Weekly Update - January 28, 2009

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The Dictionary of Ethical Politics

Update #2 - 01.28.09

This week

   * New Contributors and Terms
   * Have you sent in your bio yet?
   * Writing Phase is Underway. Have you claimed your terms?
   * Sample Draft Term - "Externalities"
   * When does the commenting and editing begin?

1) As of this week, the following Contributors have joined the project: Kaliya Hamlin ("Net Neutrality", "Online Identity"), Stephan Harding, David Lorimer, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Vandana Shiva

A continually updating list of all contributing authors and their bios can be found here. If you have not sent in your bio, please do so at your earliest convenience.

Contributors are also encouraged to...

   * Suggest other contributors from your respective networks 

The following terms were added this week:

   * Ad Hominem
   * Beloved Community, The
   * Biodiversity
   * Biodynamic
   * Bioregion
   * Citizen
   * Citizenship
   * Civil Society
   * Community Organizing
   * Constitution (also, Constitutional, Constitutionality)
   * Deliberation
   * Deliberative Democracy (see "Democracy")
   * Ethical Markets
   * Free Speech
   * Freedom
   * Global Standards
   * Governance
   * Good Governance (see "Governance")
   * Good Society, The
   * Hate-Crime (also, Hate Crime Legislation)
   * Healing (also, Healer)
   * K Street
   * Net Neutrality
   * Online Identity
   * Open Standard
   * Participatory Democracy (see "Democracy)
   * Public Sphere, The
   * Transgender
   * Vedic
   * Virtual Community
   * Xenophobia

Check out the Index of Terms to see what's new http://resurgence.opendemocracy.net/index.php/Index_of_Terms_and_Defintions

Contributors are also encouraged to...

   * Propose other terms for definition (up to 5 or more, the entire dictionary could have as many as 500 terms)

2) Writing Phase is Underway. Have you claimed your terms?

Beginning as soon as you claim your terms, over the next 6-9 months each of you will be defining your two or more 300-500 word terms, and, where able, helping other authors with edits, comments, and revisions to their terms. You can view terms-in-progress to get some ideas of form and style by perusing the Index of Terms. All terms in BLUE are claimed and/or in-progress. You are also welcome and encouraged to collaborate with one another on formally co-authoring definitions, should you wish to explore that.

3) Sample Term - "Externalities"

Here is a helpful example of a draft term. This would be further refined by the author based upon comments and edits from other Contributors, and the Editors.

Taken from http://resurgence.opendemocracy.net/index.php/Externalities


"Externalities" are a technical term in classical economics: they are those consequences of actions which are not reflected in market prices. Non-economists might think that this must include almost all of human activity, and that to make those "external" to your study---special cases, as it were---can only be proof of the narrowness of classical economics. The notion that externalities are "exceptional", however, is very important in the claim that a small-government world of rule of law and property rights can deal with the impacts of social interaction.

In a testament to the power of economics in policy-making circles, the term has become a standard way to think of environmental questions as well as all sorts of "quality of life" issues. (An interesting view of the evolution of the language of environmentalism is offered by Mike Hulme).

Pigou provides the classical analysis, and his analysis seems to call for wide-ranging taxation by government to correct market failures. Ronald Coase was very influential Chicago economist who produced some examples of externalities which did not require taxation to sort out. His proposition was that as long as it is easy for those affected by outcomes to do deals with those causing the outcomes, externality problems could be fixed.

Environmental problems are often extremely diffuse. How can future generations do deals with current generations to reduce emmissions of greenhouse gases? Whether a tax to limit consumption today in the interests of the future is clearly not a technocratic matter, but a collective ethical and political choice. Despite such obvious difficulties with Coase and Pigou, their analyses have been very influential in the development of [market mechanisms], like rights-based cap and trade policies.

An alternative view is to consider so-called externalities to be pervasive aspects of human action. What is the right attitude towards others---and more broadly other life---when nothing that is done has effects that can be contained? Such a view would tend to emphasise respect rather than freedom.

Tony Curzon Price

4) When does the commenting and editing phase begin?

Realistically, it will take a couple months before enough Contributors will have entered draft versions of their definitions to merit comments and edits. Part of the function of the weekly update is to keep you informed as to our progress. We will let you know when authors have finished defining their terms, and when it is appropriate to begin commenting and editing.In the meantime, please do send along a list of what terms you wish to comment/edit as you discover them.

If you have any trouble with the Wiki, questions, concerns, comments, or anything you wish to share with the larger group, please contact me directly.

On behalf of the team, let me thank you and wish you all the best...

Charles Shaw Editor - "The Dictionary of Ethical Politics" http://resurgence.opendemocracy.net