418 Matching Annotations
  1. Aug 2019
    1. Chapter 13, Limits to growth could also be titled questions of sustainability because it demonstrated how concerns about sustainability have been raised in Western society over the past 200 years. The main idea of this chapter is Thomas Malthus’ writing “An Essay on the Principle of Population”. Malthus wrote that population can only increase if there was enough capacity from the earth to provide the necessary sustenance to support that population. Malthus believed that human beings reproduced at a geometric rate and food production grew at an arithmetic rate. When the population exceeded food production, eventually “famine, disease, and war” would reduce the population to the natural limits. This cycle would repeat again and again. While Malthus wrote is an essay in 1798, it is interesting that more than 200 years later, mankind is still grappling with these issues. As was the case for other emerging theories, some took Malthusian theories about population and applied them incorrectly to other areas. Leaders in the British government, upon reading the study argued that “the conditions of the poor should not be improved. If poor people had enough to eat… they would have more children and more of their children would survive…. And in the long run, lead to starvation.” Modern research does not support these ideas. Population research suggests that “as economic security increases…. birth rates decline”. Economic security can be provided by educating women and promoting economic development and access to healthcare. It is significant that the birthrates have decreased from 6 children per family in pre-modern times to 1.6 at present. Since Malthus’ theory 200 years ago, mankind still has not experienced a dramatic population decrease, yet our population is still rising and population experts project that the earth’s population will peak at about 9.8 billion in 2100 before stabilizing. This population explosion is caused by improvements to technology so that we can improve our ability to harvest and distribute resources to improve human wellbeing through better food production and healthcare. The open question is whether mankind can continue to thrive on our planet over the long run through sustainable utilization of resources. It is unclear whether the earth’s population will be able to transition to clean and renewable energy resources to support its population. Transitioning to renewable energy requires a change in many sectors of the global economy. There are many obstacles to this transition. In the United States, the public still distrusts science and the urgency of the climate crisis. Fossil fuel lobby groups have used their financial resources to lobby political leaders to reject sustainable legislative acts and spread misinformation about climate change to the public in order to continue to use fossil fuels and keep their profits. While significant challenges exist, I am optimistic about the future of our civilization. Barring a large-scale nuclear war, I am confident that mankind is on the cusp of creating a sustainable society that will use technology to continue to provide for its stable population. I believe this because the technology that we have today is already capable of allowing us to live in a sustainable way—we just have to utilize it. Eventually, our citizens will force our global society to make the necessary changes needed to survive. If I was able to live in our world in the 22nd century, I think I would find a sustainable civilization that was not perfect but had matured enough to ensure that it does not destroy the only thing it needs to survive-our planet.

    2. When political leaders say there is still doubt about the need to address climate change, we should follow the money to discover why.

      This is a political problem as well.

    3. Warmist” who is probably working for Al Gore in an effort to regulate every aspect of our lives in some big global prison state.

      unfortunately, notions of relativism have also diminished debates discourse because some argue that everything is just a belief or interpretation, instead of relying upon science.

    4. (and has in many cases pushed pollution off the table, which is unfortunate).

      perhaps consider adding a source here for more reading on why it is unfortunate?

    5. While this is true, other factors such as deforestation and even agribusiness release comparable amounts of carbon. Simply stopping the use of oil will not solve the whole climate change problem, although it is an important element of the change society needs to make to stabilize the global climate.

      I think this is a very fair statement - there are multiple issues needed to stabilize our climate- carbon emissions is just one of them.

    6. The Population Bomb may have done more harm than good in the long run, by making the population issue an easy target for critics.

      It would be interesting to unpack the common theme of catrastrophism this seems to grip the psyche of many in the U.S. today - as it relates to some of these themes:

      see https://www.amazon.com/Catastrophism-Apocalyptic-Politics-Collapse-Rebirth-ebook/dp/B009YKIQIA/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

    7. A short, emphatic video by demographer Hans Rosling. CC BY license, Gapminder.org. https://youtu.be/BkSO9pOVpRM

      I have watched this video before, it is an optimistic video that provides hope that sustainability for our society is possible.

    8. “demographic shift” occurs and birth rates decline.

      This informs the mission of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today: empower women, improve standards of living, and poverty and birth rates fall.

    9. The other big controversy surrounding Malthusian thought was that it was used by some members of the British upper classes to argue that the conditions of the poor should not be improved.

      A common problem with emerging scientific discovery and the emerging social sciences. Bad social policy was due to incorrect conclusions of research. Another example was social Darwinism.

    10. Another way of saying that is, population grows as long as there is food and water to support it, and when these resources run out, population is brought back down through famine, disease, and war.

      What this theory did not account for was technology- specifically, birth control.

    11. There’s an economic concept called the zero sum game that says for every winner there has to be a loser.

      I'm not sure this analogy is useful or correct. Perhaps in a survey text, there is not enough space to define this term "zero sum game" adequately, but I think the central principal here is that industrialized nations have not felt hard limits due to unsustainable practices.

    12. And historically, the growth of our own particular group has been important for our survival and therefore has been desirable. In the past, people haven’t always been too concerned if the success of their particular community came at the expense of their neighbors.

      exactly, until recently scarcity just was not a concern for human beings.

  2. Jul 2019
    1. but muchmore will have to be done in order toreconcile future needs for morenitrogen with the quest for highenvironmental quality

      Perhaps this article was intended for those already well versed in the Nitrogen cycle, but I am still not sure why consuming high amounts of nitrogen is that damaging to the planet. Is the only issue with nitrogen hypoxic aquatic dead zones?

    2. Nitrogen cycle and world food production by Vaclav Smil explained the fundamentals of the nitrogen cycle and why it is important. The article does describe the development of agricultural techniques to support a growing global population through the utilization of nitrogen-based fertilizers. The perspective of the article seems to be that the increased use of nitrogen is dangerous to the planet and at the same level of concern as carbon dioxide. Smil wrote on page 9, “Therefore, the nitrogen cycle and human interference in its functioning should get at least as much attention as our current (and I would argue exaggerated) preoccupation with global climate change)”. The article never is able to justify as to why Smil believes it to be of such great concern. Smil provides a narrative in the article of the technological developments that have occurred in the production and use of nitrogen to fertilize crops also explained the increased human dependence on nitrogen for agricultural production and soil productivity. Mankind’s intervention into the nitrogen cycle began in the mid 19th century when “Jean-Baptiste Boussingault…found that the nutritional value of fertilizers is proportional to their nitrogen content (page 10). This discovery caused farmers to use a variety of nitrogen-rich additives and techniques to increase soil productivity. Common approaches to inserting nitrogen into the soil were growing alfalfa, spreading organic waste such as guano, and fertilizing with Chilean nitrates. Fertilization methods were expensive due to their scarcity, and growing alfalfa required crop rotations and for the soil to be allowed to grow fallow with alfalfa on a regular basis. Because of these constraints, mankind’s involvement in the nitrogen cycle was limited. When Fritz Haber was able to synthesize nitrogen from the atmosphere in the mid 20th century at a lower cost than traditional nitrogen production, the cost of fertilizer dropped and the amount of nitrogen used by the agriculture industry rose exponentially. At present, nitrogen produced synthetically through the Haber Bosch process has increased by 1000% since 1900 and at present is virtually how all of the nitrogen is produced. The consequences of the increased usage of nitrogen have been significant. The first has been the ability to feed a very large human population. Smil wrote on page 9, “There is no possibility that we will be able to produce food without nitrogen”. In addition, as the global population became more prosperous, every individual began to consume a more varied diet that is much higher in animal meat consumption. As a result, the projected need for nitrogen is continued to increase to grow feed crops for livestock. It is expected that if mankind was not able to use the Haber-Bosch process, the agricultural industry would only be able to feed about 3 billion people. There is no way to provide for our global population without creating synthetic nitrogen. There are negative consequences of the increased use of nitrogen--fertilizer that is used on farmland is often not fully absorbed by the soil and is moved to other areas through runoff or being carried away by the wind. While Smil encourages conservation of nitrogen fertilizers, he fails to make a convincing case as to why nitrogen run-off is determinantal to the planet. He does describe how nitrogen causes aquatic dead zones in water but does not go much further to explain the risks of these dead zones or all of the other dangers of nitrogen in the environment. Smil wrote on page 13, “but much more will have to be done in order to reconcile future needs for more nitrogen with the quest for high environmental quality”. While Smil makes a convincing case that mankind’s intervention in the nitrogen cycle has significantly increased and shows no sign of abating, the benefits of using more nitrogen such as increased food production to support a growing global population seem to far outweigh the benefits. If Smil wishes to influence his readers to improve their stewardship of nitrogen, more information must be provided regarding the detriments to human flourishing of its use.

