HERD ABOUT IT?
by Ana Grarian
How do you decide good/bad for your community?
Community is family. Your household family is one type of community. It may be made up of folks who are related or simply of people who have chosen to reside together for one reason or another. It is part of a larger community of neighbors and friends. You have a community of co-workers or school mates. You are a member of still larger more diverse communities, whether they are familial, collegiate, or professional.
We tend to be most concerned about the welfare of the community that we consider to be household family. Because they have our deepest affections? And perhaps this is also because what affects them most directly affects us. With more time and skill I would investigate the connections between those word derivations.
What is good for our household? This came up on a FB post about a book on the value of gaming. Although I also enjoy video games, I tend to have a strong underlying suspicion about what they are doing to our lives. The statement on FB was about recognizing the possibilty that gaming could have valid value. OK. I recognize the possibilty, and even likelihood, but what do we mean when we say “valid value”?
I commented that even child prostitution has economic value.
My cohort spoke of how his child would eagerly do chores
in order to earn more gaming time.
OK. Rewarding our children in exchange for chores is something parents often do, but we also must determine what rewards we consider safe or desirable. A half hour to play Mario Brothers vs a half hour of Halo for a nine year old. A play date with a classmate vs a play date with a Playmate. You get my drift.
So how do we decide what is good value for our geographic community?
If we accept oil companies coming in and hydrofracking for natural gas in exchange for jobs, money, perhaps less dependence on foreign oil. What are we willing to give up?
Like child prostitution I don’t have all the figures. People come and get what they think they want and spend lots of bucks for it. Perhaps, under the unlikely best of conditions that child has a better life, maybe even a longer life, than they would have back in the rural 3rd world village, or city slum where they came from. Perhaps their family has a slightly better life with one less person to feed and clothe. Perhaps both communities have a slightly better economic time because of the flow of $$$.
But – what are the costs? Do we have a means of considering and tallying the costs? What toll is on a family who have sold a child? What loss of trust and self repect? Is there perhaps an ennui that sets in and actually makes them less profitable in their work? What of the person on either side of the sex trade itself? Certainly we know that ugly jobs take a toll on those who do them. Even the Nazi’s knew that slaughtering innocent people was damaging troop moral.
What about the economic costs that aren’t being tallied in health costs and crime related to those ugly activities. It would seem to me that the person who is willing to misuse a child like that is not likely acting ethically in other areas of business and trade.
So let’s extrapolate a little.
Some folks say that we need to go ahead with questionable practices (say – Fracking) because we need the finacial gain they will provide.
Slick water horizontal hydrofracking is good for our community
because it will create jobs and
reduce dependence on foreign oil.
Jobs will be created in construction and trucking. Local stores and restaurants will see increased customers from out of town workers. The landowners who get payments will buy more, build bigger houses, etc. Our communities will grow due to an influx of workers with families, so we will need more teachers, Dr’s, lawyers. People will begin to hire things done that now they do themselves so we will need landscapers and carpenters.
Maybe. But for how long?
When the drill pads are built, and the wells drilled, those construction and trucking jobs go away. Those workers move on to the next hot spot. The diners close down, the schools lose population, and teachers move on to look for jobs elsewhere. The costs of expanded police and emergency services linger. And the wells, if they ever produced at all, go dry.
What were the costs to the community? How did it change? What costs for increases in infrastructure are still being paid? What were the costs to health and community integrity? Will your community have to build a large infrastructure to provide safe drinking water because well water was contaminated? What if it’s not just a few folks wells, but the communities source of drinking water?
They say this gas will supply us for 100 years.
That’s like one lifetime.
Is it worth it?
If I’m willing to dig a hole in my back yard and fill it with toxic chemicals in order to — possibly — make myself rich, aren’t I only marginally better than the person selling another human being in the sex trade?
I can’t imagine that if I put a swimming pool in my backyard and filled it with a noxious chemical soup, that my neighbors wouldn’t raise holy hell. Heck – there are tons of regulations for a normal swimming pool that they could swim in!
Yet somehow this promise of possible money has many of us seeing the possible profit $ signs and over looking the probable $$$$$$ costs.
Maybe it would help to come up with a visual that brings the cost picture home to you. Is a wide screen TV left on 24/7 with the attendant surround sound, DVD, TIVO etc, worth letting my dog crap on your living room floor every day? Is running your appliances unnecessarily worth having your kid down a shot of deisel fluid? Is not turning off the lights worth sniffing gasoline fumes? Would you make your coffee with dirty dish water, so you could drive a bigger car?
Would you risk having your child develop leukemia, so you could bank a couple of thousand dollars a month, for a few years?