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Fall 2004

On Knowing the Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing
Frank Ackerman & Lisa Heinzerling
The New press

The value of a non-fatal case of chronic bronchitis? $260,000. The value of preserving 60 million acres of national forest? $219,000. The value of a human life? Priceless? Think again—$3.7 million under the current administration. It sounds strange to put a cost on these things, but that is just what the government does before it takes action to protect health, safety, or the environment. In Priceless, Frank Ackerman, an economist at the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts, and Lisa Heinzerling, a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, debunk the use of cost-benefit analysis and the misguided logic used to defend it. Here, Ackerman describes what is essentially wrong with placing a monetary value on everything from an IQ point to a human life.

How much would you pay to ensure that your child grows up without mental retardation caused by lead poisoning? How much would you pay to prevent air pollution that could kill your parents? As absurd and offensive as these questions may be, cost-benefit analysis requires precise numerical answers. The great fear among many economists, and particularly those in the Bush administration, is that we might spend too much protecting you and your family from environmental harm. If we knew exactly what your health is worth to you, then we could in theory fine-tune environmental protection to spend just enough, but not too much.

“The fundamental mistake lies in believing that these impossible questions are necessary for good regulation. The first wave of modern environmental regulations, adopted in the 1970s and early 1980s, mandated protection of clean air, clean water, workplace safety, and many other goals—all without benefit of cost-benefit analysis, and all at perfectly affordable costs. We are all healthier and safer today as a result, and we did not bankrupt ourselves in the process.

“Most of the costs in a cost-benefit analysis are incurred by private business—that is, by polluters who are forced to stop polluting. There is no fixed national budget for environmental protection that is allocated on the basis of cost-benefit analysis. If we spend less on one regulation, we do not automatically spend more on another. So there is no need for absurd questions about the monetary value of life and health.

Galaxies and the Cosmic Frontier
William H. Waller & Paul W. Hodge
harvard university press
For the past 12 billion years, galaxies have governed the universe, bringing form to the firmament, light to the void. Each one a giant system of as many as hundreds of billions of stars, the galaxies are the building blocks of the cosmos, and through new data from modern telescopes—including the Hubble Space Telescope—astronomers are discovering dizzying new facts about how they formed, how they evolve, and what they are made of. William Waller, associate professor of astronomy at Tufts, and Paul Hodge tell us about the lives of galaxies over cosmic time, from their emergence shortly after the hot Big Bang to their ongoing gyrations and transmutations.

Saying Goodbye to Lulu
Corinne Demas, J68
little, brown and company
From the award-winning author of the picture book The Disappearing Island comes the story of a young girl and her spunky dog and faithful companion, Lulu. As Lulu ages and begins to slow down, the two are no longer able to do all the things they love—like mucking in streams and playing ball. When the time comes to say goodbye to Lulu, the caring little girl doesn’t know how. She must come to terms with Lulu’s death, and learn how to honor a loved one while moving on with her life. The appealing, expressive illustrations are an uplifting match for a serious topic. This sweet and timeless story will touch readers young and old.
Broken Trip
Peter Anastas, A67
Glad Day books
In this novel of Gloucester, Massachusetts, set in the 1990s, Peter Anastas penetrates the façade of the venerable seaport depicted in tourist brochures to reveal the lives of men and women who’ve been bypassed by the economic boom. The narrative unfolds against the background of a fishing industry in crisis, a city in transition. The title, an indigenous expression for a failed or unprofitable fishing voyage, suggests the misfortune that besets many of the characters’ lives and the tragedy awaiting some of them. Ten stark black-and-white photographs of Gloucester by Ernest Morin complement the narrative.

Singing in My Soul: Black Gospel Music in a Secular Age
Jerma A. Jackson, G86
university of north carolina press
Black gospel music grew from obscure 19th-century beginnings to become the leading style of sacred music in black American communities after WWII. Jerma A. Jackson, assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, traces the music’s unique history, profiling the careers of many of its leading singers and demonstrating the role women played in popularizing gospel. As gospel music gained public visibility and broad commercial appeal, debates arose over the meaning of the music and its message. Jackson explores how race, faith, and identity became central questions in 20th-century African-American life.