    3. While the speed of thistransition has been highly countryspecific the eventual outcome alwaysresults in a much higher demand fornitrogen.

      The challenge here is that this transition to a larger variety of food is also a positive one for human flourishing and quality of life.

    4. Theglobal extent of these losses is boundto increase because at least threebillion people need substantially betterdiets and hence higher nitrogenapplications to their food crops. Theneed is most obvious in sub-SaharanAfrica where typical fertiliser

      and I am assuming in developing countries that the ability to control these losses is the least possible as well.

    5. Volatilisation, leaching, soil erosionand denitrification usually claim mostof the applied nutrient

      Volatilisation- vaporized into the air.

    6. ripled the average USwheat yields during the 20th century

      Increases the productivity of the land by 3X. This is significant, and also probably led to decreases in food prices.

    7. Haber-Bosch synthesis ofammonia made it possible to mass-produce inexpensive nitrogenou

      it would be interesting to track global population levels after this discovery, as I would guess that the rate of population increases accelerated after this discovery. Of course, I would think that other factors (antibiotics and vaccines) which were discovered at this time would help as well.

    8. here is no possibility thatwe will be able to produce foodwithout nitrogen.

      We are totally dependent on nitrogen to live.

    9. and Iwould argue exaggerated)

      why is it exaggerated? I have read many articles explaining all of the damaging effects of passing 2 degrees C in global temperatures would have significant damaging effects.

    10. nitrogen cycle is incomparably moremassive

      but are the effects as damaging?

    11. A simple search of GoogleNews reveals the information gap. InJanuary 2011 the site listed more than700 items for the carbon cycle butfewer than 90 items

      how are "items" defined?

    12. cientific debates

      not really scientific debates, but political debates.

    13. anthropogenicemissions

      emissions due to human activity.

    14. There is no single measure that could substantially cut these losses butthey can be reduced by careful agronomic management and

      meaning, conservation practices to reduce the amount of nitrogen fertilizer we need to produce.

    15. Only the Haber-Bosch synthesis of ammonia, first commercialised in 1913, removed thiskey constraint on crop productivity.

      due to pulling the nitrogen out of the atmosphere

    1. is now possible to buy about five times more calories of processed food than of fresh food per dollar, in the average supermarket.

      This is deeply concerning to me.

    2. subsidies at all, while the top 10 percent receive 75

      similar structural problems in our financial industry as well.

    3. But it helps explain why the government became so interested in turning corn into fuel.

      due to excess supply.

    4. But what makes sense and what is politically expedient are not always the same.

      I am curious why the government did not instead decide to subsidize farmers or promote some type of insurance program for low prices to farmers instead.

    5. mers argued, that a government that had stacked the deck in favor of big corporations should do something to protect the farmer.

      The alliance of the grange movement and progressive party.

    6. new farms depended on extremely expensive capital equipment, high debt, and often on cheap, transient labor.

      no longer a simple family farm.

    7. This capacity was turned over to fertilizer production, flooding the market with low-cost nitrate fertilizers that produced a boom in staple crops

      Another reason that synthetic nitrate fertilizer took off.

    8. Europeans and Asians

      Eastern Europeans and Asians whom the US government believed to be less desirable than Western Europeans (see the Chinese Exclusionary Act).

    9. to understand that their concerns were not the same as those of working people in the cities.

      The Grange movement began here also because farmers understood that they were losing the majority and needed to advocate for themselves.

    10. About 2.5 million slaves were recorded in the census, and in states like South Carolina enslaved people outnumbered free whites.

      so slaves began to offset individuals who were no longer working on farms.

    11. population growth

      and urbanization

    12. ome people such as pre-Columbian Indians in the far north survived on hunting alone, and it is still possible to survive as a hunter today.

      I'm sure they would survive, but a diet without other food types would not promote health and wellness long term.

    1. Chapter 8 Green Revolution describes the trade-offs present as new technology changed the production and harvests methods of crops and allowed for much higher soil productivity--all required to feed a growing population. While this Revolution allowed for many positive outcomes, there were trade-offs still present today.

      The text begins with a summary of the state of agriculture in the early 19th century in the United States. The U.S. population was growing rapidly and to support a growing population increased food production was required. To increase food production there are two basic methods: to increase the amount of land used for growing crops or to increase the productivity of the soil. Breakthroughs in soil productivity were to become available in the 1840s when German chemist Justus von Liebig "discovered that the chemicals nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium were essential to plant growth". Adding nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to crops reduced the need for farmers to rotate crops or let the soil go fallow to replace the nutrients of the soil. This allowed for better farm yields, and for farmers to produce the crops that they wanted to produce (usually those crops which would net them the greatest profit).

      After understanding the benefits of nitrogen, the next challenge was to determine the best way to collect and distribute nitrogen to farmers. The first implemented solution was alfalfa. Alfalfa replaced the nitrogen in the soil but required it to be grown in fields to replenish the nitrogen of the soil. This meant that farmers would need to rotate their crops. For farmers who did not want to rotate their crops, another option was available. Mass production of animal waste, such as manure and Guano from South America was presented as a solution. So important was the supply of guano that nations claimed territories and wars were fought over access rights to it. Guano was popular due to its high potency, inexpensive transportation, and ease of application onto the soil. Another product introduced in the 1870s was a "nitrate-rich desert soil… called Cliché". Cliche was important in the creation of fertilizer and explosives. Caliche's location in South America made it less accessible. The German scientist Fritz Haber discovered a way to extract nitrogen from the air. The Haber-Bosch process is still utilized at present to produce most of the world's nitrogen. The text indicated its importance with the quote "half of the people alive today would probably starve, without the Haber-Bosch process".

      Phosphorus and potassium are the two other important products needed to sustain soil productivity. Phosphorus is produced from phosphate rock, which is a finite mineral resource. There are concerns about the limited nature of this product. The text stated, "some scientists believe phosphorus production may peak around 2030". Scientists have explored other ways of collecting phosphorus such as from sewer sludge from urban cities. The other product, potassium, fortunately, is not in short supply as "reserves total more than three hundred times annual production".

      While the benefits of the Green Revolution are obvious to human flourishing- a higher standard of living and increased food production to reduce hunger, there have been trade-offs with this technique. The first large trade-off has been nitrogen running off and filtrating into the water system, creating oxygen hypoxic "dead zones" in bodies of water. The other concern is the overuse of available water resources trying to produce crops in areas unsuitable for agricultural production. Agricultural production in desert-like areas was one of the main causes of the dustbowl the crippled American farmers and their communities in the 1930s. While modern irrigation methods have allowed farmers to again grow crops in these regions, water resources are declining and are not being used sustainably. While the green revolution has continued to successfully feed the world's population, it is still not clear if it is sustainable. It will take new technologies and better management practices to ensure that we can continue to produce such large volumes of food per acre of farmland and continue to meet the needs of the global population in the 21st century.

    2. The question is, will American agribusiness change willingly and thoughtfully before a crisis, or out of desperate reaction after the crisis strikes?

      I suspect the latter.

    3. American grain production will be reduced by 700 million bushels per year.

      this is an example of capitalism's ongoing struggle with sustainability.

    4. Of 116,000 refugee families surveyed on their way into California, only four out of ten were farmer families. A full third of the heads of families who fled Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Texas were white collar professionals.

      It would be interesting to track population in those areas over the course of the 20th century.

