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Cap Good – Status Quo Improving

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Cap Good – Status Quo Improving

The status quo is structurally improving

Indur Goklany 10, policy analyst for the Department of the Interior – phd from MSU, “Population, Consumption, Carbon Emissions, and Human Well-Being in the Age of Industrialization (Part III — Have Higher US Population, Consumption, and Newer Technologies Reduced Well-Being?)”, April 24,
In my previous post I showed that, notwithstanding the Neo-Malthusian worldview, human well-being has advanced globally since the start of industrialization more than two centuries ago, despite massive increases in population, consumption, affluence, and carbon dioxide emissions. In this post, I will focus on long-term trends in the U.S. for these and other indicators. Figure 1 shows that despite several-fold increases in the use of metals and synthetic organic chemicals, and emissions of CO2 stoked by increasing populations and affluence, life expectancy, the single best measure of human well-being, increased from 1900 to 2006 for the US. Figure 1 reiterates this point with respect to materials use. These figures indicate that since 1900, U.S. population has quadrupled, affluence has septupled, their product (GDP) has increased 30-fold, synthetic organic chemical use has increased 85-fold, metals use 14-fold, material use 25-fold, and CO2 emissions 8-fold. Yet life expectancy advanced from 47 to 78 years. Figure 2 shows that during the same period, 1900–2006, emissions of air pollution, represented by sulfur dioxide, waxed and waned. Food and water got safer, as indicated by the virtual elimination of deaths from gastrointestinal (GI) diseases between 1900 and 1970. Cropland, a measure of habitat converted to human uses — the single most important pressure on species, ecosystems, and biodiversity — was more or less unchanged from 1910 onward despite the increase in food demand. For the most part, life expectancy grew more or less steadily for the U.S., except for a brief plunge at the end of the First World War accentuated by the 1918-20 Spanish flu epidemic. As in the rest of the world, today’s U.S. population not only lives longer, it is also healthier. The disability rate for seniors declined 28 percent between 1982 and 2004/2005 and, despite quantum improvements in diagnostic tools, major diseases (e.g., cancer, and heart and respiratory diseases) now occur 8–11 years later than a century ago. Consistent with this, data for New York City indicate that — despite a population increase from 80,000 in 1800 to 3.4 million in 1900 and 8.0 million in 2000 and any associated increases in economic product, and chemical, fossil fuel and material use that, no doubt, occurred —crude mortality rates have declined more or less steadily since the 1860s (again except for the flu epidemic). Figures 3 and 4 show, once again, that whatever health-related problems accompanied economic development, technological change, material, chemical and fossil fuel consumption, and population growth, they were overwhelmed by the health-related benefits associated with industrialization and modern economic growth. This does not mean that fossil fuel, chemical and material consumption have zero impact, but it means that overall benefits have markedly outweighed costs. The reductions in rates of deaths and diseases since at least 1900 in the US, despite increased population, energy, and material and chemical use, belie the Neo-Malthusian worldview. The improvements in the human condition can be ascribed to broad dissemination (through education, public health systems, trade and commerce) of numerous new and improved technologies in agriculture, health and medicine supplemented through various ingenious advances in communications, information technology and other energy powered technologies (see here for additional details). The continual increase in life expectancy accompanied by the decline in disease during this period (as shown by Figure 2) indicates that the new technologies reduced risks by a greater amount than any risks that they may have created or exacerbated due to pollutants associated with greater consumption of materials, chemicals and energy, And this is one reason why the Neo-Malthusian vision comes up short. It dwells on the increases in risk that new technologies may create or aggravate but overlooks the larger — and usually more certain — risks that they would also eliminate or reduce. In other words, it focuses on the pixels, but misses the larger picture, despite pretensions to a holistic worldview.

Alt Fails – Cede the Political – Terrorism Aff

No alternative solvency – challenging the construction of terrorism requires the creative use of policy-relevant mechanisms. Blanket condemnations fail.

Jackson et al., professors of International Politics at Aberystwyth University, 2007 [Richard, “The Case for a Critical Terrorism Studies”, paper delivered for 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, August 30 – September 2,]
If emancipation is central to the critical project, we would argue that CTS cannot remain policy-irrelevant without belying its emancipatory commitment. It has to move beyond critique and deconstruction to reconstruction and policy-relevance.53 The challenge of CTS is to engage policy-makers – as well as „terrorists‟ and their communities – and work towards the realization of new paradigms, new practices and the transformation of political structures. That, after all, is the original meaning of the notion of „immanent critique‟. Striving to be policy-relevant does not mean that one has to accept the validity of the term „terrorism‟ or stop investigating the political interests behind it. Nor does it mean that all research must have policy-relevance or that one has to limit one‟s research to what is relevant for the state, since the critical turn implies a move beyond state-centric perspectives. End-users could, and should, include both state and non-state actors, as long as the goal is to combat both the use of political terror by actors and the political structures that encourage its use. However, engaging policy-makers raises the thorny issue of co-option. One of the fears of critical scholars is that by engaging with policy-makers, either they or their research become co-opted, whether through governments (ab)using independent research findings for their own ends, allowing one‟s research to be overly shaped by the agendas of major grant-awarding bodies, or by gradually coming to uncritically adopt the perspectives and values of policy-makers. A more intractable problem is the one highlighted by Rengger that „the demand that theory must have a praxial dimension itself runs the risk of collapsing critical theory back into traditional theory by making it dependent on instrumental conceptions of rationality‟.54 A related problem is that by becoming embedded in existing power structures, one risks reproducing existing knowledge structures or inadvertently contributing to counter-terrorism policy that uncritically reifies the status quo. Such dilemmas have to be confronted and debated; non-engagement is not an option. Engagement is facilitated by the fact that as counterterrorism projects flounder, advisors to policy-makers are increasingly eager for advice, even when it is „critical‟. For obvious reasons, „embedded‟ terrorism scholars and traditional think-tanks have enjoyed a much closer relationship with policy-makers, allowing them both more institutionalized and more direct access. This is partly structural, since critical studies have been seen as inherently adversarial towards existing power structures. Critical scholars have also at times unnecessarily burned bridges by issuing blanket condemnations of all things associated with the state, whilst failing to engage with the public safety obligations of the authorities, and the challenges terrorism poses to such safety. Critical scholars cannot indulge in the unilateral demonizing of all state actors, at the same time as arguing against the comprehensive demonizing of all „terrorists‟. Simply because a piece of research originates within RAND does not automatically invalidate it; conversely, a study emanating from a critical scholar is not inherently superior. Just as Fred Halliday critiqued those who privileged voices from „the South‟ as somehow more authentic, critical scholars must guard against either privileging „terrorist‟ voices or uncritically dismissing state or state-related actors.55

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