Individual wrote:Environmental science, sure. But it doesn't contradict economic factors. Psychologically, people can go either way: either rape the environment for personal gain at the cost of the common good, or environmental regulations themselves arise in dependence on economic factors.
This is the problem with removing ethics from economics... Yes, people are free to choose, but Buddhism teaches that the ethical way of doing things will be the most beneficial in the long run
due to karma. Of course, in the short-term, all kinds of unethical things look incredibly clever and wise.
Individual wrote:You can't assume that protecting the environment has economic gains (or no economic losses)
And you can't assume that protecting the environment has no
economic gains either. Both the global ecosystem and the global macroeconomy are such immensely complex systems that no one fully understands either of them completely. Given the advent of ideas like chaos theory and complex dynamical systems, which show that small initial changes can make a huge difference in the final results of complicated systems, I don't think it's possible to say with certainty that even apparently insignificant variables have no effect.
By improving the environment in one small area, it might set in motion a whole chain of causes and effects which might benefit people enormously economically the whole world over. For example, people might preserve a small area of the rain forest in a remote part of Brazil, and find out later that that area of land contains a very rare plant with medicinal properties which, after being analyzed, will give scientists the idea to create a great new drug which will cure a deadly disease. This will create profits for one pharmaceutical company and will reduce global medical costs by curing the disease, so people don't have to spend money on lengthy treatments.
Individual wrote:or that developing a strong economy is environmentally sustainable.
Most economic courses all hold very biased, right-wing, capitalist assumptions. Sure, developing an environmentally sustainable strong capitalist economy might not be possible because capitalism requires continuous growth and development which will eventually use up all the natural resources. Perhaps what is needed is to revert back to some zero-growth tribal economies. The Native Americans were doing just fine until the Europeans came and stole their land and murdered them.
Individual wrote:As for Sociology, that stuff is a joke. It really needs to be renamed Opinion-ology. If physics and math majors are like the bakers of human knowledge, Sociologists are like dogs scrambling for bread-crumbs.
Well, I have a math degree and I would guess that sociologists are better at baking than I am...
Sure, some sociology is just fluff, but some of it is right-on. Whatever one's opinions, the effects of human culture, social relations, and social networks can't be denied. Culture influences one's work environment and reproductive habits. Social connections allow one to find a job and advance economically and socially more easily. Social class is a very real phenomenon, even if most people don't like to talk about it. If you explore the interaction of language and culture, things get even more interesting. I could go on and on...
Math and physics majors may be very smart, but they know little about human social relations and culture simply because they haven't spent years focusing on those things. Good sociologists and anthropologists have, so they can say many intelligent things about these matters. Most theoretical mathematicians "bake" things which no one wants to eat... How many people get excited when a new algebraic topology research paper is published? Not too many...
I majored in math and know many very useless things (or should I say I know many things which could probably be useful, but my course of study never taught me how to use them in a useful way). If I would do it again, I would major in a foreign language or anthropology because I like those subjects much better and they couldn't be any more useless than my math degree already is.