best way to prevent private or public concentrations of power, thus constituting the best guarantee of political liberty, as well as providing a superior economic mechanism. Yet, the Ordoliberals’ vision was not simply laissez-faire. The ‘Ordo’ captured their sense of order – ‘a certain hierarchy or ‘natural form’ of society’ – deliberately meant to be linked to the medieval idea of natural order. They believed in a strong state and a strong social morality. As Wilheim Ropke explained it: ‘We want no restriction of the market economy of competition and of the freely floating price mechanism. Nor do we want a mixed economy…We also well know that if we seek a pure free market economy based on competition, it cannot float freely in a social, political, and moral vacuum, but must be maintained and protected by a strong, social, political, and moral framework. Justice, the state, traditions and morals, firm standards and values…are part of this framework as are the economic, social and fiscal policies which, outside the market sphere, balance interests, protect the weak, restrain the immoderate, cut down excesses, limit power, set the rules of the game and guard their observance’” (emphasis added). [22]

[In industrial England] “poverty and slums [were] spawned by industrialization and …the economic crises and busts of the business cycle...” During such times, “…the response of those…who were appalled by poverty took the form, in varying degrees of a commitment to reform and social justice, a search for efficiency, a growing belief in the responsibility of government towards its citizens, and an embrace of the British brand of socialism” (emphasis added)[23]

Europe’s need to establish a cultural identity grounded in social and moral justice that is enforced by regulatory precaution was also clearly evident during the recent privatization era of the 1990’s and the economic and political integration era that has continued to take place since Maastricht.

“The march to the euro and the Maastricht criteria helped accelerate huge changes in the structure of the European economies...National borders no longer provide sanctuary and protection, and companies are responding by restructuring themselves and consolidating to gain scale. Increasingly, large companies will be ‘European’ rather than ‘French’ or ‘German’ or ‘British’... The dynamics of the single market force change as well…Privatization is leading to major new growth industry in Europe: regulation. When governments owned companies, there was no need for independent regulation. The ministry set the prices for such services as telephone, water, natural gas, and electricity. But the newly privatized companies are now in charge, and they set the prices and the terms of operation. Government’s role has, therefore, changed. Its job is to protect consumers by ensuring competitive prices, safety, and standards of quality. To do this requires designing new institutions to regulate prices and practices” (emphasis added).[24]

Indeed, Europeans have taken great pride in their evolved version of the welfare state, which promotes the need for government regulation as a matter of reflex to protect consumers from the unknown health and environmental hazards and perceived inequities posed by individual forms of private property ownership and the relatively unregulated activities of American free markets.

“…Europeans remain deeply committed to the idea of the welfare state, nor have they repudiated the notion of the public sector. Rather European governments are looking for new and innovative ways of dealing with the problems, just as they are seeking to reinterpret the welfare state’s traditional values…[D]espite the troubles besetting it, the welfare state is seen by Europeans as one of the continent’s greatest achievements, an essential element of a civilized society and the foundation of social consensus” (emphasis added). [25]

According to Yergin and Stanislaw, it is unfortunate that “the essence of this belief is unlikely to change soon”, at least without sufficient prodding or challenge.

“Europe’s first convergence after World War II – long before Maastricht – was on the mixed economy [characterized by strong, direct governmental involvement in the economy…The mixed economy, it was felt, would deliver full employment and growth. A significant part of that growth would, in turn, be redistributed through social spending that would ensure security and social peace…The model lasted for four decades…[Although what] was confront[ed] in Western Europe…in the mid-1990’s…[was] ‘the end of the welfare state in its classical form,’ observed Karl-Otto Pohl, ‘it cannot be reversed completely. You can’t undo developments of the last hundred years.” [26]