Science for the Masses: The Bolshevik State, Public Science, and the Popular Imagination in Soviet Russia, 1917–1934
James T. Andrews, A82, G84
Texas a&m university press
After the Bolshevik Revolution, Russia’s new leaders recognized the importance of teaching science to the masses in order to spread enlightenment and reinforce the basic tenets of Marxism. It was not until the first Five-Year Plan and the cultural revolution of 1928–32, however, that a radical break from Russia’s tsarist past was marked. James T. Andrews, associate professor of modern Russian history at Iowa State University, presents a comprehensive history of the early Bolshevik popularization of science in Russia and the former Soviet Union, using materials from previously untouched archives, newspapers, and scientific journals of the era.
Restructuring Sovereign Debt: The Case for Ad Hoc Machinery
Lex Rieffel, F68, F69
brookings institution press
Former U.S. Treasury official Lex Rieffel discusses the evolution of procedures for handling the debt crisis of developing countries since the close of WWII and the establishment of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Among the many approaches for dealing with sovereign debt to both official and private creditors are those that have developed on an informal or ad hoc basis. Rieffel offers a comprehensive history and overview as well as his own recommendations for anyone interested in how countries deal with the complex subject of debt.
Six Modern Plagues: And How We Are Causing Them
Mark Jerome Walters, V93
Shearwater books
West Nile virus, mad cow disease, HIV/AIDS, hantavirus, Lyme disease, and a new strain of Salmonella—such modern epidemics have emerged over the past few decades as mysterious and significant risks to human health. These “plagues” are forcing people to modify their lifestyles in ways that minimize the chances of becoming a statistic. Mark Jerome Walters, an associate professor of journalism and media studies at the University of South Florida, connects these emerging health risks and their ecological origins, arguing that changes humans have made to the environment have contributed to and even caused a rising tide of diseases.
Crucified Under Pontius Pilate: The Partially Recovered Memoirs of His Beloved Wife Claudia
Dr. George D. LeMaitre, M59
infinity publishing
In his first novel, Dr. George LeMaitre, a retired vascular surgeon, asks, Who was responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ? Was it the Jewish people? Or the temple priests, jealous of Jesus’ popularity? Or Pontius Pilate, Roman governor of Judea, fearing Jesus’ claim that he was a king? Crucified Under Pontius Pilate attempts an answer by telling Pilate’s story through the memoirs of his wife, Claudia Procula. It is a story of guilt and responsibility, of a cold war between two empires, of a nation dominated by Rome, of two people married 50 years. Their lives, their trials, their hopes are repeated down through the centuries.
Mystic Warrior: A Novel Beyond Time and Space
Edwin Harkness Spina, E79
higher dimensions publishing
In his debut novel, Edwin Harkness Spina introduces Alec Thorn, a Florida native at the helm of a small telecommunications start-up, a 30-something go-getter looking to make it big. When a key business associate dies under mysterious circumstances, people who had promised help inexplicably turn against him. At a loss to understand his increasingly bad luck, Thorn meets Sophie, an eccentric florist, whose uncommon wisdom and keen intuition lead him to discover the cause of his difficulties—a group of mercenaries with highly developed psychic abilities and an ancient grudge.
A Mystic’s View of War: Using the God Ladder for Clarity
Judith Larkin Reno, J65
Xlibris corporation
Judith Larkin Reno, president of Gateway University, a school for the study of higher consciousness, offers a blend of wisdom both Eastern and Western, ancient and modern, to identify spiritual confusion related to war. Reno answers the questions spiritual seekers most often ask and confronts powerful issues, from false spirituality to identity confusion. Using the God Ladder, a map of the seven charkas and the seven levels of consciousness, Reno shows how each of the levels reconfigures one’s identity, worldviews, and values, and provides a lifetime map of consciousness to guide one through the initiations of advanced spirituality.
Rockin’ Las Américas: The Global Politics of Rock in Latin/o America
Deborah Pacini Hernandez, Hector Fernandez L’Hoeste, & Eric Zolov, editors
university of pittsburgh press
“Rock is not a crime” declares graffiti on a wall in Puerto Rico. This bold statement is a response to the systematic pattern of harassment and abuses to which Latin American rock music fans and performers have been subject for many years. Five decades after its initial arrival in the region, rock is finally recognized as a legitimate form of popular music. Deborah Pacini Hernandez, associate professor of anthropology at Tufts, along with her co-editors, addresses a broad range of fundamental questions, including, Why did rock become such a controversial artistic force in Latin America? And how has this musical genre been redefined?