    5. Over half a million people were left homeless when their topsoil blew away.

      And this is why we should not underestimate the risks of climate change today.

    6. onto marginal lands.

      Limits to the green revolution.

    7. Since the 1990s, more than a quarter million farmers in India have killed themselves because they cannot escape the cycle of debt created by their green-revolution involvement in high-tech agriculture.

      A few things:

      1. the current terminology is "died by suicide"
      2. This sentence seems overly dramatic and simplistic. While I do not contest that economic hardship without opportunities creates despair, I do not think it follows this was solely caused by the Green Revolution.
    8. he green revolution has also been criticized by less developed nations for increasing poor people’s dependence on technological solutions created in the faraway laboratories and factories in the United States and other industrialized nations.

      as we become more and more interconnected with needing technology to support our civilization, I don't see this concern going away.

    9. Current world production is dominated by two cartels, but known reserves total more than three hundred times annual production, so the element is not considered strategic.

      I wish more resources were not contested.

    10. believe phosphorus production may peak around 2030,

      unless we find new methods of mining phosphorus when prices rise due to shortages.

    11. Another way of putting Smil’s point is that nearly half the people alive today would probably starve, without the Haber-Bosch process.

      Able to prevent Malthus' forecast of food shortages.... I wish we could do the same thing with climate change (technology

    12. The Haber-Bosch process requires not only extreme high pressures to extract atmospheric nitrogen, but a great deal of energy. Approximately five percent of the world’s production of natural gas is required to produce about 500 million tons of ammonia each year

      certainly another era that our global society will need to de-carbonize in the 21st century.

    13. he guano islands off the western coast of South America were so valuable that two wars were fought over them

      I had no idea that excrement was so valuable.

    14. mpressed by alfalfa’s success in California in the early 1850s, the U.S. Patent Office mailed out thousands of packets of alfalfa seed to farmers across the country.

      I am curious if the Patent office understood the connection between alfalfa and nitrogen then....

    15. began planting their fields with the cash crops every year rather than rotating grain

      maximizing short term profit at the expense of the long-term profit.

    16. The expansion and growth of both the West and the East depended on the ability of farmers to continue producing food for the nation’s growing population and for export

      to support an urban population, farmers needed a surplus.

    1. Chapter 1 of “Nature’s Metropolis” by William Cronon describes how the city of Chicago became what it is today. The chapter provides a unique perspective by describing both the environmental and social factors that led to the creation, growth and sustainability of the city. In retrospective Chicago’s location and status as a mega city was both inevitable and a product of both economic and political conditions which led to its large population and economic output.

      The location and environmental factors, such as proximity to lakes, rivers and flatness of terrain is what was both attractive to settlers and its inhabitants the Potawatomi Indians. The US government forced the original inhabitants out with its military. Prior to US settlement, the region was a popular location for the French and Indians to trade via a trading post. The same environmental features- rich soil, flat land, its proximity to rivers and the great lakes, as well its physical location in a central region of the continent made it a popular location for settlers and natives.

      U.S. settlement began slowly with pioneers settling the region for its farmland. It wasn’t until information arrived back east from soldiers who participated in the battle at Bad Axe shared about the fertile soil and beautiful landscape the emigration began to increase. It was only six months after this that the population of Chicago doubled.

      Chicago’s geography of rich farm fields, natural resources, and transportation routes made it a great candidate for a large city. As a result, investors began to purchase land, creating a large real estate bubble, with speculation driving up lot prices from 10 dollars to one hundred thousand dollars. In the short term, land speculators made profits on the land, but eventually, the market collapsed, and land prices fell to more reasonable levels, with speculators “stuck” with bank notes for properties that were significantly underwater.

      After the economic bubble had passed, new political speculators, given the name of “boosters” began to influence the growth of the city. Boosters believed that nature the formation of urban centers was inevitable due to location, number of individuals who resided in the city, and natural resources available. Boosters believed that Chicago was to be a great U.S. city due to all of these factors. The first reason for Chicago’s success would be trade, and the needs of its citizens. These needs would create economic incentives for business and producers to provide for these individuals. The second reason was due to its accessibility to transportation- rivers and lakes would provide significant economic centers of trade which would require a large population. Second were the transportation routes for the natural resources. Finally, Chicago’s climate provided for favorable and comfortable conditions to have a large population. Theories about population growth and urban development were popular and influential in this time period, as the United States was just at the beginning stages of its transformation to an industrialized and developed nation. Social scientists were applying the scientific method inappropriately, but still, these political factors, combined with Chicago’s location, and environmental and transportation resources allowed it to become the major city of the Midwest in a relatively (less than one century) short period of time.

    2. The land was not free but taken. Moreover, even ifit became free in the moment that it passed from Indian control, it soon ceased to be free again as it entered the market-

      excellent point

    3. Chicago had been a marketplace long before boosters proclaimed it a tropolis

      It didn't just start with the US settlers.

    4. m in time. The lone city in the midst of the featureless plain had no histor

      and thus did not have to account for settlement trends, development of various technologies over time, etc.

    5. No city was as isolated as this one. All were surrounded by a variety of smaller towns and villages which complicated the hinterland picture. No region was as homogene-ous as the hypothetical plain.

      the natural features of land also influenced what was placed there. Also did not account for zoning.

    6. Turner's Chicago rose to power only as the fron-er drew to a close, whereas the boosters' Chicago had been an intimate part of frontier settlement almost from the beginning.

      Difference between why Chicago developed between boosters and Turner.

    7. he boosters expressed what many Americans believed-or wanted to be-lieve-about the expansion and progress of the United States and its Great West. They offered seemingly rational arguments to reinforce the visionary faith that sustained many who lived and invested in the region.

      The boosters may be gone, but some of the beliefs are not.

    8. nder such circumstances, commercial "conquest" yielded ppy results for conqueror and conquered alike.

      another example of idealism of a market capitalist system.

    9. merica's cities had grown by commercial power, not the tyran-nical power of the state.

      such an idealism of lassiez-faire economics

    10. etropolis to lead the Great Wes

      Theories were created to justify a shared dream.

    11. but its more immedi-ate cause was the spatial arrangement of human beings.

      there is an obvious chicken and egg problem with this.

    12. sire intercourse one with another, so a road is made from village to village; but one improves faster than the others, some local advantage is the cause; then all the other villag~s construct their roads to it, and this makes the second circle. But among these villages of larger growth, one better situated than the rest advances with more rapidity, and the city soon stands in the centre of the third circle

      Another example of taking the enlightenment a little too far in utilizing the scientific method.

    13. Why? Because the white races who would build such civilizations retained their civilized superiority only in a temperate climate that challenged them with ex-tremes of hot and cold. T

      an example of a theory that had no basis in creation or explanatory power that was used to support racism.

    14. laws

      "Laws" of trade seems to me to be taking the scientific method of explanation a little too far. This happens in economics as well (Law of Supply and Demand). Low is always a misnomer- it should be "theory"

    15. God's-would send them flowing toward the future city. Jesup Scott, for instance, believed that the Great Lakes had been designed by no less an architect than God

      The religious/spiritual arrogance here is just profound, the people are believing that their God gave them all of these gifts, while not taking into account that their acquisition of these gifts meant enormous pain and suffering for the Native Americans who were forced to leave.

    16. 1840s to the 1880s, joined with Louis Sullivan and with other boosters in seeing the city as nature's high-

      There seems to be an interesting philosophical mix emerging here between a city being the natural evolution of society, and this divinely ordained place to be. Interesting that these two seemingly conflicting ideas run together.

    17. nature

      or god - there was a great degree of religious arrogance regarding their cause.

    18. To understand h,ow so

      part in parcel with manifest destiny- the idea of bringing civilization and order westward.

    19. canal

      rail became less expensive and possible which made it so this was not needed.

    20. ake Michigan in the 250 mil

      Positive environmental features that lead to urbanization.