The reader, at this point, should not overlook the indelible impression that the philosophy of eighteenth century Frenchman, Claude Adrien Helvetius had left on the European social behaviorists of his time, and apparently, now, the politicians of today. Helvetian-favored communalism and utilitarian logic are most definitely the driving force behind the current indoctrination climate under which European cultural preferences are being converted into an almost universal and unquestioning acceptance of national, regional, and potentially, supranational governmental mandates to employ the hazard-based precautionary principle in every day economic life. Helvetius “advocated the means by which happiness for the greatest number would be achieved.” [27]

“Men develop according to the cultural pressures to which he is subject. Education accounts for all differences between individuals and must be utilized to realize ‘the ideal of general intelligence, virtue, and happiness’... In [Helvetius’] system, the only pleasure that is immoral is one that conflicts with the pleasure of the greatest number... The final test of any action, then, is its utilitarian value - its use to the public. The ideal government, he believed, would bring the greatest happiness to the greatest number, and universal education would make children useful to such a society. He advocated legislation of punishments and rewards to force men to contribute to public welfare. Under such a system, he felt only madmen could prevent themselves from being good citizens. Individual preferences and rights are lost to Helvetius in the all-consuming importance of public interest” (emphasis added). [28]

Hence, the wisdom of Helvetius has permeated the Brussels bureaucratic mindset, which has recognized how cultural pressures influenced by individual perceptions of others’ preferences and by the educational power of universally applicable (national, regional and international) laws, regulations and standards can help shape societal behavior in ways that may facilitate government’s fulfillment of socially and politically desirable policy objectives. It is therefore only in this light that one can truly appreciate why people would ever clamor for more rather than less regulation and taxation.

Regretfully, European governments’ inclination towards providing centralized ‘soft’ socialist solutions to perceived market failures has only become more pronounced following the fall of the Berlin Wall. And, it is this institutional predilection for more and more governmental control and oversight over private lives that has now seized the imagination of a militant European environmental and social movement whose ideological bias against globalization, industry and individualism is rooted largely in the ‘eco-Marxism and pro-Sandinista sentiments’ brought to the movement by discredited pro-Soviet western groups.[29]

Diagnosing the Obsession

In essence, some sort of blurring or unnatural fusion may have occurred between the multitude of values and phobias long submerged within Europe’s collective psyche and the extreme, almost religious utopian ideologies of post-communist European social and environmental groups. This convolution of European fears, ideals and hypothetical realities has manifested itself in the form of the precautionary principle. If its underpinnings indeed manifest a disease (i.e., Precautionus Principilitis), its symptoms and diagnosis would be quite telling: a disorder induced by stress and repressed feelings of inferiority and desperation, marked by extreme luddism, incoherent babbling, disorientation, and a shared form of delusion. But what is worse, instead of suffering this disturbance in private, the European regionalists seek to convert the entire world to their disordered understanding of reality. They are driven to do this, as a means of denying the guilt attendant with the sociopathic manner in which they are manipulating the rest of the world, while injecting their own shortcomings into a world system over which they now claim moral superiority. Although Precautionus Principilitis may not be curable it may, hopefully, be treatable with the proper medication and tender loving care. But only time and patience will tell.

Rejecting Obsession-Based Precaution as a Global Standard

When viewed in this light, as arguably they should be, the beliefs and perceptions underlying the precautionary principle are unworthy of being projected onto the world stage and concretized as an absolute international legal standard that binds all nations. It is one thing for the world to empathize with the painful soul searching Europeans are experiencing, incident to their quest for deeper regional and cultural integration and union. One may even understand the motivations underlying the European Commission’s political need to respond to the psychosocial pressures imposed by the high priests of the environmental and global governance movements. It is quite another thing, however, for the world to sit idly by and permit the untested utopian European cultural experiment and the pseudo-science called for by these philosopher kings to dictate the terms of the future global (social and economic) agenda.

