Sunday, January 15, 2006

What's Abe Linclon got to do with "rationalization"?

"Rationalization" may well be still on the drawing boards by the staff at the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council. If you have something to say in defense of labor over capital, drop them a line. It is obvious to me, and I think to most other observers, that when the NPFMC implemented crab "rationalization" they were really just guessing at the outcome. Not that they have lost much sleep in the interim it seems. No apologies forthcoming over the loss of 800 or so fishing jobs in one crack. And the loss of business in all those communities that supported the 160 large crab boats that are no longer fishing.

I thought it a funny comparison to a study someone is doing with halibut fishermen on "guessing" how best to run their businesses. The article states: "Researchers suggest that people tend to use simplifications or rules of thumb -- called heuristics -- to aid in the complex task of making decisions under uncertainty. These rules of thumb can lead to errors or mistakes, and there is tremendous interest in the academic community to try and uncover how these various heuristics influence decisions,"

No need to belabor the point. But I hope in the next stab at granting special privileges to access public fish resources, the Council and other researchers will consider the words of our most revered statesmen. It is generally agreed that these men, starting with Jefferson, weren't guessing, but building on the wisdom of the ages. This is what Abraham Lincoln said about crab "rationalization." Well, maybe something comparable to it:

"...but there is one point, with its connections, not so hackneyed as most others, to which I ask a brief attention. It is the effort to place capital on an equal footing with, if not above, labor in the structure of government. It is assumed that labor is available only in connection with capital; that nobody labors unless somebody else, owning capital, somehow by the use of it induces him to labor. This assumed, it is next considered whether it is best that capital shall hire laborers, and thus induce them to work by their own consent, or buy them, and drive them to it without their consent. Having proceeded so far, it is naturally concluded that all laborers are either hired laborers, or what we call slaves. And further, it is assumed that whoever is once a hired laborer is fixed in that condition for life."
"Now, there is no such relation between capital and labor as assumed; nor is there any such thing as a free man being fixed for life in the condition of a hired laborer. Both these assumptions are false, and all inferences from them are groundless."

Lincoln built on Jefferson's concept of "the earth belonging to the living," implying that it doesn't belong to capital. And Roosevelt built on Linclon's work for his thesis of the "square deal." I guess the crux of the matter is whether you believe there are "versions" of the truth, or not. And whether you think the "Bill of Rights" is a "living document, or not."

These are the yardsticks we should be using to put people on these fishery management councils, and in the Governor's office for that matter, since he appoints some of those council members. Heck, there's one council member in Hawaii that has a long record of helping wipe the lobsters out, with the fines to prove it. It looks like the Council there fights tooth and nail with EVERYONE to work those fisheries over. Even when the oldtimers say the fisheries aren't sustainable because there aren't enough nutrients in those waters.

The public should be demanding an end to heuristics and a fisheries management style that we can be proud of.


Anonymous Terry Haines said...

Thank you. Mr. Enge. Your comments are right on target. The NPFMC seems intent on serving the interests of money over people.Catchphrases like "economic efficiencies" and "eliminating the race for fish" should be translated to "creating sharecroppers" and "eliminating competition"
Terry Haines

9:33 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home