Ecologists Urge Government To “Move Beyond Existent Levels Of Public Permission”
February 15, 2013
“(…) governments can and even should move beyond existent levels of public permission in order to shift norms, allowing public sentiment to later catch up with the regulation.”
In a peer-reviewed paper put out by the American Institute of Biological Sciences titled “Social Norms and Global Environmental Challenges” (available ahead of print), to be published in the march 2013 edition of BioScience, a group of well-known scientists calls on government and scientists to start with the planned social engineering of “norms” and “values” in regards to environmental policies.
The objective, according to the authors, is that these engineered “norms” must work their way into existing ones so finally environmental policies will be accepted without reserve. A sustained campaign, in other words, with government and scientists working together as to gradually create changes in behavior so environmental policies will be more easily accepted over the course of some time.
“Life scientists could make fundamental contributions to this agenda through targeted research on the emergence of social norms”, the group asserts.
“Substantial numbers of people will have to alter their existing behaviors to address this new class of global environmental problems. Alternative approaches are needed when education and persuasion alone are insufficient.”
One of these proposed alternative approaches include more environmental regulations from the top down with the aim of conditioning the public to accept an increasing governmental control over personal behavior. The paper continues by saying that the best way to alter existing behaviors is through persuasive government regulations “such as penalties, regulations, and incentives” in order to “achieve significant behavior modification.”
“Effective policies, then, are ones that induce both short-term changes in behavior and longer-term changes in social norms”, the authors indicate.
Anticipating that regulatory interventions by government are sure to create resistance among the target population, the scientists express confidence that their recommendations “can be carried out in a way that abides by the principles of representative democracy, including transparency, fairness, and accountability.”
The way government may go about it, they argue, is by on the one hand “managing norms” through “such things as advertising campaigns, information blitzes, or appeals from respected figures”. The other aspect involved is the use of financial incentives and disincentives:
“Fines can (…) be an effective way to alter behavior, in part because they (like social norm management) signal the seriousness with which society treats the issue.”
By extension, the authors asses that behaviors and values will “coevolve” alongside increased government control in the form of state regulations and “fines”:
“A carbon tax might (…) prove effective even in the face of near-term opposition. What needs to be assessed is the possibility that behaviors and values would coevolve in such a way that a carbon tax—or other policy instrument that raises prices, such as a cap-and-trade system—ultimately comes to be seen as worthy, which would therefore allow for its long-term effectiveness”
“The probability of a boomerang effect from such appeals is low (except in the most avidly antiauthoritarian subpopulations).”
After the paper continues listing examples of past “information blitzes” which have proved to be a success, they stress that government (and the scientific community) should “move beyond” public consent when it comes to top-down regulations imposed on the American people:
“Some have argued that regulations are inherently coercive and cannot or should not exceed implied levels of public permission for such regulations. An alternative viewpoint is that governments can and even should move beyond existent levels of public permission in order to shift norms, allowing public sentiment to later catch up with the regulation”.
The paper is concluded with three distinct recommendations to scientists and governmental agencies:
“(1) the greater inclusion of social and behavioral scientists in periodic environmental policy assessments; (2) the establishment of teams of scholars and policymakers that can assess, on policy-relevant timescales, the short- and long-term efficiency of policy interventions; and (3) the alteration of academic norms to allow more progress on these issues.”
By admitting they are willing to “move beyond existent levels of public permission” to push ahead with draconian environmental policies, these prominent scientists (among whom we find two Nobel laureates and one Paul Ehrlich) have proven their willingness to deceive the American population in order to fulfill an international agenda.
Be the first to like this.