    21. nly at the end of this Darwinian sequence

      Interesting that this was the reference, yet Darwin did not write Origin of Species until 1859

    22. begins with the Indian and the hunter; it goes on to tell of the disintegra-tion of savagery by the entrance of the trader, the pathfinder of civiliza-tion; we read the annals of the pastoral stage in ranch life; the exploitation of the soil by the raising of unrotated crops of corn and wheat in sparsely settled farming communities; the intensive culture of the denser farm settlement; and finally the manufacturing organization with city and fac-tory system.31

      This seems like a common narrative of progress and "civilizing" a "savage" world that was in the minds of many in the American Republic in the 1800s.i

    23. They waited a long time. An-other decade passed before Chicago began to fulfill the destiny specula-tors had dreamed for it during the mad years of the land rush.

      This seems to be a similar themes in boom to bust cycles.

    24. Soldiers who had mustered from as far away as New York, Virginia, and Louisiana sent back glowing reports about the fertility of the Illinois prairies, and spurred a wave of immigration to the region around Chicago.1

      Cause of the first influx of settlers to Chicago.

    25. Nothing," he said, "can be sold, but -uch things as can be carried away."

      This fits with a previous text that I read in this course that stated something to the effect of Native Americans believing you could only possess something on the land, not the land itself.

    26. 26 NATURE'S METROPOLIS everything seem centered upon itself and its remarkable growth. By the second half of the nineteenth century, Chicago would stand as the great-est metropolis in the continent's interior,

      such fast growth.

    27. Chi-cago stood in the borderland between the western prairies and eastern oak-hickory forests, and the lake gave it access to the white pines and other coniferous trees of the north woods. Grasslands and hardwood and oftwood forests were all within reach.

      Another reason for Chicago's existence- a natural meeting point between forests and grasslands.

    28. hicago's location was the river.

      First reason for Chicago's existence was a natural feature/resource

    29. he wild-garlic place.

      I did not know that Chicago received its name from Native Americans naming it Chigagou or "the wild-garlic place"

    30. Go back just over a century and a half to the place that became Chicago

      such a short period of time relatively speaking of change.

    Annotators

    1. Chapter 7- Commodities, Centers, Peripheries provides the reader with a new perspective about the economic development in 19th, and 20th century United States. The traditional perspective was that technological and economic development increased per capita income, lowered prices, and provided many more products for consumers and increased the economic might of the United States. While the basic facts are correct- industrialization and improved transportation did provide economic development and a higher standard of living there was also an uncoupling of consumers from the products they required. Consumers no longer knew where their food was coming from or its quality. The concept of "local food" began to phase out of existence because local butcher and farmer could no longer compete with the meatpacking plant and the corporate farm.

      The chapter begins describing how waterways and railroad junctions allowed for the creation of urban centers (large cities). These cities required food and goods to be imported via boat or train to provide for its occupants. While this created new markets for farmers and livestock producers, it also created economic opportunities for vendors to transport and preserve goods via boat and railroad and ice and spice. Farmers began to specialize in crops they could receive the most money for and easily transport, such as wheat and pork. Large business began to compete in these markets and were able to produce goods and services less expensively than local farmers and butchers through mass manufacturing techniques. While this allowed for arguably less expensive products for consumers, it also created disconnects. Students could not choose which local producer to buy from and instead had less choices of what company’s products to purchase. Because consumers could no longer discern or penalize large corporations for substandard products activists were able to lobby for federal regulations on meat and other produce. However, these regulations negatively impacted small businesses because the food regulated was required to be inspected, and there were not enough inspectors to review every local producer's good. Without an endorsement, the product could not be sold, thus benefiting the corporate monopoly further. The mandatory costs associated with inspection were paid for by the government. The text indicate that these regulations had the effect of wiping out the “Chicago meat industry's competition through regulation”.

      Another industry that was transformed during this period was the lumber industry. Instead of cutting their wood and building their houses on the frontier, wood was milled and sold in housing kits to consumers. While these changes reduced housing costs and the complexity of building a house, they further disconnected the consumer from their environment. Consumers were now unaware of how logging impacted other regions because they did not live in those logged regions. The text refers to it best "but sometimes the environmental impact on remote, resource-producing hinterlands is harder to see than the growth and profit being generated in the processing cities”. This introduces the concept of externality, which means to price some of these environmental impacts into the costs of the product so consumers can better be aware of the actual costs of the products they are consuming. While externality is not currently calculated in prices, its popularity is growing among environmental activists.

      The text states: “New technology and new markets helped the American West grow and led to our society of prefabricated homes and processed foods. But in the long run, the centers accumulated more economic and political power than the periphery". 19th and 20th-century economic development is not just a story of gains, it is a story of gains and losses. While it is not appropriate for historians to judge these changes, we must fully understand them to be informed to create better policies for the future.

    2. The point is not that change should not have happened, but that if we understand what actually happened, we may be better equipped to consider where we go from here.

      I think this narrative is not well understood, and the point is well taken. Some may even believe that this transition is inevitable, but we cannot create/improve policies to address some of our present conditions unless we understand where to go next.

    3. processed foods

      another casualty of the new economy- processed foods.

    4. lishing standards of quality.

      perhaps an unintended (or intended?) consequence.

    5. national markets.

      and later a global market

    6. opulists were key to the passage of the Sherman Antitrust Act and to its application against monopolies

      While populism never became a party, it did shift the politics in the country- such as sliver or gold.

    7. Countless small farmers sold their grain to a few big corporations, and the farmers paid higher freight rates than the railroads charged their favored corporate customers.

      This is also the time where the family farm began to decline rapidly, and the populist movement began to surge to try to prevent this. All factors of technology and urbanization.

    8. But as soon as it was unloaded the grain went into bulk storage bins where it was mixed with everyone else’s grain.

      The trust relationship was transitioned from a person to corporation.

    9. When farmers milled their grain locally and sold it close to home, people were able to buy flour from producers they trusted.

      and producers received immediate feedback if not a good product.

    10. externality

      Loss of externality in the 20th century.

    11. But sometimes the environmental impact on remote, resource-producing hinterlands is harder to see than the growth and profit being generated in the processing cities.

      This supports the central thesis of this chapter, that urbanization and specialization, along with government regulation creating a disconnect between consumers and their goods. This has environmental impacts of not understanding the environmental impact.

    12. natural resources of the frontier

      and became railroad towns.

    13. of their products

      A very interesting perspective on the FDA reducing the concept of a local market. Another perspective is that the FDA created safety in a market that was selling substandard food to consumers. Perhaps both are true.

    14. Criticized for interfering in free enterprise with their mandatory inspections, the government had actually wiped out the Chicago meat industry’s competition through regulation.

      mistake in the design of the law or a result of lobbying?

    15. valuable government service at taxpayer expense. USDA inspections cost the meat packers nothing, calmed the suspicions of consumers, and restored trust in the corporate brands.

      While this is true, it also could be viewed as a subsidy for consumers for meat. This regulatory cost would have been passed down to consumers, so this is another alternative.

    16. But health and safety inspections were mandatory and were paid for by the government.

      and the issue of government regulations vs free enterprise, and business attempting loopholes to get out of government relations began.

    17. Growth of the Chicago meat packing industry was resisted by butchers, distrusted by consumers, and criticized by labor activists.

      This began a trend of not knowing where your food was coming from.

    18. If you’re going to lose money, lose it. But don’t let ‘em nose you out.”

      so that when there is no competition out east, you can raise prices.

    19. One of America’s forgotten industries that flourished during the nineteenth century was the ice business.

      As I previously stated, preserving food would become a big business if you are producing surplus food.

    20. Cincinnati was known as Porkopolis

      Cincinatti=Porkopolis

    21. In the early 1800s, Buffalo New York and Cincinnati Ohio became centers of pork processing. Bacon and hams were smoked, and pork was salted and packed in barrels for storage and shipping.

      I am assuming that as surpluses became available, better storage techniques (so materials did not spoil) became necessary and therefore invented as well.

    22. living bank account for their owners.

      Because as they grew they became more valuable. A more apt term might be "Living investment"

    23. Whenever people have achieved a surplus above and beyond mere subsistence, trade and the accumulation of resources have led to urbanization.