[1]* Lawrence A. Kogan is an international business, trade and regulatory attorney who has advised international businesses, associations and governments for approximately 20 years. He is President and CEO of the Institute for Trade, Standards and Sustainable Development Inc. (ITSSD), a Princeton, New Jersey-based non-partisan non-profit international legal research and educational organization that examines international law and policy as it relates to trade, industry, innovation and positive sustainable development around the world (). Mr. Kogan is also an adjunct faculty member of the John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ USA, where he teaches a graduate-level course on international trade law and policy. Robert Stein is a licensed psychologist specializing in school and clinical psychology. A psychology adjunct for 15 years, he has taught courses ranging from Abnormal to Lifespan Development. Dr. Stein obtained his Masters of Arts in Diplomacy and International Relations at the John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy, at Seton Hall University. Dr. Stein is also a member of the ITSSD’s national Board of Advisors.
[2] “‘Communitarianism’, as a group of related but distinct philosophies, began in the late 20th century, opposing individualism while advocating phenomena such as civil society. Not necessarily hostile to social liberalism or even social democracy, communitarianism emphasizes the interest of communities and societies over those of the individual.” See Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia at: . See also “Communitarianism”, Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy (Dec 28, 2004) at: ; Roger Scruton, “Communitarian Dreams” (Autumn 1996) at: .
[3] See Rachel Thompson, “Transatlantic Business in an Era of Crisis and Change”, at: ( ). Fear and risk aversion to radical interpretations of Islam have also played a role in the decision not to produce children. “[S]ecular Europe, including the sad remnants of the former Soviet Union, is so desiccated by secular anomie it no longer cares enough about its future to produce children.” See Spengler, BOOK REVIEW The inside story of the Western mind Twentieth-Century Catholic Theologians by Fergus Kerr, Asia Times Online (Nov. 6, 2007) at: .
[4] See, e.g., “Final Report on Setting the Scientific Frame for the Inclusion of New Quality of Life Concerns in the Risk Assessment Process”, adopted April 10-11, 2003, European Commission, Health & Consumer Protection Directorate-General.
[5] “The Application of the Precautionary Principle in the European Union, EU-Project: ‘Regulatory Strategies and Research Needs to Compose and Specify a European Policy on the Application of the Precautionary Principle’ (PrecauPri)”, at p. 4.
[6] “Utopia – literally ‘nowheresville’ – was the name of an imaginary republic described by Thomas More in which all social conflict and distress has been overcome. There have been many versions of Utopia over the years, many of them visions of socialist society. Although Marx and Engels defined their own socialism in opposition to Utopian Socialism (which had many advocates in the early nineteenth century), they had immense respect for the great Utopian socialists like Charles Fourier and Robert Owen. By describing how people would live if everyone adhered to the socialist ethic, utopian socialism does three things: it inspires the oppressed to struggle and sacrifice for a better life, it gives a clear meaning to the aim of socialism, and it demonstrates how socialism is ethical, that is, that the precepts of socialism can be applied without excluding or exploiting anyone.” See “Utopian Socialism” at: ; “Marxists Internet Archive” at: .
[7] See Jeremy Rifkin, “America, Wake Up to the European Dream”, Op-ed, The Washington Post (Oct. 31, 2004).
[8] See Jeremy Rifkin, “A Precautionary Tale”, Op-ed, The Guardian (May 12, 2004), at: (,3604,1214638,00.html ).
[9] See, e.g., Rebecca M. Blank and William McGurn, “Is the Market Moral? A Dialogue on Religion, Economics & Justice”, Pew Forum Dialogues on Religion & Public Life, The Brookings Institution and Georgetown University © 2004 , at pp. 62-89.
