Death at an Early Age: The Eco-System


This issue of REASON is devoted to an analysis of the ecology problem. No other matter has attracted so much attention while at the same time producing so much written and spoken nonsense. In an effort to shed some light on this important subject, REASON commissioned five young thinkers in various fields to examine the problem in all of its ramifications.

Contributing editor Robert Poole leads off the issue, by defining the interlinked problems of pollution, population, and ecology; analyzing the state's role; and suggesting a political principle for dealing with all three. Engineer James Weigl probes more deeply into the problem of defining property rights to natural resources, particularly such resources as air and water. Next, computer scientist Dennis Turner evaluates pollution as an economic phenomenon, exploring the preconditions for any meaningful method of solution. And finally, author Michael Etchison dissects the utilitarian approach to social problems, finding therein the key flaw in our system of legal responsibility.

Scattered throughout the issue are comments by editor Lanny Friedlander, sometimes agreeing, sometimes disagreeing with the various author's positions. As can be seen, not everyone agrees on all points. The subject is a new one for most. Comments are welcome.

Robert Poole, Jr is a systems engineer with a Santa. Barbara think-tank. He is a contributing editor of REASON.

James Weigl holds an MS in mechanical engineering from MIT. He is currently engaged in the design of respirators and other advanced hospital equipment.

Dennis A. Turner, formerly with IBM, is a computer programmer and systems analyst. He is founder and president of the programming firm of Dennis Turner Associates.

Michael Etchison is a free-lance author and columnist, whose articles have been published in a number of newspapers and magazines.

Lanny Friedlander is a free-lance writer, graphic designer, and advertising copywriter. He is currently writing a book on press objectivity.