      I would also add, this also led to increasing amounts of specialization as well.

    1. Henry Ford, Charles Kettering and the Fuel of the Future by Bill Kovarik provides a narrative of the political and economic factors related to the production and consumption biofuels like ethyl alcohol. Ethyl Alcohol was labeled as the fuel of the future by both Ford and Kettering because of its high-octane performance, clean-burning, anti-engine knock capability, and its ability to be sustainably grown by American farmers. Unfortunately, even though it was hailed by scientists and automotive industry leaders, it was never able to supplant petroleum to power modern transportation. Kovarik describes both the economic and political factors in the 19th and 20th centuries which impeded ethyl alcohol from ever realizing that future.

      It is interesting that many of the same arguments for and against alternative energy that were made in the early 20th century are still being made at present Kovarik wrote: “opponents have seen ethyl alcohol fuel as a scheme for robbing taxpayers to enrich farmers, as turning food for the poor into fuel for the rich, as compounding soil erosion problems, and as a marginally useful enhancement or replacement fuel for a transportation system that is poorly designed in the first place. Advocates have seen in alcohol fuels the potential for revolutionizing agricultural economics, for dispelling city smog, and for curbing the power of the petroleum industry over the economy”. There was also “research” that was published by pro-alternative fuel interest groups, and anti-alternative fuel interest groups trying to promote their point of view. One of the virtues of ethyl alcohol according to its supporter was to reduce U.S dependence on foreign oil, which was a theme in the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections.

      In the mid 19th century, there were a variety of fuels available to the consumer. However, due to federal tax policy, the free market was not able to promote equal competition. An alcohol tax was levied in 1862 to discourage alcohol tax and raise funds for the federal government. The tax was not meant to apply to alcohol- based fuels, but it was never rescinded. This alcohol tax was not changed for almost 50 years. This tax is one of the main reasons as to why the petroleum industry was able to obtain a “head start” on mass production. By the time the Alcohol tax was removed, petroleum was less expensive than alcohol-based fuels and has remained so to present.

      While there has been large amounts of interest in increasing the utilization of alcohol based fuels in the U.S. over the last 100 years, the same factors prevented the fuel from becoming accepted by the mainstream- it was slightly more expensive, there was concern about the agricultural impacts of production, and the oil lobbying group was very powerful. This comparison of the U.S. to the rest of the world is apparent when Kovarik wrote “By the mid-1920s ethyl alcohol was routinely blended with gasoline in every industrialized nation except the United States” (page 117). Kovarik concludes that “Practical techniques were well known to overcome most of the problems with alcohol as a pure fuel or in blends with gasoline. Fuel blends were economically successful in countries where oil was more expensive or where independence in fuel supply was seen as a political or strategic problem”. This was not the case in the United States. Even so, the question as to whether Ford and Kettering misjudged ethyl alcohol as the fuel of the future is still open for debate- they still could be ahead of their time.

    2. Fuel blends were economically successful in countries where oil was more expensive or where independence in fuel supply was seen as a political or strategic problem.

      Just not in the US where oil was plentiful.

    3. The differences in these economic assumptions demonstrate that the debate over alcohol fuel that broke out in the Midwest in the 1930s depended greatly on the viewpoint of the company or individual. In essence, political conditions shaped the marketplace and the new competition faced a difficult economic playing field heavily tilted toward established industries.

      Thesis of the chapter- the debate is divisive depending on interest groups and given the economic and political power of the oil industry, it is difficult for a new technology to breakthrough.

    4. This roughly one-third advantage has been the rule for most of the 20th century in the U.S. In 1933, grain alcohol cost 25 cents per gallon wholesale as opposed to gasoline at 10 to 13 cents per gallon wholesale. Despite attempts to make alcohol from cheaper materials (such as wood waste and cellulose), the cost differential has been the most serious obstacle to the widespread use of alcohol fuel and, according to some historians, the primary focus of most oil industry resistance to its use.160

      Still is true today without subsidies.

    5. The onset of interest in alcohol fuel in 1933 caught the oil industry off guard, but once alarmed, it reacted swiftly. The American Petroleum Institute urged formation of state level “emergency committees” in the spring of 1933 to oppose proposals for tax incentives. In a set of memos sent under a red cover marked “IMPORTANT,” API introduced a “coordinated program to be connected throughout the industry” to combat alcohol gasoline blending. The memo explained the threat: compulsory blend of alcohol and gasoline, as was used in France, Italy and Germany in the 1920s and early 30s, “will harm the petroleum industry and the automobile industry as well as state and national treasuries by reducing [oil] consumption,” the memo said. The only ones to benefit would be distillers, railroads (which would transport the alcohol) and bootleggers “to whom would be opened brand new fields of fraud.” 149

      sounds like industry collusion.

    6. When a certain point in costs has been reached, several methods of meeting the situation will be available: These include: increased importation of petroleum; more complete recovery of domestic petroleum from the ground by various so-called secondary methods; conversion of natural gas into gasoline; extraction of oil from shale; synthesis of oil from coal; domestic production of alcohol from vegetable materials; and foreign production of such alcohol.”

      At present, the US took the shale oil option

    7. By 1939, the Atchison Agrol plant closed its doors, not in bankruptcy, but without viable markets to continue.

      The trend in this article seems to be that the economics never worked out for biofuels.

    8. chemurgy

      using farm crops to fight the Depression=chemurgy

    9. By the mid-1920s ethyl alcohol was routinely blended with gasoline in every industrialized nation except the United States. Ten to twenty five percent alcohol blends with gasoline were common in Scandinavian countries, where alcohol was made from paper mill wastes; in France, G

      to help with anti-knockng

    10. In a restraining order forbidding such criticism, the Federal Trade Commission said Ethyl gasoline “is entirely safe to the health of [motorists] and to the public in general when used as a motor fuel, and is not a narcotic in its effect, a poisonous dope, or dangerous to the life or health of a customer, purchaser, user or the general public.”114

      successful lobbying effort to get the FTC to write this.

    11. Synthol

      Chemical gasoline failed to replace leaded gasoline

    12. aying out vast sums yearly in order to obtain supplies of crude oil from Mexico, Russia and Persia.”

      same concern in 2008.

    13. The superiority of alcohol gasoline fuels is now safely established by actual experience… [Thus] the future of alcohol motor fuels is largely an economic problem. 82

      This is interesting, in that it assumes that alcohol was a better fuel, yet I am looking forward to reading why it did not become popular.

    14. ith that we must turn for our salvation,”

      more concern of peak oil in the 1920s

    15. 62 Other researchers confirmed the same phenomena around the same time.

      same rhetoric exists today, just isn't as powerful, so you run out earlier.

    16. ure alcohol fuel went on sale in Peoria, Illinois at 32 cents per gallon in January, 1907 as the tax took effect, and prices elsewhere hovered around 25 to 30 cents. At the same time, gasoline prices at 18 to 22 cents per gallon were beginning to drop as new Texas oil fields came on line and found markets on the East Coast. These new fields were brought in by independent oil companies, especially Gulf and the Texas Co. (Texaco). Suddenly, the future for alcohol fuel seemed more remote than anticipated.

      alcohol fuel was more expensive than gasoline in 1907

    17. Gasoline is growing scarcer, and therefore dearer, all the time… Automo

      peak oil argument in 1906....

    18. il trust

      TR marketed himself as a trust buster.

    19. American farmers watched the growing use of alcohol fuel in Europe with great interest.

      Populism by Ag policies also had an impact here.

    20. French fuel alcohol production rose from 2.7 million gallons in 1900 to 5.7 million gallons in 1903 and 8.3 million in 1905.40 Enthusiasm over the marriage of agriculture and industry in alcohol fuel was not the only motivation for French interest. A very practical problem was the decline in French sugar beet exports and rising surplus of many crops. Another concern was the increase in oil imports from the U.S. and the lack of domestic oil reserves.41

      Many reasons why bio fuels were popular in Europe. I am curious to read why this didn't last.

    21. and the distilleries making lamp fuel lost their markets. The tax “had the effect of upsetting [the distilleries] and in some cas

      due to tax policy

    22. The tax was meant to apply to beverage alcohol, but without any specific exemption, it was also applied to fuel and industrial uses for alcohol. “The imposition of the internal-revenue tax on distilled spirits … increased the cost of this ‘burning fluid’ beyond the possibility of using it in competition with kerosene..,” said Rufus F. Herrick, an engineer with the Edison Electric Testing Laboratory who wrote one of the first books on the use of alcohol fuel.

      Example of government policies can significantly impact technological ramp up to mass production

    23. By the late 1830s, alcohol blends had replaced increasingly expensive whale oil in most parts of the country. It “easily took the lead as the illuminant” because it was “a decided improvement on other oils then in use,

      alcohol fuel in 1830s means it was one of the most early viable fuels in the US

    24. Morey used the readily available alcohol in the first American prototype internal combustion engine at the surprisingly early date of 1826

      Samuel Morey prototyped an internal combustion engine in 1826 but steam engine had too much hype.

    25. n other words, kerosene replaced other fuels; it did not emerge to light up a previously dark world.

      Why did it replace other fuels? Economics?

    26. Advocates have seen in alcohol fuels the potential for revolutionizing agricultural economics, for dispelling city smog, and for curbing the power of the petroleum industry over the economy. In addition, the idea that agriculture and biological resources could be primary sources of energy, the idea that humankind could live on solar “income” rather than fossil fuel “capital,” has held a fascination for several generations of automotive and agricultural engineers. Proponents could see in ethyl alcohol the potential to help strike balance between city and farm and the prospect of civilizing and humanizing industrial machinery.

      read this argument at https://ethanolrfa.org/

    27. pponents have seen ethyl alcohol fuel as a scheme for robbing taxpayers to enrich farmers, as turning food for the poor into fuel for the rich, as compounding soil erosion problems, and as a marginally useful enhancement or replacement fuel for a transportation system that is poorly designed in the first place.

      I have read this argument on the topic of anti-ethanol at present.

    28. Economic issues have generally worked against the use of alcohol in favor of petroleum,

      What are these economic issues?

    29. They say we have foreign oil,” he said. “It is … in Persia, and it is in Russia. Do you think that is much defense for your children?” 6

      This argument was also made in 2006.

    30. More importantly to Ford, in 1925 the American farms that Ford loved were facing an economic crisis that would later intensify with the depression. 2 Although the causes of the crisis were complex, one possible solution was seen in creating new markets for farm products

      But was Ford's statement politically motivated or technologically informed?

    31. When Henry Ford told a New York Times reporter that ethyl alcohol was “the fuel of the future” in 1925, he was expressing an opinion that was widely shared in the automotive industry.

      Interesting that this did not happen at all.

    1. Chapter 6, Transportation Revolution describes the various forms of transportation available to Americans and how the technological improvements and the trend of faster, less expensive, and more comfortable transportation transformed American society between the 15th and 21st centuries. The text also provides a perspective about the economic and political implications of these transportation trends that cased a transformation of life for all Americans.

      Ocean-going ships were the first transportation technology that allowed global trade to be transported between the Americas and Europe. While ocean ships were able to transport goods between the Americas and Europe, overland transportation still relied upon pack animals and as a result, the United States was not able to expand westward as rapidly due to a lack of economic opportunity. Limited transportation options were a cause of the Whiskey Rebellion when western Pennsylvania farmers who were manufacturing whiskey because it was able to be more easily transported rebelled when they were taxed by the US government.

      To expand westward, the United States began to utilize rivers to transport goods and made canals (such as the Erie Canal) to aid in riverboat shipping. This transportation improvement helps to explain why “the Ohio River Valley became one of the first areas of rapid settlement after the Revolution”. It is also why cities such as New Orleans or Saint Paul developed because of their proximities to rivers to be economic centers for trade. Canal building was a significant enhancement to transportation by connecting rivers in the Ohio River Valley and Mississippi River Valley watershed and made transportation safer, faster, and more comfortable, which improved the number of people willing to move west. As Chapter 1 from Nature Incorporated by Ted Steinberg described, the Milling industry utilized this vast network of rivers to create manufactured goods.

      The utilization of steam power enabled the next transportation revolution. Steam power was first developed for riverboats to allow ships to sail not just faster downstream, but upstream as well. Steam power caused “an explosion of travel and shipping that radically changed frontier life”. Power by steam allowed western farmers to reach European markets. While steam power revolutionized travel by water, there were still many areas of the United States that did not have river access. Stream provided technology to revolutionize overland travel as well- the railroad. Where overland travel previously took weeks via pack animal, railroad travel could take days. Cities like Chicago owe their formation and size due to railroad transportation.

      As new transportation technologies like the railroad became more important to the economic and military power of the United States, new incentives were created to expand the railroad further to provide as many connections as possible. Land grants were awarded to railroad corporations to increase the profitability of railroad track construction. While these land grants did expand the railways across the United States successfully, they also created political controversy as increasing amounts of public funds were being spent on corporations instead of citizens.

      Transportation technologies continued the trend of allowing people and goods to move about faster, safer, and less expensively with the invention and implementation of the internal combustion engine. Entrepreneurs like Henry Ford adopted mass production manufacturing techniques to make the personal automobile at a price point to allow for middle-class Americans to be able to afford these vehicles. New technologies, such as large trucking, tractors, and airplanes made significant increases in worker productivity creating a global marketplace for products. The internal combustion engine revolutionized the oil markets by providing huge amounts of demand for oil. The chapter closes out with a narrative of alternative forms of fuel such as ethanol. While ethanol grown from corn or other biomass is available as an alternative fuel to gasoline, it has never been able to become a popular product for consumers, possibly because of the political and economic might of the oil industry. As the perils of the internal combustion engine (production of CO2 gasses) become more of an issue, it will be interesting to see how the United States changes as a result of another potential transportation revolution – the electrification of transport in the coming decades.

    2. Interstate Highway System

      Another Federal Investment that revolutionized transportation. A counterpoint to whether this was a good thing can be found at https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/07/car-crashes-arent-always-unavoidable/592447/

    3. But while pure ethanol has powered most automobiles in Brazil since the 1970s, most Americans continue to use a blend containing just 10% ethanol to 90% gasoline.

      I am skeptical here that reason we are not using ethanol powered vehicles has to do with price collusion and more to do with economics- I remember when e85 was heavy subsidized and less expensive than gasoline- this did not shift the market and instead led to large price increases in corn prices.

    4. when the Lincoln administration imposed a $2.08 per gallon tax on distilled alcohol between 1862 and 1864.

      why did they do this?

    5. Even the workers on Henry Ford’s assembly lines could aspire to owning their own Model Ts, especially after Ford doubled their wages to $5 a day in January 1914.

      transportation is continuing its trend of becoming less expensive, more reliable, and more personable.

    6. n 1880 Chicago’s population was over 500,000, and ten years later Chicago had over a million residents.

      Chicago's growth was a direct result from the Railroad.

    7. Railroad land grants were made with no similar stipulations because railroad corporations were expected to sell the lands they were given at a substantial profit.

      I am sure this would lead to concern about big business being too supported by the government.

    8. Decisions to build lines were frequently based on the land granted, rather than on whether or not railroad companies expected the new lines to carry enough traffic or generate enough freight revenue to pay for themselves.

      A great example of government incentives can create transportation revolutions. I wish this would happen more-so today with electric cars and solar panels.

    9. In the years following the war, the shattered South added very little railroad track and repaired only a small percentage of the tracks the Union Army had destroyed during the war

      I interpret this sentence to give a meaning that the south did not have the foresight to create more rail lines. Might it have more to do with the dominant industries (agrarian economy vs manufacturing) or the weak economic state of the south and lack of investment instead?

    10. The railroad, which had been established in 1827 to compete with the Erie Canal, already advertised itself as a faster way to move people and freight from the interior to the coast

      Interesting that railroad (pulled by horses) was invented independent of steam, it just took steam to grow it.

    11. In spite of their power and speed, steam-powered riverboats depended on rivers or occasionally on canals to run, but a railroad could be built almost anywhere.

      And travel where it was cold.

    12. And steam-powered ocean shipping made the markets of Britain and Europe readily accessible to farmers and merchants in the middle of North America.

      steam-power led to significant increases in global trade.

    13. James Watt’s

      James Watt invented the engine, Robert Fulton commercialized it.

    14. only improve their own quality of life, but contribute to family income by taking in piece-work, raising cash crops, or keeping cows and churning butter for sale to their local merchants.

      another example of how the empowerment of women is one of the best antidotes to poverty. This is another cause of the women's liberation movement as well.

    15. shipping costs by over ninety percent,

      Amazon Prime is another modern day example- as shipping costs decease, the following of shipped goods increase.

    16. illing to make long trips increased accordingly.

      It wasn't just the speed of the transportation, it was the increases in public as well.

    17. Erie Canal opened a route fr

      First national public works project

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erie_Canal

    18. Pittsburgh, Columbus, Cincinnati, Louisville, St. Louis, Kansas City, Omaha, and St. Paul all owe their locations to the river systems they provide access to.

      Rivers could carry goods & commerce and make destination ports become manufacturing centers.

    19. Spanish port also explains why New Orleans was a considered strategic city by the United States in the War of 1812.

      natural waterways have been significant strategic areas in all wars due to their resources and abilities to control commerce.

    20. The Ohio River Valley became one of the first areas of rapid settlement after the Revolution,

      An example of the environment influencing the location and types of settlements.

    21. The postal system’s designer, Benjamin Franklin, understood that in order for the new Republic to function, information had to flow freely. Franklin set a low rate for mailing newspapers, insuring that news would circulate widely

      In addition, why the system was federalized supports the idea that free flow of information was considered a public good.

    22. Less than thirty years later, riders working for the Post Office Department carried mail to nearly all the new settlements of the interior.

      those are significant advances in transportation-30 years time.

    23. farmers in western Pennsylvania, was really about transportation.

      I understand how Whiskey was easier to ship than regular crops, which led to its creation, but I think it would be more accurate to write that the initial cause of the whiskey rebellion was because farmers found it easier to ship whiskey than crops. The cause of the rebellion was a tax levied by the Federal government in order to raise revenues. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whiskey_Rebellion

    24. But from the beginning of the American Revolution to the conclusion of the War of 1812, relations between the new nation and Britain were tense and trade suffered. If it had not found a way to ship people and goods to and from its own frontier, the United States would have remained a coastal nation focused on ports like Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston.

      Trains made it possible for the US to span the North American continent

    25. But it is clear that improvements in transportation technology have been among the most powerful drivers of change in our history.

      They are a direct cause of globalization, which has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty.

    26. uture is already here, it’s just not very evenly distributed.

      William Gibson The Economist, December 4, 2003

      Why not site this person in the quote?

    27. The transportation revolution in the United States began when Americans taking advantage of features of the natural environment to move people and things from place to place began searching for ways to make transport cheaper, faster, and more efficient.

      Thesis of chapter

    1. Chapter 1 from The Transformation of Water, by Ted Steinberg, described some of the historical events pertaining to the Charles River and its surrounding areas in the 17th and 18th centuries. These events demonstrated how its perception changed as a result of technological, political, and economic developments. The Charles River is an example of a larger philosophical shift in how the majority of American society began to view the environment and their relationship to it. One can clearly see some of the same conflicts and controversies that existed between corporate and public interests regarding the river that continue to be present in other areas in the present.

      Steinberg begins the story of the Charles River by providing a description of its usefulness. On page 21, Steinberg wrote “water played an important role in the lives of the people who lived here. The valley’s waters met the needs of the economy for food and fodder, while the water-driven mills dotted the shores of the Charles River”. While the River has always been useful, what is interesting is the specific ways in which the River was useful began to change over time due to increasing demand for manufactured products.

      Both Native Americans and settlers utilized the benefits of the River—they created settlements nearby for transportation, food (especially fishing), and fresh water. Europeans also used the river for property demarcation, as they viewed the concept of property ownership differently than the American Indians. Colonists who moved into the Charles River valley utilized the River to grow crops. To aid in providing for these new settlements, local governments created incentives such as free land to encourage Millwrights to build Mills in the area. Mills were essential to these new communities for survival, economic opportunities, and technological improvement. The expectation of the millwright who received these incentives was that they would sell their milled products to consumers at a fair price. Steinberg wrote on page 28, “most of the work done at pre-industrial mills was seasonal and did not require continuous use of water power”. While there were some changes the mills brought to the environment, like flooding farmer’s fields, they were very light in comparison to what would happen later. However, as the number of Mills increased, so did the conflict between Mill owners and farmers, and new legal frameworks and ideas began to emerge. A statute was passed in 1713, that “empowered a jury to assess damage to be paid each year by a mill owner for land flooded” (page 30). Mill owners supported legislation that reduced the changes of costly legal battles and a “more orderly procedure for dispensing damage payments” (page 31). As time progressed, new legislation was passed that began to slowly favor mill owners over groups such as farmers.

      As demand for millwork increased, so did the economic opportunity and technological capabilities of mills. Steinberg described the manufacturing revolution that originated in the Netherlands that “further replaced tasks done by hand” (pg 34) that was brought to the Mills in the United States. This increased the size and number of mills on the river and had other consequences such as reducing the fishing harvest from the river that other individuals relied upon. In the mid-1800s, mills were continuing to grow on size and economic influence. A fundamental principle in allowing the organizing of a corporation would be that it would exist to benefit its community. Bettering a community was now interpreted as providing jobs and economic benefits. The number of corporations continued to expand due to their ability to leverage capital and provide liability protection to their owners. Questions of corporate responsibility began to emerge that are still being debated today. Steinberg wrote on page 45 “caught between a world in which corporations served public functions and one in which they operated on a more self-interested agenda, it was unclear what to expect”. Over the course of time, that question became answered – on page 46, Steinberg wrote about the Charles River’s purpose that “the Charles River had catered for some time to the needs of economic development. But as the nineteenth century wore on, this became the principal, overriding obsession”.

      The Charles River demonstrated the changing American viewpoint of the environment. While the environment has always been utilized as a resource, its purpose transitioned from public ownership to private (or corporate) ownership and its existence was solely to promote economic profit. Questions of sustainability and whether economic growth was worth it to society were being asked in the 1800s like they are now. While there were economic benefits and lifestyle benefits from this industrialization, there were also losses in the form of other natural resources, like clean rivers, farmlands, and fish.

    2. The Charles River had catered for some time to the needs of economic development. But as the nineteenth century wore on, this became the principal, overriding obsession.

      economic development became the most important issue.

    3. By the early nineteenth I l'ntury, as the function of the corporation began to shift away from serving the common interest,

      or rather, being economically successful was beginning to be viewed as the public interest, and all other concerns were diminished.

    4. corporate form

      As the chapter of this week suggests, corporations were viewed as an easier way to raise capital and had many more legal protections.

    5. he BMC erected its mills in Waltham, two of which were in full operation by the summer of 181 g, parallel to the Charles River, precisely as Appleton had observed in New Lan-ark (Figure 1. 1 ). By building in a parallel fashion,

      parallel vs perpendicular- perpendicular setup was built with the concept of just taking for one purpose. Parallel was built with expansion and growth in mind.

    6. Women were ex-pressly recruited to work in the Waltham mills,

      I am assuming Women were recruited because they were available and could be paid less then men...

    7. twelve hundred people,

      all of whom would support the mill's rights politically.

    8. s fundamental as the new system of labor and management that developed there; for here, the ground-work was laid for the use of water on an entirely new and dif-ferent scale.

      Reinforces the central theme of this chapter- water rights and use of the environment changed as economic and technological changes occurred.

    9. But the plan failed to impress the legisla-ture. Instead, it accepted the officially commissioned report, which held that the laws already established were sufficient to resolve the complaints of the valley's farmers.

      An example of U.S. government taking the side of industry/economic growth over its masses.

    10. But a careful reading of the 1796 act suggests some subtle < hanges. The substance of the 1 796 mill act clearly suggests that the legislature meant it to be the exclusive remedy for the flooding of lands.

      The mill act in 1796 shows a subtle shift in legislation that is protecting manufacturing/industrialization at an early state.

    11. In its place, the act substituted a more orderly procedure for dispensing damage payments.

      Mill owners liked the Mill Act because it provided a recourse without litigation to decide disputes. And once a resolution was determined, the case could not be re litigated.

    12. atute passed in 1713 that offered a "fairer meth-od of determining controversies" over flooding.29 That statute, referred to as a mill act,

      Mill Act 1713- an environmental statute

    13. They could, for example, take the law upon them-selves and abate the nuisance with their own hands.

      This common law solution would seem to just escalate matters.

    14. commission chose to let nature determine the course of economic development. Evidently, this was still a 1 ulture willing to concede to nature the right,

      court decision was to let the water flow where it was naturally flowing showed in early perspective on the view of the environment and the economy.

    15. In 1680, Andover, Massachusetts, in the Merrimack val-ley pledged free timber and land to anyone who erected a sawmill, gristmill, or fulling mill on the Shawsheen River.2

      This information was highlighted in the chapter text as well. Incentives for millers and this shifted the perception of the use of the land for the settlers.

    16. profits.

      Profit was another difference between Europeans and the Native Americans - which again would be a result of domestication of animals- to produce more than you needed to sell for a profit.

    17. he colonists, in contrast, raised crops and domesti-ated animals -sheep, swine, and cattle -within specified and fixed property boundaries.

      The European ability to domesticate animals may have been the biggest difference between the two populations- domestication requires ownership/property rights to a greater extent than hunting land would. That an inherited immunity of the Europeans from disease transmitted from animals.

    18. fence

      Given their differing understandings of property, this would seem strange to the Native Americans.

    19. he Indians tended to have a far more flex-ible understanding of property rights than the Europeans. New England's Indians hunted, fished, gathered berries, and planted crops to survive. Yet they never owned the land they harvested in any definitive sense, nor the water for that matter. No exclusive property rights inhered. What Indians claimed was the right to whatever lay on that land or in the water.

      Different conceptions of property rights- main point is that the Indians claimed the animals, not the land.

    20. aboriginal

      Interesting term. I had not read someone referring to the Native Americans as "aboriginal" akin to Australia.

    21. but both survived, more or less, by transforming the environment to meet their needs.

      Central point as well in 1491 by Charles Mann.

    22. nstead, there emerged a different and far more instrumental conception bf water centered primarily on economic growth -an understanding of water embraced and furthered by the

      with the rise of industrialism, economic growth became the most important aspect to managing the environment to Americans.

    23. Water played an important role in the lives of the people who lived here. The valley's waters met the needs of the agrarian economy for food and fodder, while water-driven mills dotted the shores of the Charles River.

      another example of the environment influencing settlements - natural resources availability.

    Annotators

    1. Chapter 5 Commons Mills, Corporations provides a narrative about the changing understanding that those with power and influence had on the environment. What is interesting is that one’s proximity to benefiting or suffering from the utilization of environmental resources caused divisions in American society related to political issues, rights of individuals, and how to promote the common good. These types of disputes still occur today.

      The chapter begins with the concept of English Common Law which was adopted by the United States for precedence on legal matters when there were no clear laws or guidelines that existed. Common Law was especially helpful in cases of property disputes and environmental usage rights. As the chapter described, common-law had classified natural resources such as rivers and lakes as a public right, and over the 19th and 20th centuries, this precedent began to unravel over time.

      A new legal framework that emerged during the 16th century was the concept of being able to leverage shared resources through a corporation. It was the Virginia Company – a joint-stock company chartered by King James I in 1606 that was able to leverage resources to establish the Jamestown colony. Several examples of these corporations continued throughout the age of colonialism and in the early history of the United States. The chapter provides an example of how corporations were recognized in the early days of the United States with a responsibility to leverage shared resources to benefit the community. One example is the Charles River Bridge Company, which was able to raise capital to construct a bridge over the Charles River and recoup its initial investment with a toll to cross. After the Bridge was built and the amount from the toll had raised sufficient funds full pay all of the investors, the investors voted to continue charging a toll to increase their profits. Individuals who were required to use the bridge complained about this, and to solve the problem of this monopoly, Massachusetts had to approve another project, the Warren Bridge Company to build another bridge with specific language in the charter that the Bridge would not charge a toll and revert back to the state after had been fully paid for by tolls. This all occurred because there did not exist any regulatory framework yet to solve some of these issues. The Charles River and Warren Bridge companies are both examples of new technologies (bridge building) emerging without any type of framework to evaluate or hold owners of these businesses accountable, and about how the concept of a corporation existing to benefit the public was starting to degrade.

      Another example provided of the changing relationship between people, business and the environment is the example of millwrights. A sawmill or grist mill provided many benefits to a new town that was being settled. As a result, many incentives, such as free land or other incentives in exchange for fair prices of products to the town settlers. This balance between incentives and public good of corporations continue to exist until new technologies allowed for new and better products to be released. These new products created a manufacturing boom economically in the United States, which caused more individuals to be hired and receive paychecks from this manufacturing work (especially women). While the shift to an industrial economy created many changes in American life, it also promoted a profound change regarding how individuals viewed the purpose of a corporation and its relationship to the environment. Now, corporations were viewed as doing work in the interest of the public good by hiring workers and providing wages and jobs. Other externalizing factors, such as land use and pollution became secondary concerns and not the responsibility of the corporation. Jobs were most important, environmental degradation is secondary. This mentality still exists today. Finally, as the chapter concludes “The most environmentally-damaging changed caused by….textile industry…. was the gradual idea of the common resources”. In order to produce jobs, businesses needed to be free to do what they wanted to with area resources such as water, land, and other extracted resources. To be free to do what they needed, they were given rights of ownership. The chapter concludes with some of the damages that this shift in legal philosophy had on some of the natural resources and its inhabitants in the United States. While certain regulatory frameworks, such as the environmental protection agency did emerge, the issue of environmental usage rights, corporate interests, and the common good still exist today. There are examples of entrepreneurs and corporations who have benefited society from their work in American history. What is unfortunate is that the example of someone like Robert Owen who used his company to promote social good.

    2. externality

      an important concept that was not created until the late 20th century.

    3. The Pemberton Mill’s owner bought out his partner and built a new factory on the site of the old one. After his death, the new factory was inherited by the owner’s sons. The building is still a prominent landmark of Lawrence.

      I would think that all of these activities eventually cause the rise of the populist and progressive movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    4. the separation of the American working class into urban and rural groups with different concerns had a profound impact on both social justice and the environment.

      important perspective here- the environment and mankind's attachment to it also impact political issues and social issues.

    5. shared common interest

      whether you worked for the corporation or not.

    6. When the PLC and the BMC gained complete control, shad and the salmon were no longer able to swim up the Merrimack River to breed.

      one of the challenges of capitalism is the prioritization of short term rewards over long term consequences, an example of this was the housing bubble in 2008, and this is another good example of this.

    7. Southern plantations by people who didn’t have to be paid at all.

      A major theme in this chapter is the reduction of rights from people to corporations

    8. here were never any bills introduced into the Massachusetts or New Hampshire legislatures, allowing citizens to debate whether control or ownership of the Merrimack River should be handed over to the corporation begun by Nathan Appleton and Francis Cabot Lowell.

      interesting that this significant change was never legislated. Also surprised there as not a challenge in court to this.

    9. so the flow of the river could be treated as a commodity that could be bought and sold by individuals

      significant shift in environmental law- resources are commodities to be bought and sold instead of a public resource.

    10. hey shared not only an interest in the mills’ success, but a cultural orientation that made it easy to see the the textile industry itself as a public good to be protected.

      An upper class perspective-- "cultural orientation".

    11. frequently retained their special privileges, even after they had stopped providing public services.

      I wonder if liability and financial protection also had a role here ans corporations protect owners from this as well.