[10] Klaus Topfer, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Environment Program in an address to the World Council of Churches (10/31/99) in Bonn, cited in Earth and Faith – A Book of Reflection for Action, Libby Bassett, Ed., John T. Brinkman and Kusumita P. Pedersen, Co-Eds., Interfaith Partnership for the Environment, United Nations Environment Prgramme (UNEP) © 2000.
[11] Ibid.
[12] See Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw, The Commanding Heights – The Battle for the World Economy, Touchstone Publishers © 1998, 2002, at p. 336.
[13] See Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosophy, Simon and Schuster © 1945, 1972, at pp. 108, 111, 115, 117, 118, 120, 121 and 126, explaining Plato’s Republic.
[14] Ibid., at pp. 564-656, explaining Renee Descartes, Discourse on Method and the Meditation.
[15] Ibid., at pp. 663, 664, 666, 671, 673, explaining David Hume, Treatise of Human Nature.
[16] If we perceive that serious harm can be expected from a particular substance or product that we have not previously encountered, and the science we would employ to evaluate the risk is uncertain (we lack empirical evidence of our ability to manage the risk), we cannot rely on the science. Thus we must employ precaution and ban it. If we ban a product or substance because we perceive, based on a risk profile of other products or substances sharing similar intrinsic characteristics (rather than on empirical evidence) that it poses serious risks, we have engaged in the act of induction - inferring harm from other than experience or custom.
[17] See “Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters”, done at Aarhus, Denmark on 25 June 1998.
[18] Ibid., at pp. 710-712, explaining Immanuel Kant, Metaphysics of Morals.
[19] Ibid., at pp. 507-511, explaining Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince.
[20] See “Josefin Almer and Matilda Rotkirch, “European Governance – An Overview of the Commission’s Agenda for Reform”, at pp. 59-61 (2004); 2003/2131 (ACI), European Parliament, Committee on Constitutional Affairs, “Draft Report on the Conclusion of the Agreement Between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on Better Law-Making” 8/14/03); COM(2002) 278, “Communication from the Commission – Action Plan ‘Simplifying and Improving the Regulatory Environment’ (6/5/02), at pp. 11-13; COM(2001) 428 final, “European Governance – A White Paper – Executive Summary”, at pp. 18-21.
[21] “In March 2000, the European Council in Lisbon set out a ten-year strategy to make the EU the world's most dynamic and competitive economy.” See “The Lisbon Strategy for Economic, Social and Environmental Renewal”, Europa website at: ( ).
[22] “Thus, to the Ordoliberals, there was nothing inconsistent between their commitment to free markets and their support of a social safety net – a system of subsidies and transfer payments to take care of the weak and disadvantaged. All this added up to what they were to call the ‘social market economy’…Ludwig Erhard, [who] belonged to…the Ordoliberals…wrote not long before becoming [Germany’s] economic director [in the postwar years, that] “Our people will be truly fortunate…if we can realize an economic order that makes room for free economic activity that is cognizant of its social responsibility instead of the prevailing and universally detested bureaucratic formalism” (emphasis added). See Yergin and Stanislaw, supra at pp. 16-17.
[23] Ibid., at p.5. This led to “violent conflict between employers and wage-earners, which gave rise to trade-unionism and socialism…that grew in strength…[as it]…rebelled against …the existing economic order.” Bertrand Russell, at p. 724.
[24] See Yergin and Stanislaw, supra at pp. 328-329. In effect, it can be argued that, “much of Europe’s drive to regulate international trade stems from a [fundamental] mistrust of the free market” (emphasis added). See: James Sheehan, “Trashing Free Trade: The Basel Convention’s Impact on International Commerce”, (1996), at p. 6.
[25] See Yergin and Stanislaw, supra at pp. 3, 328-329, and 333-335.
[26] Ibid.
[27] See Eric Samuelson, A BRIEF CHRONOLOGY OF COLLECTIVISM (1997) at: .
[28] Ibid., citing Mordecai Grossman, THE PHILOSOPHY OF HELVETIUS 16 (1926).
[29] See Patrick Moore, “Environmental Movement Has Lost its Way – Scare Tactics, Disinformation Go Too Far”, Miami Herald (1/30/05), at: ( ); Patrick Moore, “Hard Choices for the Environmental Movement”, Leadership Quarterly 5(3/4) 1994 ( ).

No comments: